Following it’s surprising win of the Best Picture award at the 2017 Academy Awards celebration, Moonlight, the little picture that could, introduced itself to a larger audience. This movie was a smashing success in the entertainment industry for the incredible performances, beautiful story and inspired direction but it was hugely aided by a special element spinning the cogs in the background. The production company A24 was just another small production company making independent films until they struck gold with Moonlight. Casual audience members could mistakenly think that A24 is just a one trick pony, but they’ve been around for longer than most know.
A24 was created in 2012 by three men with ties to the entertainment industry. Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges were all leaders in their various areas that included film finance and production. Pooling their resources, the three men strived to make A24 into a company that made films which were both unique and distinctive in style and story. Starting in 2013, the first batch of films were released which included films like Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring and This Spectacular Now. These films were some of the first to show off the range and individuality that A24 had a knack for finding.
Looking to advance the availability of their films, A24 struck up distribution deals with both DirecTV Cinema and Amazon Instant Video. These deals greatly benefited the now production and distribution company and made their prescense in Hollywood greater. These films were filled with notable actors and directors, but A24 was still limited by their smaller levels of exposure compared to their larger competitors.
A24 decided to break into the television world in 2015 with the show Playing House on the USA Network. They also collaborated with Channing Tatum for the Amazon Prime exclusive show Comrade Detective which Tatum produced. By this point in time, A24 had safely gained its footing in two entertainment mediums and made themselves a name that big named celebrities were suddenly intrigued by. After several financially lucrative deals were made and a few worldwide distribution deals were formed, A24 was finally ready to shine.
There are so many films that A24 had a hand in making, accumulating in an astonishing list of excellent filmmaking and championing of distinct voices. Their early work included Under the Skin, Locke, Tusk, A Most Violent Year, While We’re Young and Ex Machina. These films had talents such as Scarlett Johannsson, Tom Hardy, Kevin Smith, Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain and Ben Stiller to name a few. The more recent and notable films to be released include Room, The Witch, The Lobster, Swiss Army Man, Moonlight, 20th Century Women, It Comes at Night, A Ghost Story, Good Time and The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
These films, as well as the numerous ones not listed, are all insanely distinctive in their own way. Ex Machina explored the scary possibility of the future of artificial intelligence, Room made audiences feel the gut wrenching pain of an experience that most of us only see in the news, and It Comes at Night brought a much-needed redefining of what it means to be a horror film. These films all managed to captivate their audience by providing a story that was relatable, interesting, and powerful. Even a movie where Casey Affleck dresses like Charlie Brown on Halloween for an hour and a half is an accomplishment for A24 because of their great use of their strangely small budget. (Jabs at A Ghost Story are necessary.)
And now we reach present day where in the middle of award season we see three A24 films being recognized for their achievements. Lady Bird, The Florida Project and The Disaster Artist are all proof that A24 did something right on their inspiring journey to Hollywood. In today’s film industry filled with explosions, special effects, and insane multi-picture deals it is refreshing to see a company like A24 showing the world that sometimes a good story and the drive to make something of it are all you need to leave your mark.