Following a successful world premiere at London’s FrightFest, Dark Sky Films today announced it has acquired North American distribution rights to HERD, an action-driven horror film and the directorial debut from Steven Pierce, co-written by Pierce and James Allerdyce. HERD stars Ellen Adair (Trick, Cryptid), Mitzi Akaha (Bashira), Jeremy Holm (The Ranger, Brooklyn 45, Black Mold), Amanda Fuller (Starry Eyes, All the Creatures Were Stirring) among others. The film, which premiered on IMAX at Cineworld to a sold-out crowd in Leicester Square, London, will be released in theaters and on VOD in October 2023.
The distribution arrangement was negotiated by Greg Newman, Executive Vice President of Dark Sky Films, and Bill Straus of Bridge Independent.
HERD tells the story of a woman trying to outrun a past complicated by an abusive father. When she and her wife end up trapped between a zombie outbreak and warring militia groups in her hometown, she is forced to fight for both love and survival.
Additional cast in HERD includes Dana Snyder (Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm), Corbin Bernsen (The Dentist, Tales From the Hood), & Timothy V. Murphy (Tragedy Girls). The film is produced by Pierce, Allerdyce, Matt Mundy, Lori Kay & Bret Carr on behalf of Framework Productions, with cinematography by Brennan Full, production design by Michael David, and costume design by Lauren Lau, with a score by Alexander Arntzen.
Dark Sky Films EVP Greg Newman said, “Steven Pierce has crafted a film that brilliantly ratchets up the tension and puts a fresh spin on the zombie outbreak subgenre. We’re thrilled to be releasing HERD under the Dark Sky Films banner this fall.”
Director Steven Pierce said, “Dark Sky has been a strong player in the cultivating some of the most unique horror films available for some time and I am so pleased that HERD will be taking a place alongside their awesome lineup of titles.”
Jamie and her wife, Alex, try to save their failing marriage by taking an isolated canoe trip in rural Missouri. After Alex breaks her leg, the women find themselves trapped in Jamie’s small hometown overrun by virus-infected ‘Heps’. Worse, Alex gets scratched by one of the afflicted. After witnessing personal and gruesome horrors, she attempts to sneak away with Alex, only to be betrayed by one of her only connections. Now caught between the group that saved her, a competing militia, and the growing ‘Hep’ threat, is there any chance she can save Alex and finally escape?
About MPI and Dark Sky Films
The MPI Media Group is a leading producer, distributor and licensor of films. Founded in 1976, Chicago-based MPI Media Group remains one of the largest independent entertainment companies producing and distributing a compelling slate of the world’s most respected cinema, documentaries, performances and television programs. MPI’s wholly owned subsidiary, Dark Sky Films is an independent film production and distribution label founded in 2008, working with emerging talent as well as established veterans to develop, package, produce and finance feature films and episodic television projects. Representing films from some of most talented directors working today, such as Ti West’s The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, and Jim Mickle’s Stake Land, Dark Sky continues to identify original talent and projects to bring a vibrant slate of films to the world market, with original productions and releases such as Girl on the Third Floor, We Are Still Here, Deathgasm, Emelie, Catfight, Darlin’, Bliss and more recently 1BR, Coming Home In The Dark, Broadcast Signal Intrusion, Mother May I? and more. | Follow us on twitter: @darkskyfilms @mpimediagroup
About Framework Productions
Since 2009 Framework Productions has been focused on the creation of narrative films, documentaries, commercials & branded content, visually stunning live performances, and its newly expanded independent film division. Leading collaborations with The Lumineers, Amazon, HULU, CBS, T-Mobile, Canon, Capital One, American Family Insurance, Kurt Warner, and JJ Watt, Framework specializes in cultivating successful stories across any genre.
About Steven Pierce
Award-winning director and writer Steven Pierce is known for his diverse portfolio encompassing narrative and documentary films, live music, and commercials. Notable works include his debut narrative feature HERD, as well as a documentary/concert film spotlighting indie sensation Buke & Gase, both released in 2023. He was the showrunner for the hit online series “Top Photographer” starring Nigel Barker, and “What It Takes,” a collaboration with the NHL and Hulu that preceded the 2019 Stanley Cup. His dynamic storytelling style seamlessly blends narrative and pace, captivating audiences and bringing stories to life on screen.
As a documentary director, Steven has told the stories of prominent figures including Kurt Warner, JJ Watt, Jamaal Charles, Emmanuel Sanders, and Christian Yelich, among others. His live directing credits feature iconic performances by artists like the Lumineers, Cee Lo Green and the Muppets, Ed Sheeran, Regina Spektor, twentyone pilots, Sheryl Crow, and Gary Clark Jr. Additionally, his commercial work boasts partnerships with renowned brands such as Amazon, Toyota, CBS, T-Mobile, Canon, Nikon, Proctor and Gamble, Verizon, Motorola, American Family Insurance, and AT&T.
He has garnered four collaborative Emmy awards and an A.C.E. nomination for his contributions to “Saturday Night Live.”