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Local film distribution company, Gravitas Ventures, hopes to further cement Cleveland’s impact on the entertainment industry

How the local company is helping the city make its mark on the entertainment industry.

CLEVELAND — The Greater Cleveland International Film Festival wrapped up this week, but what happens after the credits have rolled? That’s where film distributors like Gravitas Ventures come in.

Gravitas, meaning "weight or heaviness" in Latin, was founded by Cleveland native, Nolan Gallagher, while he lived in Los Angeles in 2006.

"So many companies in the entertainment world, you know, end their companies with entertainment or media and I just really wanted to stand out, with a name that I thought was strong and memorable," explained Gallagher. 

Following the company's launch, Gallagher joined forces with his long-time friend and fellow St. Ignatius alum, Michael Murphy, who became the company's president. Together, the two were tasked with earning the trust of filmmakers and proving their worth to cable operators. 

"That was interesting to them to get fresh, independent films and documentaries that their subscribers could enjoy on a platform called V.O.D." explained Murphy of the pitch process to cable operators.

Each year, the independent film distributor screens roughly 3,000 movies and documentaries, narrowing it down to 300 to push on national and international circuits. If you’ve every scrolled through Amazon Prime, Hulu or any other streaming service, you’ve likely seen their work.

"I don’t think there is one unique thing that says this is what a film needs to be successful. I think that if you have the drive, and you have the audience, then you can make it work," said Lindsey Moffat, Director of Business Affairs & Filmmaker Relations. "Every film has an audience and every film does deserve to be seen and I think that’s really the goal for us and what we strive to succeed with," said Moffat.

In 2016, after seeing success on the west coast, Gallagher made the decision to relocate the company's headquarters to Cleveland.  

"It just kind of became, the natural, exciting evolution of our company," said Gallagher of the move back to his home state.

With the move back to the Cleveland, Gallagher and Murphy continued to produce fresh and engaging content, but with an emphasis on ushering in local talent from Cleveland State’s Emerging film program and even attending local film festivals offering distribution as prizes for winners.

“We’re just happy to play our part in building a sustainable, long-term entertainment presence in Cleveland,” said Gallagher. 

Over the years, Gravitas has been on the receiving end of several awards and recognition from the film industry, but most recently they picked up an Academy Award 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’re going to keep trying to find the next great crop of storytellers and help introduce them to wide audiences," said Gallagher. 

Watch clips from Gravitas' biggest films in 2020 in the player below. 

And if you're looking for suggestions on which Gravitas Ventures titles you should check it out, 3News Kierra Cotton asked the CEO, President and Director of Business Affairs & Filmmaker Relations for their favorite projects to date. Check them out below: 

Nolan Gallagher Pick: Our Friend


“It really told the story of three people who shared unique friendships over the course of2 0 years and how they struggled with adversity, celebrated success but ultimately supported themselves and each other over 20 years.”

IMBD Description: After receiving life-altering news, a couple finds unexpected support from their best friend, who puts his own life on hold and moves into their family home, bringing an impact much greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined

Michael Murphy Pick: Loopers: The caddy’s long walk


"It’s near and dear to my heart because I grew up caddying on a golf course...But it’s a great movie. It talks about why caddies are important, what they add to the game of golf, what opportunities they can give you for scholarships for college and of course it wouldn’t be a great movie unless it was narrated by Bill Murray of Caddyshack fame."

IMBD Description: Filmmaker Jason Baffa examines the personal bonds and dynamic relationships that form between golfers and caddies. 

Lindsay Moffat Pick: For the love of Spock


“Not only because I’m a big Star Trek fan, but also, I’m really drawn to sort of seeing the people behind media, recognizing that there is a person beyond the job. And it really looks at, it takes a hard look at Leonard Nimoy's life and just seeing him beyond just his character as like family man. And I think it’s nice to put things in perspective and be reminded that there is more to life beyond  just what you’re doing in entertainment and being able to see the humanity behind it."

IMBD Description: An examination of the enduring appeal of Leonard Nimoy and his portrayal of Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series (1966).

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