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Drafthouse Films and Kanopy acquire global distribution of Alex Winter’s The YouTube Effect

Drafthouse Films announced today that it has acquired global distribution rights to Alex Winter’s incisive documentary The YouTube Effect, teaming with Kanopy, the educational streaming platform for films that matter, for the film’s release. A critical look at the way YouTube has grown and embedded itself into our lives, THE YOUTUBE EFFECT premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. The film will open exclusively with Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas July 7th before expanding to theaters nationwide July 14th, followed by its debut on Kanopy and other digital platforms. The deal was negotiated for the filmmakers by Amanda Lebow at CAA and Nick Savva and Ahbra Perry at Drafthouse Films.

The feature documentary from Winter (Bill & Ted Franchise, Showbiz Kids, The Panama Papers, Zappa), explores the ascension and acceleration of YouTube, a video-sharing website that started with humble origins and has gone on to change how we experience the world. With exclusive access to some of YouTube’s biggest stars, the film presents an eye-opening and troubling look at the platform now so powerfully embedded in our lives.

“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Drafthouse Films and Kanopy on our release,” said Winter. “The unparalleled scale of Google’s YouTube has significant and problematic implications worldwide, and has received much less attention than its competitors.”

Producers include Winter (Trouper Productions), Gale Anne Hurd (Valhalla Entertainment, Mankiller, The Terminator Trilogy and “The Walking Dead”), and Glen Zipper (Zipper Bros. Films, Undefeated, Challenger: Final Flight, What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali, Zappa). Executive Producers include Michael Cho, Mimi Rode and Tim Lee of Olive Hill Media, Michael Y. Chow and Sue Turley of XRM Media, Kevin Lin of Metatheory and Ian Orefice, Rebecca Teitel and Mike Beck for TIME Studios.

“Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has a long history of collaborating with Alex Winter,” says Alamo Drafthouse Cinema founder Tim League. “It is a thrill to see Drafthouse Films dig in even deeper to distribute this incredible and very timely film.”

“Alex Winter is one of the most thoughtful documentary filmmakers working today, and Kanopy is proud to offer six of his previous films to libraries around the world,” says Kanopy General Manager Jason Tyrrell. “So, when the opportunity was presented to bring THE YOUTUBE EFFECT to Kanopy we knew it was a perfect fit. The subject of YouTube and its lasting impact on society and its viewers is a topic worthy of critical analysis and this documentary initiates a conversation that we believe will continue in the homes and classrooms where Kanopy is available through academic libraries.”

Those featured in the doc include Caleb Cain, Steve Chen, Hany Farid, Carrie Goldberg, Ian Hecox, Loann Kaji, Ryan Kaji, Shion Kaji, Talia Lavin, Dave Lauer, Becca Lewis, Anthony Padilla, Andy Parker, Nitasha Tiku Tyler, Susan Wojcicki, Brianna Wu, Natalie Wynn and Jillian C. York.

“Collaborating with the gifted filmmaker Alex Winter, and fellow producer Glen Zipper, has been a true privilege”, said Producer Gale Anne Hurd. “With The YouTube Effect, we want to shine a light on its benefits and dangers in the hopes of fostering a dialogue on how the platform can be made safer. YouTube is a platform as controversial as it is entertaining and yet, for far too long, the general public has been kept in the dark about how its algorithm can drive users down dangerous conspiracy theory rabbit holes.”

The documentary features an innovative electronic score from Emmy-nominated composer Paul Haslinger. Node Records, a subsidiary of Wise Music Group, will release the soundtrack album on July 7.

Drafthouse Films is representing international sales for THE YOUTUBE EFFECT at next week’s Cannes Film Market.

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