Gravitas Ventures Acquires ‘The Judge’ Documentary & ‘Respite’ Drama, Shudder Picks Up ‘Fingers’ – Film Briefs

Gravitas Ventures has obtained the rights to The Judge – Character. Cases. Courage., a documentary directed by Robert Griffith and narrated by Justin Theroux. The pic, which hails from the American Documentary Film Fund, will be released on TVOD/digital platforms on January 26. The doc follows Judge Robert R. Merhige, Jr. in his distinguished, momentous and tumultuous 31-year tenure on the Federal bench where he fought against the status quo to promote racial and gender equality, protect the environment, uphold the rule of law and the US Constitution. It features interviews from the likes of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), U.S. Senator Mark Warner ((D-VA), Anne Holton, Judge Merhige’s former law clerk, among many others.

Named by President Lyndon B. Johnson to Federal District Court in Richmond in 1967, Judge Merhige ordered the desegregation of dozens of Virginia school districts in 1972. In 1970, Judge Merhige ordered the University of Virginia to admit women and strengthened the right of pregnant women to keep their jobs. Judge Merhige wrote the decision that threw out the appeals of Watergate figures, after they were convicted of breaking into the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. He presided over the trials of Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party leaders accused of killing members of the Communist Workers Party in Greensboro, N.C., in 1979.

Al Calderaro and Robert Griffith produced the doc with Calderaro, Bill Royall, and Pam Royall serving as executive producers.

Kirk T. Schroder, Esquire of Schroder Brooks Law Firm, PLC brokered the rights deal on behalf of the filmmakers with Brett Rogalsky for Gravitas.


Gravitas has acquired North American rights to Saro Varjabedian’s crime drama Respite, which will be released on digital HD internet, cable, and satellite platforms on January 26.

Written by Varjabedian and Ali Abouomar, the indie follows down and out private-eye Jimmy Baz, who reluctantly takes on a case to find a missing college student when the dead bodies of Muslim men start turning up, leading him to believe he is now searching for a serial killer. Monte Bezell, Julián Juaquín, Ahmet Devran Dayanc, Haythem Noor, Leslie Kalarchian, Baylen Thomas, and Guillermo Iván star. Producers are Bezell, Julián Juaquín, Ahmet Devran Dayanc, and Karina Bezell.

The deal was negotiated by Sebastian Twardosz of Savant Artists for filmmakers with Megan Huggins, Gravitas’ acquisitions coordinator.


Shudder, the AMC-owned genre-driven streaming service, has nabbed the rights to Fingers, a comedy-horror film that will debut this month. Juan Ortiz wrote and directed the pic, which follows Amanda (Sabina Friedman-Seitz), a woman who has a number of truly terrible phobias, which is affecting her marriage. When Walter, an employee at her mental health app business, shows up to work one day missing his pinky finger, Amanda is so disgusted that she runs out of work in a flurried panic, prompting her to reach out to a therapist. Attempting a form of immersion therapy, Dr. Scotty forces Amanda to meet with Walter, who mysteriously continues losing fingers. Amanda decides to face her fears head-on and by doing so finds herself in the middle of a strange world of organized crime. Jeremy Gardner and Michael St. Michaels also star.  The film was produced by Natalé Olsen and has screened at Chattanooga Film Festival, Fright Fest, Sydney Underground, Knoxville Horror, Night Visions, and Freak Show Horror.


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