Los Angeles based Nicely Entertainment, producer and distributor of over twenty movies a year to U.S. broadcasters and streaming platforms, is expanding beyond its roots in female-driven romance movies with the launch of Darkly Entertainment, a new label dedicated to producing and distributing darker elevated dramatic content for theatrical and digital distribution. Darkly Entertainment will officially launch at this year’s American Film Market. The announcement was made today by Nicely Entertainment Founder & CEO, Vanessa Shapiro.
‘Since we launched Nicely Entertainment in 2020, we’ve become recognized as the feel-good movie expert with our popular romantic comedies and holiday movies airing on leading broadcast and streaming outlets around the globe. As our business has grown, we want to respond to our clients’ needs for alternative and dramatic content for theatrical and digital distribution–that’s how Darkly was born. Darkly Entertainment will focus on films and series that explore the complexities of human nature, taking viewers on exhilarating and emotionally charged journeys. Launching the banner during AFM is the natural and perfect venue’ said Vanessa Shapiro.
Kicking off the new Darkly slate are two original productions. Holiday crime drama Holiday Hold-Up, currently in post-production, stars Jeremy Holm (House of Cards, Mr. Robot), John Pirruccello (Barry, Twin Peaks) and Agnes Albright (True Detective), and follows a team of disgruntled restaurant employees who take revenge on their thieving mobster boss. Four directors each deliver their unique perspective to this ensemble film, including best-selling comic book author Michael Moreci (Star Wars, Batman, Stranger Things)—who also wrote the screenplay–Michele B. McGraw, Robert Patrick Stern and Kyko Claudio. Producers include Sarah Sharp (Black Mold, Brooklyn 45), Jen Shelby (Holiday Heist) and Kevin McGrail (The Shop, Production Manager on Fargo). Nicely’s Shapiro and Scott Kirkpatrick, EVP Distribution and Co-Productions, serve as Executive Producers.
Darkly will also present the new action disaster film, Super Icyclone, a co-production with Defiant Empire Distribution and Good-Soldier Films in Canada. Climatologist Jill Sanders receives weather data indicating the formation of an unimaginably powerful storm system, and as tragic storm related deaths start mounting in real time, she realizes her small town is about to be ground zero for a massively destructive ice-hurling tornado. Andrew Cymek (Baby Stealer) directs from a screenplay by Jake Helgren and Brigitte Kingsley, who also stars alongside Landy Cannon and Cory Lee. Nicely’s Shapiro and Kirkpatrick serve as executive producers.
Alongside the two new productions, Darkly has also acquired the international distribution rights to content launching at AFM, including:
Exile, launched on demand in the U.S. on October 10, 2023, is a psychological horror film starring Adam Beach (Power of the Dog, Suicide Squad) as a father struggling with his past, alongside stellar performances from Camille Sullivan (Hunter Hunter), Garry Chalk (The Killing) and Marshall Williams(The Ice Road). The film made its world premiere in December 2022 to sold-out audiences at the Whistler Film Festival.
Lace (14 x 30’) an original TV series for AMC Network’s owned streaming platform AllBlk. Lacey McCullough (Maryam Basir) is a successful and highly connected lawyer, whose influence sometimes leads her down a very dark path. The prolific Los Angeles attorney often finds herself blurring the lines between right and wrong to protect her rich and powerful clientele. With the help of her trusted associates, Othello Charles (Skyh Black) and Britney Deveaux (Tanyell Waivers) – and the ever-efficient twins, Aaron(Antoine Harris) and Nora Tuft (Taylor Bynoe) – McCullough faces one of her most mysterious and perilous cases to date. Season two of the series launched in June 2023.
How to Rob is a crime film featuring Chinaza Uche, Caitlin Zoz, and Eli Powers. Sean Price and Jimmy Winters are a two-man stick-up crew, robbing criminals from Boston to Cape Cod. Sean wants out of the game but it’s not so simple when a couple of killers are hunting them for retribution over a past robbery. The film was released in the U.S. in January 2023.