EXCLUSIVE: VMI Releasing, the distribution arm of sales and production outfit VMI Worldwide, has hired Jonathan Barkan as their new Head of US Distribution.
Barkan comes from Mutiny Pictures, which he helped negotiate the sale of to New Jersey distribution company BayView Entertainment.
Barkan was Managing Editor at genre website Bloody Disgusting, which was acquired by Cinedigm in 2021. He was then Editor-in-Chief of Dread Central, which was acquired by Epic Pictures Group in 2017, where he also began acquiring titles for Epic’s genre label Dread. He then helped launch The Horror Collective, a boutique genre distribution label, as VP of Acquisitions and Distribution, before joining Mutiny Pictures in June 2021 as their Head of Acquisitions and Development Director.
Barkan is also the creator and director of the upcoming film Mental Health & Horror: A Documentary and is an executive producer on the upcoming horror movie Skinamarink, which was acquired by Shudder and will get a theatrical release from IFC Midnight.
VMI Worldwide launched in 2010 under CEO Andre Relis. They’ve produced titles such as Darkness of Man, The Price We Pay, The Last Son, Come Out Fighting, Arkansas, Wander, and The Humanity Bureau.
“VMI Worldwide is a company I’ve known and admired for many years,” Barkan commented. “When I was approached for this opportunity, it was a no-brainer. Andre and his team are some of the most passionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated people in the industry and I look forward to working alongside them by bringing my experience to VMI.”
Relis stated: “We’re very excited to have Jonathan join VMI. His years of experience in journalism, acquisitions, and filmmaking make him an invaluable addition to the team. We anticipate great things for VMI Releasing and look forward to it expanding under his leadership.”
“VMI Releasing is a major player in the distribution space and we’re constantly seeking great, different, exciting independent content across all genres,” Barkan added. “One of the most appealing parts of this side of VMI is that we will be able to prove our efficiency and effectiveness to our filmmakers, who we then look forward to potentially working with on their follow-up films.”
VMI Releasing launched in August 2021 and has released movies including Burt Reynolds’ final film Defining Moments and Merry Ex-Mas, starring Vanessa Angel, Jason London and Kieren Hutchison.