How the local company is helping the city make its mark on the entertainment industry.
CLEVELAND – The Greater Cleveland International Film Festival Completed this week, but what happens after the credits roll? Film distributors like there Gravitas Ventures Come in.
Gravitas, Latin for “weight or gravity,” was founded by Cleveland-born Nolan Gallagher when he lived in Los Angeles in 2006.
“So many companies in the entertainment world, you know, quit entertainment or media, and I just wanted to stand out with a name that I thought was strong and memorable,” said Gallagher.
After starting the company, Gallagher teamed up with his longtime friend and colleague St. Ignatius Alum, Michael Murphy, who became president of the company. Together, the two had the task of winning the filmmakers’ trust and proving their worth to the cable network operators.
“It was interesting for them to get fresh, independent films and documentaries that their subscribers could enjoy on a platform called VOD,” Murphy explained to the cable operators about the pitch process.
The independent film distributor shows around 3,000 films and documentaries every year and limits them to 300 in order to promote national and international cycles. If you’ve scrolled all of them through Amazon Prime, Hulu, or any other streaming service, you’ve probably seen their work.
“I don’t think there’s a unique thing to say that this is what a movie needs to be successful. I think if you have the drive and the audience you can make it work,” said Lindsey Moffat. Director of Business Affairs & Filmmaker Relations. “Every movie has an audience and every movie deserves to be seen and I think that’s really the goal for us and what we want to be successful with,” said Moffat.
After seeing success on the West Coast, Gallagher decided in 2016 to relocate the company’s headquarters to Cleveland.
“It just became a natural, exciting development for our company,” said Gallagher of the move to his home state.
With their return to Cleveland, Gallagher and Murphy continued to produce fresh and engaging content, but with an emphasis on attracting local talent from Cleveland State’s emerging film programming, and even participating in local film festivals that offer distribution as prizes for winners.
“We’re just excited to be doing our part in building a sustainable, long-term entertainment presence in Cleveland,” said Gallagher.
Over the years Gravitas has received several awards and recognitions from the film industry. Most recently, they received an Oscar nomination for The Mole Agent in the “Best Documentary” category.
While the entertainment industry has certainly changed since 2006, Gravitas Ventures remains committed to filmmakers everywhere.
“We will continue to seek to find the next large number of storytellers and introduce them to a wide audience,” said Gallagher.
Check out clips from Gravitas’ greatest films of 2020 in the player below.
And if you’re looking for a Gravitas Ventures title suggestion to check out, 3News Kierra Cotton asked the CEO, President and Director of Business Affairs & Filmmaker Relations about her favorite projects to date. Check them out below:
Nolan Gallagher selection: Our friend
“It really told the story of three people who had unique friendships over the course of 20 years and how they struggled with adversity, achieved success, but ultimately supported each other for over 20 years.”
IMBD description: After receiving life-changing news, a couple finds unexpected support from their best friend, who puts his own life on hold and moves into his family home, which has a much bigger and deeper impact than anyone could have imagined
Michael Murphy Pick: Loopers: The Caddy’s Long Walk
“I really care because I grew up on a golf course with the caddy … But it’s a great movie. It’s about why caddies matter, what they add to the game of golf, and what opportunities they can give you scholarships for college and of course it wouldn’t be a great movie if it wasn’t told by Bill Murray from Caddyshack. “
IMBD description: Filmmaker Jason Baffa explores the personal bonds and dynamic relationships that form between golfers and caddies.
Lindsay Moffat Pick: For the love of Spock
“Not just because I’m a huge Star Trek fan, but also because I really like seeing the people behind the media and realizing that there is a person who goes beyond the job. And it really looks like it takes a hard look at Leonard Nimoy’s life and only sees him beyond his character as a family man. And I think it’s nice to put things in perspective and be reminded that there is more to life than just what you are doing in the conversation and being able to see the humanity behind it. “
IMBD description: An examination of the permanent attraction of Leonard Nimoy and his portrayal of Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series (1966).