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The Orchard & First Look Media’s TOPIC Capture “The Work”

Apr 07, 2017

Los Angeles, CA – April 7, 2017 – The Orchard and TOPIC, First Look Media’s new entertainment studio, have partnered to acquire all North American rights to Jairus McLeary and Blanketfort Media’s The Work, winner of the 2017 SXSW Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary. The Orchard plans a theatrical release this fall.

Co-directed by Gethin Aldous, The Work is an immersive film shot entirely inside Folsom Prison where convicts and civilian volunteers run a one a kind social justice program. Offering a powerful and rare look past the cinder block walls, steel doors and dehumanizing tropes in our culture, The Work reveals a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation.

Producers are Alice Henty, Jairus McLeary, Eon McLeary, Miles McLeary and Angela Sostre and executive producers are James McLeary, Rob Allbee and Aldous.

Jairus McLeary is a court videographer and filmmaker. The Work is his first documentary. He spent several years gaining the trust of the convicts and prison administration in order to film. Gethin Aldous directs motion capture for a major video gaming company. After his own experience at Folsom he joined forces with Jairus. This is his second documentary feature.

“The Orchard was blown away by the power and intimacy of The Work, a film that presents prison, violence, masculinity, and vulnerability in an unprecedented way,” said Danielle DiGiacomo, Vice President of Acquisitions for The Orchard. “We are so excited to be partnering with First Look Media’s new Topic studio to bring this film to viewers across all different platforms, and to create meaningful and important discussions around it.”

“As we continue to accelerate our efforts in supporting more and more creative voices through Topic, we’re thrilled to partner with The Orchard to acquire this amazing film” said Ryan Heller, VP of Acquisitions at First Look Media. “The intimate cinematic lens through which Jairus and Gethin share these inmates’ stories provides for a riveting, thought-provoking and incredibly emotional documentary.”

“I am beyond thrilled to be working with The Orchard and First Look Media to help us tell this story about what happens when people make the choice to come together and pick up their individual piece of a much larger problem,” said Jairus McLeary

The deal was negotiated by DiGiacomo for The Orchard and Heller for First Look Media with Andrew Herwitz of The Film Sales Company on behalf of the filmmakers.


The Orchard, celebrating 20 years in business, is a pioneering independent film, TV and music distribution company that operates in over 25 global markets. The company, founded as a music distributor in 1997, is a groundbreaking leader in the film and television distribution space, known for its innovative technology that provides filmmakers with up-to-the minute trending data and analytics on their projects. The Orchard’s film division has enjoyed such recent successes as the Academy Award-nominated documentaries Cartel Land and Life, Animated; Taika Waititi’s The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Academy Award-winner Morgan Neville’s The Music of Strangers, Alex Lehmann’s Blue Jay and Antonio Campos’ Christine. The company is currently in theaters with Pablo Larrain’s critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-nominated Neruda and will soon release Oren Moverman’s anticipated film The Dinner.


Topic is the ambitious new storytelling brand and entertainment studio from First Look Media dedicated to supporting creators at the forefront of culture. From Academy Award®-winning films (Spotlight) to television, audio and digital, we explore a wide range of subject matter, both fiction and nonfiction. Our approach – challenging, compelling and unconventional – reflects our commitment to discovering and amplifying independent new voices, and supporting established ones.