EXCLUSIVE: Burgeoning documentary production company Sandbox Films has hired Patrick Hurley to fill the newly created position of Distribution Producer, also announcing today that it has launched construction on a new headquarters in New York City.
As Distribution Producer, Hurley will take the lead on distribution strategy, developing bespoke plans and campaigns for each production and working closely with release partners worldwide to maximize each film’s impact and audience. He comes to Sandbox with a decade of experience in connecting documentaries with release partners and audiences, having previously served as Industry Director at Sheffield DocFest and Distribution Manager at Dogwoof.
“Patrick uniquely understands the needs of independent filmmakers, as well as the nuances of a changing industry landscape,” said Sandbox’s Head of Production & Development, Jessica Harrop. “As an impact-minded company, we hope our films connect with large audiences to inspire critical thinking and expand minds. But this can’t happen if nobody sees them. So we are making distribution a part of the conversation from the start — from development through production, and then collaborating with our distribution partners throughout the life of a film’s release.”
“The mission and approach at Sandbox Films resonates with me deeply,” added Hurley. “I love how these unique, artist-driven films inspire inquisitiveness and invite audiences everywhere to join in contemplating really big, fascinating questions. It’s brilliant that the company thinks strategically about distribution and global reach for new productions right from the get-go and I’m thrilled to join the team to lead on this as the slate expands.”
At DocFest, Hurley oversaw five editions of the festival’s flagship pitching forum, the MeetMarket, linking new feature documentary projects with international financiers, distributors, sales agents and programmers. In his role as Industry Director, he also managed assorted talent development initiatives for emerging filmmakers and producers. During his five years at Dogwoof, Hurley focused on theatrical campaigns and non-theatrical distribution for more than 100 titles including The Act of Killing, Blackfish, Chasing Ice, Leviathan, Ken Loach’s The Spirit of ’45 and Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next.
Barely two years old, Sandbox Films’ focus is on documentaries rooted in scientific ideas that inform society and culture. The company developed and produced Fire of Love, a buzzed-about doc directed by Sara Dosa and narrated by Miranda July which is making its world premiere at the virtual 2022 Sundance Film Festival, and will be represented there by Submarine. It was also behind Theo Anthony’s All Light, Everywhere, which won the Special Jury Award for Nonfiction Experimentation at Sundance 2021, was acquired there by Neon’s Super LTD, and is now available for streaming on Hulu. 2020 releases from the company included Werner Herzog’s Fireball, which was purchased by Apple Original Films, and Adam Bolt’s News & Documentary Emmy Award-nominated Human Nature.
Sandbox has more than 20 feature documentaries on its growing slate, with films from Penny Lane and David France currently in production. Outside of its co-productions, the company gives approximately half a million dollars a year in grants to independent filmmakers via the Sandbox Fund, in collaboration with the Sundance Institute. Its new NYC headquarters will include post-production facilities and a large ATMOS-certified screening room for the community of nonfiction storytellers it supports.