BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH. Changes Ownership
On March 27 I wrote a State of BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH. post assuring readers that the site would continue despite the furlough of nearly everyone at ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE. The idea then was for me to post movie news and some editorial while also promoting Alamo-at-Home projects, new Mondo products and other fun things like that. New magazine production also seemed likely as well. It wasn’t going to be perfect, but it would keep the site going until our people returned.
Things change quickly, however. Here’s the new headline: ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE has sold BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH. to Dallas Sonnier of CINESTATE. This is no longer an ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE entity. We are a CINESTATE jam now, sitting proud and pretty next to FANGORIA, which means Scott Wampler and I have Meredith Borders and Phil Nobile Jr. as coworkers again.
To be honest, I’m not sure how cognizant our readers are of our ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE relationship. I feel it’s been fairly prominent these last couple years. We promoted films with targeted editorials, we ran Drafthouse news, Mondo products, we tried to run a note of disclosure when running stuff about NEON, we got the company in trouble with thin-skinned creatives.
Even if you weren’t aware of who employed us, this is still major news for the site. It means Wampler and I (in case it wasn’t clear, Wampler is back - Scott, say hello: “What even fucking day is this?”) can now do whatever we want with no bosses or editorial oversight. I am now Editor-in-Chief; Scott is now Managing Editor. Neither of these titles mean a goddamn thing, but no one told us not to take them. We are going to retain a very tight roster of freelancers to help when needed, but this is mostly going to be me and Scott going wild in the streets. If it’s not fun to write or read, we’re probably not going to mess with it. News will still get covered, but we’re going to entertain our indulgences and get weird with it, as well. We weren’t on much of a leash to begin with, but now our freedom is total. So get ready for that.
On a personal level, this has been quite a shock. I straight up adore ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE. Working with them was a dream come true, and I had big plans for the future. This has all taken a moment to truly sink in; now that it has, I’m getting more and more excited about what comes next.
Which is to say, we’re looking forward to partnering with ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE on various projects in the future. Scott and I will likely be hosting some film screenings - maybe even a BMD film series! - when such things exist again (and they will). On top of that, I’ll definitely be bugging them for more board games to review. The aim is for a rich and rewarding relationship between CINESTATE and ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE going forward: BMD will be a part of building that bridge.
And now a word from Scott Wampler, BMD Managing Editor:
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the ninth life of BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH.
I’m honestly not sure what to say here. I started with BMD all the way back in 2013, and in the years since, whoo, lemme tell ya: I have seen a thing or two. Countless movie releases, unending drama with both studios and talent, contributing writers coming and going with the sort of regularity one tends to associate with revolving doors. Never a dull moment, in other words, but this latest development really is the biggest change we’ve ever dealt with. After years working hand in glove with the ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE, we are now a part of the CINESTATE family.
On the one hand, I have some reservations about that! For starters, the ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE has been my home for nearly a decade, and I dearly love everyone I worked with there. To wake up one day and realize that I’m no longer a part of that machine is quite a bit to contend with (like Evan, my long-term career plans were reliant upon my continued employment with that company; now that it’s over, my vision for the future is much murkier). But on the other hand, working underneath the CINESTATE umbrella means that we are now back in bed with our dear friends Phil Nobile Jr. and Meredith Borders, either of whom I would gladly take a bullet for (and both of whom I imagine you’ll be hearing from again, right here on this website). The feeling is very bittersweet.
But - and this is a big but! - this is not to say this massive restructuring will not be without its perks. First and foremost, we have been given the go ahead to be as disruptive and ridiculous as we’d like, along with zero corporate oversight into what runs on the site each day. I can assure you that we will be mining these angles for all they're worth. Working for the Drafthouse was never quite restrictive to our overall mission, but there were times when it would’ve been nice not to be working for a company that was, at the end of the day, understandably beholden to the unpredictable moods of the Hollywood studio system. This arrangement changes all of that, and relieves us of the need to pull any punches. I know both Evan and I are tremendously excited to have that freedom, and I’m eager to see what we do with it. Probably going to piss some folks off along the way, but let’s be frank: sticking our fingers in various eyeballs in an area in which Evan and I will excel. If nothing else, I promise you’ll never be bored reading the site.
I want to take a moment to thank everyone who genuinely supported us over the past seven years - and especially anyone who’s been supportive of us over the past two months, when it should have been abundantly clear that things were in a state of complete chaos behind the scenes. In a time marked with much stress and anxiety and outright confusion (not just for us, but for quite literally the entire world), your support and concern has meant more than I can say, and we’re very happy to be back doing what we love. Here’s hoping you’ll appreciate our hijinks, and follow this new path to wherever it leads us.
Now. Let’s cause some trouble.
And now a word from Dallas Sonnier:
We are so happy to bring BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH. into the CINESTATE family of entertainment websites alongside the iconic FANGORIA and the newly launched REBELLER. Over the course of our four years as a company, the ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE & BMD have always been supportive of us, and more importantly, of independent cinema in general. We’ve premiered countless movies at Fantastic Fest, to enthusiastic response, and BMD has consistently shined their spotlight on our work, from our movies to our books to our audio programs. We’ve even hired from the BMD staff for editorial positions at our own brands – Phil Nobile Jr. currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of FANGORIA, and Meredith Borders is the magazine’s managing editor. Simply put, the history of CINESTATE is tied up in the history of the ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE & BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH., and we wanted to support our allies in a tough time when theater chains and the movie industry at large is fighting for its future.
The decision to acquire BMD goes beyond what they have done for us, though. Perhaps no other website has been as consistent or strong an advocate for voices who aren’t necessarily being heard through other outlets: up-and-coming directors, writers, and other creatives whose nascent position in the movie community leaves them without a voice in mainstream outlets more concerned with covering the latest cinematic blockbuster or tentpole movie. BMD has never discriminated based on whether a director has made ten feature movies or one; their concern has always been in promoting and championing art in all of its forms, from every creator worthy of notice. If the world lost BMD, it would lose one of the brightest stars of the independent movie media scene. That’s not something we wanted to allow to happen.
With the financial and creative backing of CINESTATE, we feel confident that BMD will be able to weather current events and emerge stronger than ever. It’s our honor and privilege to welcome Evan Saathoff & Scott Wampler into the CINESTATE family, and I look forward to working with them for many years to come to ensure that their mission of recognizing and championing bold voices in independent cinema continues.
The world needs BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH. now more than ever.