Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s Screen Media Acquires NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant Docu-Series ‘Promiseland’

Cos Cob, CT

6-Part Series Will Have World Premiere on June 3, 2021 as a Crackle Original Series

 

Series from Creator and Rising Docu-auteur Dexton Deboree and producers DLP Media Group, Falkon Entertainment, RTG Features, Interscope Films, and Waffle Iron Entertainment

 

Features Guest Appearances from Moneybagg Yo, Carmelo Anthony, A’ja Wilson, and More

Screen Media, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE) company, announced today the acquisition of all North American and European rights to the new docu-series, Promiseland, which chronicles the rise of Memphis Grizzlies star and reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant. The first three episodes will be available to watch for free on June 3, 2021 exclusively on Crackle as a Crackle Original series, before the final three episodes are released later in the month.

 

The six-part series, created and directed by Dexton Deboree, founder of Falkon and visionary behind the award-winning feature film, Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1, chronicles Morant’s rapid ascension from an unknown high-school prospect and overnight small college standout to the top tier of the NBA.

 

Through never-before-seen footage, audiences will witness Morant as he endures the turbulent and unprecedented 2019-20 season, battles against all odds, wins Rookie of the Year honors, and fights for a playoff berth. The series highlights the newcomer’s coming-of-age story during the most unusual season in NBA history, which includes navigating a global pandemic, a slew of doubters and disbelievers, and the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement and outcry for racial injustice reform.

 

“I’m used to being doubted and to facing challenges,” said Morant. “There were a lot of ups and downs and unknowns in my rookie season, but I just did what I always do – kept my head down, kept training and stayed ready. In the end, I won Rookie of the Year, but I know this is just the beginning of my story. I’m thankful I could share what goes on behind the scenes and do it on my own terms. It’s been great working with Dexton and everyone involved. I’m excited about sharing this series with fans on Crackle.”

 

Production on the series began on the eve of Morant’s first regular season game, continued throughout the shutdown intimately at home with his family during quarantine, inside the NBA Bubble through the pandemic, and climaxes on their final game of the season and back home for the Rookie of the Year presentation. The series features a curated soundtrack from Interscope Records, an original hip-hop-inspired score from Steve “Swiff D” Thornton, a theme song written and performed exclusively for the series by Memphis’s own Moneybagg Yo, who currently has the No. 1 album in the country, A Gangsta’s Pain, and guest appearances by current NBA star Carmelo Anthony, WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson, Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins, Grizzlies stars Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke, as well as Morant’s entire family and coaches from throughout his life.

 

“We are constantly on the lookout for high-impact series and movies we can launch as Originals on Crackle,” said Screen Media in a statement. “Ja is one of those rare talents that simply defines ‘high-impact’ and we know fans will thoroughly enjoy riding shotgun with him throughout his incredible rookie year.”

 

“Promiseland is a fantastic show for both sports fans and families, as we see a promising young athlete embark upon superstardom through hard work and thanks to the support of his family,” said Crackle Plus President Philippe Guelton. "This Crackle Original epitomizes our collection of sport docu-series that not only inspire and entertain our viewers, but makes Crackle a desirable platform for advertisers.”

 

“My life’s purpose is to tell stories that truly inspire the world,” said Mr. Deboree, founder and CCO of Falkon. “This series does that and so much more. My initial inspiration really stemmed from this idea of intimately, authentically and viscerally experiencing what a young athlete actually goes through as their dreams unfold in real time. We’ve seen and heard so many biographies on legends of the past sharing a look back on their life, but never the actual manifestation of the dream truly unfolding before our eyes and getting under the hood, beneath the skin and inside the heart and soul of those who are actually experiencing it while it happens.”

 

Mr. Deboree continued, “In this series we really ride shotgun with Ja as his dream comes true and get to really feel what it’s like as a 19- turning 20-year-old young man watching life unfold in the most magical way. He is a man of faith, integrity, honesty, compassion, humility and all of these really incredible character traits really born from and fostered by his amazing parents and the larger supporting family around him. It’s this idea of positive love and light that is a message and a narrative we need more of in the world, and Ja and his family embodies that. This series celebrates that along with so much more. I’m eternally grateful for Ja and his family for participating and trusting me in the way they did and for being who they are for the sake of the world.”

 

The series is a joint project from the production teams of Deboree’s Falkon Entertainment, DLP Media Group, RTG Features, Interscope Films and Waffle Iron Entertainment.

 

The deal was negotiated by Seth Needle, SVP of Global Acquisitions and Co-Productions on behalf of Screen Media and Greg C. Lake of DLP on behalf of the filmmakers. Screen Media is the exclusive supplier of original content to Crackle Plus networks and has provided over 200 hours of original and exclusive programming in the past year.

