LevelFILM partners with Popp Rok

LevelFILM will work with the advertising and music video prodco to develop, package and launch film and TV projects in Canada.

tajLevelFILM has signed a first-look deal with Toronto-based advertising and music video prodco Popp Rok, and added its co-founder and exec producer Taj Critchlow (pictured) to its board of directors.

The two companies will develop, package and launch film and TV projects, with Popp Rok giving the Toronto distributor a first look at Canadian distribution rights. In a statement, levelFILM said the deal is part of an ongoing strategy to diversify its business by working with creators in the early stages of development.

Critchlow’s executive producer credits include Drake’s music video “In My Feelings” and Director X’s feature directorial debut SuperFly (2018). Director X is also a co-founder of Popp Rok.

The first film levelFILM has acquired via the first-look deal is R.T. Thorne’s debut feature 40 AcresThe project tells the story of a black female military veteran, who raised her children as soldiers to defend their ancestral farm. Thorne was recently selected as a participant for TIFF’s annual Filmmaker Lab, which offers workshops and masterclasses from film industry leaders during the festival, and was also one of Playback‘s 5 to Watch in 2016.

Exec producers on 40 Acres include Critchlow and levelFILM, with Lora Campbell from Waterford Valley Pictures serving as producer. Filming is expected to start in spring 2019 in Canada.

Earlier this year, levelFILM acquired fellow Toronto-based indie distributor Search Engine Films. The deal, announced at Berlin’s European Film Market, also saw LevelFILM add Search Engine president John Bain as its head of distribution.

Critchlow joins levelFILM co-founders David Hudakoc and Michael Baker, talent agent Ben C. Silverman and chairman Laurie Venning on the company’s board.

Popp Rock’s clients include Thorne and Drake music video director Karena Evans. Jasmin Mozaffari’s directorial debut Firecrackers, which made its world premiere at TIFF and stars Evans, was previously picked up by levelFILM for distribution in Canada.