Spotlight Cinema Networks has formed CineLife Entertainment, a new division to distribute event cinema and other alternative programming. The content will be available to Spotlight's nationwide network of art house, luxury cinemas and exhibitors around the world.
"Spotlight is committed to providing opportunities that benefit our exhibitor partners and advertisers. The creation of this division is another way we will fulfill that commitment and help our exhibitor partners grow their revenue," said Jerry Rakfeldt, CEO, Spotlight Cinema Networks. "Furthermore, with our purchase of Storming Images in October we have a turnkey operation with advanced technical capability to expediently and cost-effectively distribute the content we'll be acquiring. With this expansion, Spotlight has strengthened its position as the gateway to the art house community and its sought-after movie going audience."
Mark Rupp has been appointed managing director of CineLife Entertainment and will report directly to Rakfeldt. He will be responsible for Spotlight's event cinema strategy including the overall management of Spotlight's entry into one of the fastest growing segments of the worldwide exhibition industry. He will work closely with Ronnie Ycong, Spotlight Cinema Networks' head of exhibitor relations and operations, who will manage content distribution.
"I look forward to working collaboratively with Mark. His experience in this area will enable us to ramp up our efforts immediately," said Ycong. "We are uniquely well-positioned to support this new venture with the Spotlight Media Distribution System, which is already installed at Spotlight-affiliated theatres, and our popular app CineLife, which helps film enthusiasts find information about art house movie theatres, film festivals, special engagements and to buy tickets."
The network comprises 300 theatres and more than 1,000 screens. This marks the first time that Spotlight is moving into the event cinema marketplace.
"The theatres in Spotlight's network in the United States provide valuable access to sophisticated audiences with distinctive tastes," added Rupp. "I'm proud to be part of the team tasked with aligning the sensibilities and interests of our core audience with the content we'll license for both domestic and international distribution."
CineLife Entertainment will distribute multiple programs per quarter starting sometime in early 2018. These include musical theatre, opera, dance, cult film classics, anime, contemporary musical performances, and faith and inspiration movies.
Prior to joining Spotlight, Rupp was president of SpectiCast, a cinema marketing and distribution company for the past eight years. In that capacity, he negotiated content licensing agreements with major organizations including Universal Music/Eagle Rock Entertainment, The English National Operate, IFC Films and The Philadelphia Orchestra Association. He has more than 20 years of experience in media, entertainment, content distribution and technology.