 

ABOUT SCREEN MEDIA VENTURES, LLC

Screen Media Ventures, LLC, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE) company, acquires the rights to high quality, independent television series and feature films. Screen Media Ventures acquires worldwide rights for distribution through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, video-on-demand, and new digital media platforms. The company acquires AVOD rights for third party networks and is the main supplier of content for Crackle Plus and other Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. properties. With a library of over 1,500 television series and motion pictures, Screen Media Ventures is one of the largest independent suppliers of high-quality tv series and motion pictures to U.S. and international broadcast markets, cable networks, home video outlets and new media venues. For more information, visit www.screenmedia.net.

 

ABOUT CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL ENTERTAINMENT

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE) operates streaming video-on-demand networks (VOD). The company owns Crackle Plus, which owns and operates a variety of ad-supported and subscription-based VOD networks including Crackle, Popcornflix, Popcornflix Kids, Truli, Pivotshare, Españolflix and FrightPix. The company also acquires and distributes video content through its Screen Media subsidiary and produces original long and short-form content through Landmark Studio Group, Chicken Soup for the Soul Unscripted,  APlus.com, and Halcyon Television. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is a subsidiary of Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC, which publishes the famous book series and produces super-premium pet food under the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand name.

 

ABOUT CRACKLE PLUS

Crackle Plus owns and operates ad-supported VOD networks Crackle, Popcornflix and Chicken Soup for the Soul, making it one of the largest AVOD streaming platforms in the U.S. Crackle Plus has AVOD rights to over 11,000 films and 22,000 episodes of television series. Crackle Plus networks premiere at least one original and one exclusive program each month, differentiating it from other AVODs. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE) owns Crackle Plus and also acquires and distributes video content through its Screen Media subsidiary and produces original long and short-form content through Halcyon Television, Landmark Studio Group, its Chicken Soup for the Soul Unscripted division and APlus Productions. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. is a subsidiary of Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC, which publishes the famous book series and produces super-premium pet food under the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand name.  

 

ABOUT FALKON

Dexton Deboree is the founder of Falkon, a creative company born at the intersection of advertising & entertainment. As a multi-dimensional creative hybrid, Dexton has worked on such multi-faceted projects as Grammy-nominated James Bond’s Quantum of Solace, Emmy-winning TV special Yes, Virginia, and award-winning brand campaigns for Jordan Brand, Nike Basketball, Football & Sportswear, ESPN, Major League Baseball, Sonos, Rémy Martin, Major League Soccer, Wilson and other select world-class brands pro sports leagues and top-tier athletes. He wrote, directed and produced the feature documentary film and now cult sneaker doc classic, Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1, which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and is currently available on Hulu, TIDAL and most digital platforms around the world. He’s currently in various stages of development and production on a range of high-profile projects, premium docu-series, scripted TV series and feature films including projects with Serena Williams, Carmelo Anthony and his Creative 7 banner, Michael Strahan and SMAC Entertainment, rising NFL star Juju Smith-Schuster and NHL great PK Subban, among others.

 

ABOUT DLP MEDIA GROUP

Dedicated to premium, visually-compelling story creation and production, and founded by 10-time Emmy Award-winning Executive Producer and media executive Michael Hughes, DLP Media Group brings a “sports mentality” to three distinct content categories: long form, branded entertainment, and live & event. The Peabody Award-winning content group’s credits include three films in ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, along with a team who has produced content for and with partners ESPN, FOX Sports, NBC Sports, Amazon, Netflix, A&E, NFL Media, VH1, and many more.

 

ABOUT RTG FEATURES

RTG, which stands for “Respect the Game,” is a film and TV production and financing studio. With basketball storytelling as its priority, RTG focuses on original development, along with adapting articles from SLAM’s 230-plus magazine issues into both scripted and unscripted multimedia projects ranging from feature films and television to documentaries and podcasts. RTG Features is part of JDS Sports’ investment portfolio which spans venture capital and private equity, and includes: SLAM, Five-Star Basketball, Streamwise, 1091 Pictures, 19nine, VidMob, Transmit, Dibbs, ReadyUp, Framework Ventures, and more.

 

ABOUT INTERSCOPE FILMS

Interscope Films, a division of Interscope Records, was established as an avenue for music artists to create and exist in the alternate medium of Film and Television. Interscope Films was reimagined in 2019 to produce and finance content, pair artists with award-winning storytellers, and bring their creative visions to life. Initial projects include Teen Spirit starring Elle Fanning, and the Billie Eilish documentary, The World’s A Little Blurry, which premiered on Apple TV+ in February.

 

ABOUT WAFFLE IRON ENTERTAINMENT

Waffle Iron Entertainment (WIE) is dedicated to developing, producing and distributing premium sports entertainment that inspires more athletes* (if you have a body, you are an athlete) to move every day. The focus of WIE is to tell stories that exemplify the values of sport. Told through diverse creatives in film, television and digital productions, content is designed for broad audiences and deep fandom communities.

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements are based on various assumptions, whether or not identified in this press release, and on the current expectations of management and are not predictions of actual performance. Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those risks set forth in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020. If any of these risks materialize or our assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof and the Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Company’s expectations with respect thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based.

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