EXCLUSIVE: Film finance, production and sales outfit VMI Worldwide is expanding into the U.S. distribution space, launching VMI Releasing. In a partnership with Nela Media, Kendall Anlian has been tapped to head distribution for the new venture, which already has set its first release: the comedy Defining Moments, which is Burt Reynolds’ final film. It will now bow in theaters and VOD on August 27, 2021.

“Film distribution remains a complex space to navigate, particularly amidst this pandemic and the ever-changing landscape,” VMI Worldwide CEO Andre Relis said. “We are thrilled to have Kendall Anlian join our team to lead the distribution venture. Her storied experience and forward-thinking acumen are the exact combination to successfully manage the distribution channels for our films and filmmaker partners.”

Anlian, who founded Nela Media to provide distribution across theatrical, TV networks, OTT/VOD and DVD markets, will also run development and sale of original TV content at VMI Releasing. Before Nela, she was VP Sales at The Asylum, where she spearheaded the sales of 25 new releases a year.

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“I have known Andre for many years and have always been impressed with VMI’s level of content, both on the acquisition side as well as the production side,” Anlian said. “With the everchanging landscape of the digital and home entertainment space we are employing strategic release plans that will adapt and grow with the platforms. I look forward to a long, successful relationship with Andre and his talented team.”

Defining Moments, written and directed by Stephen Wallis, stars Reynolds in his final performance before his death in 2018, along with Sienna Guillory, Graham Greene, Shawn Roberts and Tammy Blanchard. It revolves around several different people at a crossroads in life: Jack (Roberts) must decide if he wants to commit to his girlfriend Terri (Guillory), Marina (Polly Shannon) must reconnect with her aging father Chester (Reynolds), Laurel (Blanchard) must embrace her new pregnancy and come to terms with her father’s early Alzheimer’s, and Dave (Dillon Casey) must learn why life is worth living.

The indie was produced by Susan Ilott, Michael Godfrey, Angelo Paletta, James Robson and Wallis and executive produced by Paul & Michael Paletta and Stan Wontor.

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