Ballantyne Strong, Inc. will soon launch Strong Studios, which will operate as part of the Company’s Strong Entertainment division. The company appointed former CEO of Landmark Studio Group, a division of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc David Ozer as President of Strong Studios, to lead the new establishment. “The launch of Strong Studios is a natural but also potentially transformative next step for our entertainment business,” Chief Executive Officer of Ballantyne Strong, Mark Roberson, said. “Going forward, we will deliver not only the industry’s best movie screens and technical services, but also feature films and series for media platforms around the world."
Strong Studios, which will be based in New York, will develop and produce original feature films and television series, as well as acquire third party rights to content for global multiplatform distribution. The new studio launches with an IP slate acquisition and an initial distribution agreement with Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s Screen Media. “With the IP acquisition of a robust slate of content and distribution deal with Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, we are able to hit the ground running with two series ready to head into production, while we begin developing our own pipeline of original IP," Ozer said.
Prior to joining Strong Studios, Ozer served from 2018 - 2022 as CEO of Landmark Studio Group, overseeing the production and development of a slate of projects, including "Willy’s Wonderland," "Shadows in the Vineyard," "Heartbeat," "MidNightMares" and others. For five years, he served as Founding President of IDW Entertainment, where he oversaw the independent mini-studio’s overall operations and focused on developing, producing, and distributing content that appeals to a broad global audience. Ozer is credited with the independent mini-studio’s expansion, and the success of its two most prominent series, overseeing the development and production of three seasons of Wynonna Earp for Syfy, and two seasons of Dirk Gently for BBC America, among other popular titles. The expert has previously contributed to Starz Media, RHI Entertainment, Sonar, DIC Entertainment, and Sony Pictures Television.
Under terms of the deal, two new scripted series, "Safehaven and Flagrant," have been officially greenlit for production this year. Screen Media will distribute both series, with their streaming services Crackle, Popcornflix, and Chicken Soup for the Soul having first rights to premiere. Produced by James Seale, Kevin Duncan and Michael Bay’s 451 Media, “Safehaven,” is a supernatural horror series based on the graphic novel about a female comic book artist whose drawings come alive to haunt her. Production is anticipated to begin in Canada mid-2022. “Flagrant,” is an original dramedy series in partnership with actor and comedian, Michael Rapaport. Welcoming Peter Hoare as Executive producer and writer Pete Correale as co-writers and showrunners, production for the title is expected to begin mid-2022.
Additional projects led by Ozer at Landmark Studio Group to now be developed and produced by Strong Studios as part of the content acquisition deal include “Shadows in the Vineyard,” “Heartbeat,” “MidNightMares,” and more. “We plan to employ a disciplined and conservative approach to development of new projects, utilizing co-production and pre-licensing to limit financial exposure while building a content library with high potential for commercial success,” Roberson said. “We welcome David and his team and look forward to working with them to grow the business into a leading media studio with top original content.”
With the IP acquisition of a robust slate of content and distribution deal with Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, we are able to hit the ground running with two series ready to head into production, while we begin developing our own pipeline of original IP.” David Ozer President, Strong Studios