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[Article] – A Miracle on A24 Street

 

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Posted February 5, 2018 by

 
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More often than not, distribution companies are ignored by movie goers. After all, a logo on a screen is nowhere near as exciting as the glamorous stars we’ve seen walk the red carpet for years. However, occasionally we see a logo on a screen that, for some reason, captures our attention. We wonder where we have seen that logo before and then we realise that it opened a film that we loved last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. Before we know it, we trust this logo. When we see it before a film we know what follows will certainly be good. This is rare. This is A24.

Following its founding in 2012 by New York based producers Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges, A24 began is quick march up the Hollywood ladder. The company started with the limited distribution of Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III – a disappointing failure with a meagre 4.8/10 on IMDb. With such a discouraging first outing for the company, it is hard to believe that A24 managed to work its way to the top of the industry with hardly anyone noticing. A24 followed up, later the same year, with Spring Breakers and The Bling Ring. Both films were controversial and polarised audiences and led to a lot of questions being asked. Who on Earth was coming into Hollywood and distributing films like this on a large scale? Who in their right mind would think to promote films about teenagers gone rogue, starring well known child actors? Who was this studio that had just burst onto the scene in a whirlwind of controversy and risk? A24 started a conversation in their first year of existence, and that conversation hasn’t stopped yet.

After releasing countless critically acclaimed films that are loved by audiences including Ex Machina, Room, The Lobster, and 20th Century Women, A24 solidified its place as one of the best upcoming studios when, following the now infamous mix-up at the 89th Academy Awards, the studio picked up the Best Picture Oscar for Moonlight. Barry Jenkins’ stunning and heartfelt drama was the company’s first original production and created a lot of buzz as they made history. Moonlight was the first LGBT film and the first film with an all-black cast to take home the Academy Award for Best Picture. This propelled the company on leaps and bounds and, with the 90th Academy Awards ceremony on the horizon and recent releases The Florida Project, The Disaster Artist and Lady Bird, A24 is guaranteed to be a prominent name in the mouths of the voters.

So what exactly is it that makes A24 so special? And how have they managed to do so well in an industry that is so cut-throat and rife with competition? What makes A24 so important for so many people is the films and filmmakers they choose to work with. Without the help and faith of A24, many great films would never receive the attention they deserve. In an industry where the main focus is money, money, and even more money, films are chosen by studios based on how well they are predicted to do at the box office. A24 reinvented the money obsessed industry when it was founded by making films that can transcend the screen and take hold of the audience’s hearts and minds. Additionally, the studio supports the work of filmmakers who have been underrepresented by mainstream Hollywood for too long. From giving resources to black director Barry Jenkins to tell the true, emotional story of a gay black man in Moonlight to giving opportunities to female directors such as Greta Gerwig with her directorial debut Lady Bird. Although risky decisions, these paid off, allowing A24 to become one of the most original, risk-taking, stereotype-breaking studios working in mainstream Hollywood.

For A24, the future looks bright. With inventive marketing for its films and a strong following of people who are dedicated to their material, they are destined for many more years of greatness. So long as the company remains committed to their original values – originality, truth, and risk – they are guaranteed to continue to make waves in the film industry. In the future, people will wonder when it was that the film industry was revived, when did films in the 21st Century become original and artistic again? The answer: August 20, 2012. The date A24 was founded.

“Their movies understand people and understand all the emotions and thoughts that run through our complex heads every day.”

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Written by:

Nanci Rawsthorne
@nanci_lwt

Letterboxd
Freelance Contributor

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