Tag Archives: Isaiah Smallman

Nationally-Distributed Film Produced By Chattanooga’s Mama Bear Studios To Show In Chattanooga Beginning Friday

Posted by Larry Gleeson

A film produced by a Chattanooga-based production company will hit local big screens Friday as part of a national release to over 50 theaters.


The movie, “Hunter Gatherer,” produced by Chattanooga’s Mama Bear Studios, landed a national distribution deal in November. It has since received critical acclaim from national outlets like the New York Times and L.A. Times, which called the film a “warmly eccentric little indie that’s amusing, authentic and works against expectation.” It currently has a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But January 13 will mark the first time the film is shown in Chattanooga. It is scheduled to run at Carmike East Ridge for one week.

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-12-14-05-am“It’s fun to play the film for audiences all over the country, but the thought of showing it to our people is much more exciting,” said Isaiah Smallman, CEO of Mama Bear Studios, who added that Chattanoogans have been asking to see the film since it premiered and won an award at SXSW Film Festival in the spring of 2016. “Now there’s finally an opportunity to for local audiences to see it on the big screen — which is always the best way to see a movie.”

The movie, “Hunter Gatherer,” traces the journey of a man (Andre Royo of “The Wire” and “Empire”) trying to regain his footing after a three-year stint in prison. It was written and directed by Josh Locy, a Bryan College alumnus, and was shot on location in Los Angeles in August of 2015.


Of the thousands of independent feature films produced each year, only a few hundred secure theatrical release, Smallman explained.

“Considering that this is the first film we produced from start to finish, it’s a massive win for Mama Bear,” said Mr. Smallman. “Carmike actually booked the film the same way they would if it was The Avengers.”

Mama Bear Studios was founded out of local ad agency Fancy Rhino with the help of The Lamp Post Group. Mr. Smallman produced the film and Drew Belz, Ted Alling, Barry Large and Allan Davis executive produced.

In addition to expanding audience reach, the theatrical release for “Hunter Gatherer” has made it eligible for important indie film awards and will increase its cache with digital platforms like Netflix and Amazon.

“We’re really hoping that the community shows up to support the film so that we can continue this partnership with Carmike,” Mr. Smallman added. “It’s our goal to continue to bring locally produced films to audiences here in town, but for that to happen we have to sell tickets.”

The movie will be released digitally on iTunes and other platforms on Feb. 7.

(Source: chattanoogan.com)

Chattanooga-produced film ‘Hunter Gatherer’ lands national distribution deal

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Sean Phipps

A film produced in Chattanooga will receive a national theatrical release following a distribution deal.

hunter-gatherer-posterHunter Gatherer starring Andre Royo (The Wire, Empire) debuted at the 2016 South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival to rave reviews. The film was written and directed by Josh Locy—a Bryan College grad—and Chattanooga’s Mama Bear Studios served as the executive producer, along with Unbundled Underground in association with Rough House Pictures.

National distributors The Orchard acquired digital rights for the film. Rough House Pictures will release the film in New York City and Los Angeles beginning Nov. 18, with a theatrical rollout to follow.

Hunter Gatherer follows Royo in his portrayal of Ashley Douglas, a man recently released from prison who finds out that everyone and everything has moved on without him. He attempts to win back his girlfriend, enlisting the aid of a fellow loner (George Sample III) as a business partner.

Royo garnered the Jury Award at SXSW for Best Actor.

Read a previous Nooga.com story on Hunter Gatherer here.

Isaiah Smallman, a producer of the film and co-founder of Chattanooga’s Mama Bear Studios, said a screening of the film in Chattanooga will take place near the beginning of 2017. In the meantime, he said the deal with The Orchard will open the door to new possibilities for the company.

“Since winning the award at SXSW, we’ve been playing lots of different festivals around the country, but we still didn’t know exactly what the next step was for distribution,” he said. “We had several small offers, but none of them were really all that enticing because you often end up sacrificing a huge percentage of the upside without much upfront money or hustle from the distributor to justify it.”

Smallman said he and the other producers—April Lamb, Sara Murphy, Michael Covino and Locy—thought about self-distributing the film, but that would take an enormous amount of time and relationship building to pull off.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about landing distribution with an awesome company like The Orchard,” Smallman said. “They have all the right relationships with places like Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, cable VOD and all the other buyers that we will be targeting. And they know a lot about getting great small films like ours to the audiences who will love them.”

The film will be released on digital platforms in January. Hunter Gatherer is the first film produced by Mama Bear Studios from start to finish. Smallman said he hopes to continue championing Chattanooga as a film town.

“Cine-Rama and the Chattanooga Film Festival are doing an amazing job of creating a place for independent films to be screened, but we’re hoping in the next few years to make Chattanooga a destination for super-successful writers, directors and producers as well,” he said. “We’re constantly repping Chattanooga to people … and encouraging them to make their home base here, even if they might still have to produce their films elsewhere from time to time.”

Mama Bear Studios currently has 15 projects in various stages of completion, according to Smallman. Projects include two small indie drama films, a comedy TV pilot, two thriller features, two romantic comedies and more.

The studio previously released Low and Behold, a partnership with the Sundance Institute’s #ArtistServices program. The film follows the story of a young insurance claims adjuster in post-Katrina New Orleans who risks his job to help a local man find his dog.

Mama Bear Studios was founded by Smallman and his business partner, Drew Belz.


(Source: http://www.nooga.com)