Gravitas and Roadside Attractions Buddy Up to Acquire "The Friend"

LOS ANGELES (JANUARY 23, 2020) – Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company, and Roadside Attractions will partner on the U.S. distribution of the heartfelt and moving true story, The Friend, which recently premiered at TIFF. A fall 2020 theatrical release is planned.


Based on Matthew Teague’s award-winning autobiographical essay published in Esquire Magazine, The Friend tells the extraordinary true story of Nicole (Dakota Johnson) and Matthew Teague (Casey Affleck). After receiving life-altering news, the couple find unexpected support from their best friend, Dane (Jason Segel), 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.


The Friend stars Jason Segel (The End of the Tour, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Dakota Johnson (The Peanut Butter Falcon, 50 Shades of Grey) and Academy Award® winner Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea, The Old Man & the Gun). Additional cast includes five-time SAG Award® nominee Gwendoline Christie (“Game of Thrones”), and two-time Tony Award® and Emmy Award® winner, Cherry Jones (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Transparent”) Isabella Kai, Violet McGraw and country music sensation Jake Owen.


The Friend is directed by acclaimed BAFTA nominee, Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Blackfish, Megan Leavey) from a script by Brad Ingelsby (The Way Back, Run All Night). The film is produced by Black Bear Pictures and Scott Free Productions. Producers are Academy Award® nominee Kevin Walsh (Manchester by the Sea), Michael Pruss (Earthquake Bird), Ryan Stowell (Thoroughbreds) and Academy Award® nominee Teddy Schwarzman (The Imitation Game). Executive Producers include acclaimed multi-hyphenate Ridley Scott, Ben Stillman, Michael Heimler, Ted Deiker, Ingelsby, and Matthew Teague, who consulted with Ingelsby on his screenplay adaptation.


The production was filmed on location in Fairhope, Alabama, where the Teague’s real life story took place.


“Gabriela and her outstanding cast have crafted a profoundly moving portrait of the emotional bonds that sustain us. We are thrilled to be partnered with Roadside Attractions in presenting The Friend to U.S. audiences this fall,” said Gravitas Ventures’ Vice President of Acquisitions Tony Piantedosi.


“Everyone knows the value of a great friend, yet it’s rare to see friendship dramatized in film,” said Roadside’s Howard Cohen & Eric d’Arbeloff. “To see these three great actors shine the light on what friendship means when the going gets tough adds up to something quite profound.”

Said the producers, “We are thrilled to partner with our friends at Gravitas and Roadside Attractions to present the special journey that is The Friend. This personal yet universal story, which the Teague family was generous enough to share, makes us laugh, cry, think, feel, and is a beautiful reminder of the compassion that exists in this world. We cannot wait for audiences everywhere to see it.”


Nolan Gallagher and Tony Piantedosi negotiated the deal with Endeavor Content. STXinternational handled international sales and is releasing directly in the UK.

The Friend marks the second partnership for Gravitas Ventures and Roadside Attractions – the two companies will release Andy Tennant’s The Secret: Dare to Dream, starring Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas and inspired by Rhonda Byrne’s worldwide bestseller, on April 17, 2020.




Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company, is a leading all rights distributor of independent feature films and documentaries. Founded in 2006, Gravitas connects independent filmmakers and producers with distribution opportunities across the globe. Working with talented directors and producers, Gravitas Ventures has distributed thousands of films into over a hundred million homes in North America - over one billion homes worldwide. Recent releases include Armstrong, directed by David Fairhead; Above the Shadows starring Olivia Thirlby, Megan Fox and Jim Gaffigan; The River and the Wall, directed by Ben Masters; Score: A Film Music Documentary; California Typewriter; Legion of Brothers; Katie Holmes’ feature directorial debut; All We Had, Colin Hanks’ All Things Must Pass; and Being Evel from Academy Award® winning director Daniel Junge and producer Johnny Knoxville.

Gravitas Ventures is part of Red Arrow Studios, one of the world’s leading creators and distributors of entertainment content. Red Arrow Studios is comprised of 20 production companies in seven territories, including 10 companies based in the United States; world-leading multi-platform digital network Studio71, based in six countries; and global film and TV distributors Red Arrow Studios International and Gravitas Ventures. Red Arrow Studios is part of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, one of Europe's leading media groups.

More information:, Twitter: @GravitasVOD, Instagram: @gravitasventures



Since its founding in 2003, Roadside Attractions’ films have grossed over $300M and garnered 21 Academy Award® nominations. Roadside Attractions recent releases include the #1 independent film of summer, 2019, The Peanut Butter Falcon, and the double Oscar® nominated Judy starring Renee Zellweger. Their faith-based I Can Only Imagine was the #1 independent film of 2018 with a gross of $83.5M. The company has released such critical and commercial hits as Manchester By The Sea, Ben Is Back, Beatriz At Dinner, Whitney, Stronger, Love & Friendship, Hello My Name Is Doris, Mr. Holmes, Love & Mercy, A Most Wanted Man, Dear White People, The Skeleton Twins, All Is Lost, Mud, Winter’s Bone, The Cove, Arbitrage, Margin Call, and Super-Size Me.



Black Bear Pictures is a boutique media company that develops, produces and finances original and engaging content for film and television. Since its 2011 launch, Black Bear’s slate has grossed over $325,000,000 worldwide, been nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, nine Golden Globes, ten BAFTAs, and premiered at such prestigious festivals as Cannes, Sundance, Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York, and London. Black Bear’s library includes such films as The Imitation Game, Mudbound, All Is Lost, Suburbicon and Ben Is Back. In addition, Black Bear is a major investor in Elevation Pictures Corp, the leading independent film and TV distribution company in Canada.

For more information:, Instagram: @blackbearpics, Twitter: @blackbearpics



Scott Free Productions, founded in 1995, is the film and television production vehicle of acclaimed filmmaker Ridley Scott that has earned over 100 Emmy nominations with 22 wins, 28 Golden Globe nominations, and over 60 Academy Award® nominations. Current television productions include the forthcoming HBO Max sci-fi series, RAISED BY WOLVES; Amazon’s epic drama, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE; season four of THE GOOD FIGHT; the AMC historical anthology series THE TERROR: INFAMY; the second season of STRANGE ANGEL on CBS All Access; the Fox drama THE PASSAGE; and a new adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL that premiered in December. The company is also responsible for some of the most successful films ever made – including TOP GUN, GLADIATOR, BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN, AMERICAN GANGSTER, and BLACK HAWK DOWN. Recent releases include Jake Scott’s AMERICAN WOMAN; Max Winkler’s JUNGLELAND; Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s THE FRIEND; and most recently, Wash Westmoreland’s EARTHQUAKE BIRD. Upcoming films include Chase Palmer’s A NAKED SINGULARITY; DEATH ON THE NILE, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh; and an untitled project surrounding the Gucci family fashion dynasty and the murder of Maurizio Gucci, in which Lady Gaga will star as Patrizia Reggiani, his ex-wife.

Written by Indie Source

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