River Road Entertainment's Bill Pohlad and distribution guru Bob Berney announced their new distribution venture Thursday, according to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that the company would be named Apparition and that it is planning to release Terrence Malick's anticipated opus Tree of Life.
The company also said it had pacted with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group for all domestic ancillary rights; the Peter Schlessel division will handle home video and other platforms.
Tree of Life, which River Road is producing, adds to Apparition's previously announced title, the Jane Campion period drama Bright Star, which premiered at the Festival de Cannes. Apparition said Thursday that Campion's film, which examines the romance between John Keats and Fanny Brawne in the 19th century, would open on Sept. 18, shortly after its North American premiere at the Toronto international Film Festival.
Malick's fifth film and first since 2005's colonial drama The New World, Tree of Life has been the subject of much speculation in filmmaker and fan circles. Some believe the movie, which stars Sean Penn and Brad Pitt, to be a coming-of-age tale set in the Midwest, where Malick comes from. Apparition did not announce a date for the pic, which Malick has been editing for some time.
Several of the execs and staff members who will be working at Apparition were announced on Thursday, including Picturehouse acquisitions veteran Sara Rose, as well as Dan Lange, Bill Thompson and John Lange in the distribution department and Jeanne R. Berney, Kirk Iwanowski and Molly Albright in marketing.
Pohlad and Berney created the new theatrical releasing company to be what a statement described as a "fiercely independent, artist friendly distributor."
Pohlad, a financier and producer whose River Road is behind movies such as Into the Wild and upcoming Joan Jett pic The Runaways, said that the pair were building a company that has "a sensitivity and passion for the work as well as an ability to bring it to the marketplace with ingenuity and creativity."
"Bill and I are creating a company where the art of filmmaking is truly a priority," he said. ""The birth of a new company that works in concert with artists while employing creative marketing strategies is a winning combination and is the essence of Apparition."