UTFI Film "The Cassidy Kids" Strikes Distribution Deal with B-Side

"The Cassidy Kids," the second feature film from The University of Texas Film Institute (UTFI) and its for-profit production company Burnt Orange Productions, has been picked up for distribution by B-Side's Choice Indies program and will air on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) this month.

"The Cassidy Kids" will air on the IFC at 11 a.m. CDT, April 6; 11:05 a.m. CDT, April 10; 9:05 a.m. CDT, April 14; and 2:10 p.m. CDT, April 25. The title will have a home video release this summer, and will be available for purchase (DVD and digital download) on the B-Side Web site on April 6.

"B-Side is ahead of the pack in terms of a new mode of film distribution and good relationships with the IFC, iTunes and major retailers," said Dr. Thomas Schatz, executive director of the UTFI. "B-Side is a great fit in terms of marketing and distributing the film and I can't think of a better debut venue than the premium indie film cable channel."

As April's featured film for B-Side's Choice Indies program, "The Cassidy Kids" will be promoted on IFC with 30-second TV spots, driving viewers to television airings, as well as to the B-Side Web site to purchase the DVD. The national coverage provided by IFC, combined with the marketing, promotion and exposure of the film at www.bside.com, will drive significant awareness of "The Cassidy Kids" and The University of Texas Film Institute.

"Festival audiences loved 'The Cassidy Kids'—it's a great film, but was generally overlooked by major distributors," said B-Side CEO Chris Hyams. "By discovering films like 'The Cassidy Kids' and providing exposure through our own channels, as well as partners like the IFC, B-Side helps deliver these films to audiences around the world."

Filmed in Austin in summer 2005 almost entirely by University of Texas at Austin alumni and students, "The Cassidy Kids" is a story about murder, memory and Saturday morning television. In the film, five suburban kids solve a murder in 1980 and a popular children's TV show is based on their real-life adventures. Twenty-five years later, the estranged friends reunite for the DVD release of the series but one of them arrives with a dark secret.

The film stars Kadeem Hardison ("A Different World," "White Men Can't Jump"), Anne Ramsay ("Mad About You," "A League of Their Own"), Judah Friedlander ("30 Rock," "American Splendor") and noted Austin actors, including Tiger Darrow ("The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl"), Rusty Kelley ("Dear Pillow") and Cyndi Williams (Independent Spirit Award Nominee for "Room").

"The Cassidy Kids" was directed by Jacob Vaughan (B.S. '96) from a script written by Tasca Shadix (B.S. '95, M.F.A. '98), Tom Willett (M.A. '99) and Bryan Poyser (B.S. '96). Poyser also produced with alumni Megan Gilbride (M.F.A. '04) and co-producer Seth Caplan (B.S. '99).

Schatz, executive director of The University of Texas Film Institute, and Carolyn Pfeiffer, former president and CEO of Burnt Orange Productions, executive produced "The Cassidy Kids," which involved more than 80 University of Texas at Austin graduate and undergraduate students in all stages of production.

The filmmaking model developed for the production of "The Cassidy Kids" is serving as a template for the UTFI to train film students in innovative ways through feature film production. Production on the next feature film will begin in June.

"We hope this is the beginning of a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship with B-Side," said Schatz. "B-Side's innovative marketing and distribution model holds much promise for exposing independent films to a broader audience."