Cinedigm Acquires A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story

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Sat, 04/18/2015 - 19:17 -- Nick Dager

Cinedigm has acquired A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.Cinedigm has acquired North American theatrical, digital and home entertainment distribution rights to A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story. The highly acclaimed documentary premiered last month at SXSW, received multiple standing ovations and won the prestigious festival’s Audience Award in its category.

The film is targeted to have a traditional theatrical release in October 2015, followed by full distribution in the physical, television and digital home entertainment channels and Cinedigm’s Docurama digital network in early 2016.

From the producers of the most viewed TEDxWomen event of 2013 comes A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, a film which follows the inspiring journey of 26-year-old, 63-pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist. 

First-time director Sara Hirsh Bordo’s company, Women Rising, produced TEDxAustinWomen, where Lizzie’s famous “How Do You Define Yourself?” talk was presented. The film’s production was funded via a Kickstarter campaign and was one of the site’s most successful crowd-funded documentary projects of all time.

Born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Velasquez was first bullied as a child in school for looking different.  As a teenager, she was bullied even more prominently online when she discovered a YouTube video labeling her “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” The film chronicles unheard stories and details of Lizzie’s physical and emotional journey up to her multi-million viewed TEDxAustinWomen talk and follows her evolution as motivational speaker and activist as she lobbies Congress for the first federal anti-bullying bill; the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA).

The film features private moments with Lizzie’s family including her parents, Rita and Lupe, and siblings Chris and Marina Velasquez. Anti-bullying advocate and Founder of the Megan Meier Foundation, Tina Meier, anti-bullying expert Dr. Bob Faris and Congresswomen Linda Sanchez, author of SSIA, also appear in the film, which showcases original music from multi Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles.  YouTube celebrity Justine Ezarik (iJustine) and Alexis Jones, founder of I Am That Girl, serve as executive producers alongside Velasquez.

“Rarely have I seen a film that touches an audience in such a primal way,” says Yolanda Macias, Cinedigm’s Executive Vice President of Acquisitions.  “We think everyone in the world should see this film and that Lizzie should be extolled for her extraordinary work in human rights activism.   In a similar vein to our award-winning projects The Invisible War and Girl Rising, we could not be more proud to distribute this prestige film.” 

“Cinedigm is building a legacy around supporting important films with extraordinary heroes,’" said Sara Hirsh Bordo, Director and Producer, and Founder of Women Rising, the shingle that produced the film.  "We wanted more than a distributor; we wanted a partner.  Cinedigm is the perfect addition to Team Lizzie and we are excited and ready to share Lizzie’s inspiring story of hope with audiences everywhere."