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The world comes to Sequim
by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
KidFlixGlobal, a Sequim-based distributor of live-action and animated foreign films for families, is gearing up for big times ahead.
On Sunday, April 3, the company provided peninsula filmgoers with an opportunity to enjoy a free showing of “Wolf Summer,” one of the new full-length feature films in the KidFlixGlobal library.
The movie, a Norwegian import, tells the thrilling story of a young girl who encounters a family of wolves in the Norwegian forest.
Jackie Young, 10, a Port Angeles film buff, was on hand with his mother, Glynis. He gave it a thumbs-up. “It was cute,” he said. “It reminded me of ‘Free Willy.’ They made friends with the wolves, then had to release them to the wild.”
KidFlix co-founder Larry Hulse said “‘Wolf Summer’ was one of the first I saw at the Mill Valley Film Festival in 2004. The film was showing as part of the festival’s ‘children and family’ offerings.’ That’s what got me interested.”
Hulse spoke with the festival’s programmer about his idea to “bring the movies to a larger audience.” Now that same fellow, John Morrison, serves as KidFlixGlobal’s programming consultant.
Hulse said his Sequim-based film distribution company is taking a stand against “the proliferation of violent films being marketed to youth by the Hollywood machine and offering an alternative to parents hungry for movies that both entertain and demonstrate strong character values for young audiences.”
The films, produced in countries around the world, provide a portal for learning about different customs and cultures. “Ultimately,” Hulse said, the films show “how similar we all are as human beings.”
Founded by Hulse and April Wolcott, a film buff with a lifelong passion for foreign language and culture, KidFlixGlobal purchases the rights to the family oriented movies, then distributes them to American audiences. So far the on-hand inventory is just three films, but Hulse says another six are in the pipeline, including a German time-travel movie and a Japanese film.
“We’re trying to get to (adding) at least one or two a month,” Hulse said.
The company purchases the U.S. and Canadian “nontheatrical” rights to the films, giving them the exclusive right to sell or rent the DVDs or to stream them online. Hulse said they even may stream the movies to cell phones.
Hulse recently sold his fine arts transport and storage business after a successful 20 years. He says the contacts he made through that business, and his “hands-on international business experience,” are proving valuable in his newest project.
Wolcott is the president of the company — and Hulse’s sister-in-law. Wolcott, who still lives in California, spent several years with Ketchum Advertising in the marketing, public relations and creative departments before moving behind the scenes to a video and film production company that focused on corporate and documentary work. She says she has a “special interest in education and a vision of bringing better films to schools throughout the country.”
What the future holds
Hulse said they continue to attend various film festivals looking for new movies to add to their inventory. All of the movies they own or hope to purchase are “award winners,” Wolcott said.
The two are particularly excited by their purchase of the rights to “Lotte from Gadgetville,” an Estonian product that has been dubbed in English. “Lotte is the Mickey Mouse of Estonia,” Hulse said.
Because it has been dubbed, the Starz network is considering working a deal with KidFlix to show it, Hulse said.
The company is kicking off a publicity campaign, including a recent appearance by the two founders on Seattle TV. The current campaign, which targets Washington, British Columbia, Oregon and California, will be followed up by a national campaign, Hulse said.
For more information or to buy or rent a film, see kidflixglobal.com.
Reach Mark Couhig at firstname.lastname@example.org.