Fancy Rhino, a Chattanooga-based creative content company, has launched Mama Bear Studios. The new production company will develop and produce feature films, television and new forms of original content.
“Our mission is to empower creative teams, tell amazing stories and create the studio of the future,” said Isaiah Smallman, one of the company’s founders. “Chattanooga happens to be the perfect place to do that. It’s an amazing place to live and The Chattanooga Film Festival has already succeeded wildly in bringing more of a film culture to the city. In time, we hope to build it into a destination for filmmakers from around the world.”
Mama Bear Studios plans to build a slate of diverse projects and increase its profile in the international film community. “It’s an exciting time to be joining the film industry,” said Mr. Smallman. “Things are changing fast, but no one knows what’s coming next and there are huge opportunities to disrupt the old ways of doing things. Production is more decentralized than it’s ever been and the market for high quality content has never been bigger.”
However, Mama Bear does not plan to completely turn its back on those who came before.
According to Mr. Smallman, “the studio system is broken, but there is a massive amount infrastructure in place that is still necessary for efficiently delivering the product to consumers. Right now we have no intention of trying to compete in the distribution space. Rather, we want to focus our efforts on filling consumers’ seemingly insatiable desire for high quality content.”
However, along with partner company Fancy Rhino, the company does have long term plans to disrupt the distribution space as well.
The company’s launch coincides with the release of its first feature film, LOW AND BEHOLD. Based on real events, LOW AND BEHOLD tells the story of a young insurance claim adjuster, in post-Katrina New Orleans, who risks his job to help a local man find his lost dog. Shot in New Orleans only months after Hurricane Katrina, this neorealist-inspired film blends fiction and non-fiction to tell the story of an unlikely friendship.
Mama Bear Studios has partnered with the Sundance Institute #ArtistServices program to release the film on iTunes August 18th. The release is in honor of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the premier will be followed by releases on Amazon Instant Video, Microsoft Xbox, Sony Entertainment Network, SundanceNOW, VUDU and YouTube.
Mama Bear Studios was founded by Mr. Smallman and his business partner Drew Belz, in collaboration with Fancy Rhino and Lamp Post Group. Fancy Rhino members Dan Jacobs and Chad Harris will also join the Mama Bear team part time.