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Katherine Harper

Head of Marketing, Cinestate


Dallas Sonnier & Will Evans Launch Ultra-Indie Entertainment Company, Cinestate, in the Big D

New Dallas-Based Banner Merges Independent Film and Publishing Models

Sonnier and Award-Winning Indie Publisher, Will Evans, to Lead Cinestate as CEO and President


DALLAS, TX – October 17, 2016 – Dallas Sonnier, producer of 2015’s indie hit Bone Tomahawk (Kurt Russell, Matthew Fox), and the just-wrapped Brawl in Cell Block 99 (Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson) and Will Evans of award-winning Deep Ellum-based publishing house, Deep Vellum Publishing, have unveiled their newest venture, Cinestate. Headquartered in Dallas, Cinestate will focus on identifying visionary creators, and telling bold, authentic stories across platforms including film, audio and publishing. As CEO, Sonnier will oversee Cinestate, and lead its film division, while Evans will serve as President and focus on the publishing division – he will continue in an advisory capacity for the immediate future with Deep Vellum Publishing. The two will work side-by-side on ancillary content including audio projects.

Sonnier returned to Dallas in late 2015, recently dissolving production company Caliber Media which he co-founded in 2008. His goal was to continue making hit indie films in his hometown and raise his family outside of Hollywood. Sonnier met Evans in spring 2016 through mutual friends, and realized immediately that they shared a vision for a new hybrid model of “ultra-indie” entertainment company, which put the studio/creator relationship first, reduced unnecessary big studio/big publishing house costs, and capitalized on their existing deep relationships with creative talent around the globe.

Notes Sonnier, “The entertainment industry has changed so much the past few years, it’s truly the wild west again, and a great time to do something groundbreaking. Our goal is to introduce more audiences to insanely talented creators like we did with Bone Tomahawk, because films like that are already in demand. When I moved back, I immediately recognized how much talent is right here in Dallas. We are already working with some of those amazing folks and can’t wait to partner with more. We are going to do the projects we want, in the locations we want and not concern ourselves with traditional ways of doing things – it’s great to be home.”

Adds Evans, “I launched Deep Vellum in Dallas because I wanted to offer the world’s greatest stories to English readers for the first time, and in Dallas I saw an international, thriving, outward-facing city with burgeoning arts and entrepreneurial cultures that Deep Vellum would fit into and add a literary component to the city’s offerings. Deep Vellum’s success here and internationally makes me so excited to launch Cinestate, and adapt Cinestate’s book projects into films and audio content. And it makes so much sense to found Cinestate in Dallas, where we connect with New York and Hollywood as much as with London, Shanghai and Mexico City and have a fresh perspective outside of the mainstream.”

Both Sonnier and Evans are actively involved in DFW’s burgeoning creative community. Sonnier recently joined the Dallas Film Society’s advisory board, which promotes the Dallas International Film Festival. Evans is currently Vice President of PEN Texas, and a board member of Friends of WRR (he will serve as Vice President of the Board in 2017), as well as a board member of Duke Alumni North Texas. Cinestate has already partnered with some of the city’s brightest creatives on upcoming projects including photographer Rambo, editor Logan Hefflefinger, the local tastemakers at Aviation Cinemas (who run the Texas Theatre) and digital content creators, Round III Media.

Cinestate’s film division will initially focus on genre-based films with budgets in the $2 – 5 MM range. Its first film project, Brawl in Cell Block 99, written and directed by S. Craig Zahler and produced alongside Sonnier’s former Caliber Media partner Jack Heller, is scheduled for a Fall 2017 release. Cinestate’s publishing division is building a home for diverse authors working in all genres who have the creative chops to create cinema-scope, unique stories and want to be involved in the process of publication and adaptation of the work. Properties that begin as original literary works will be signed and published at Cinestate with the express goal of producing film, series, narrative audio, or audiobook adaptations.

Leading Cinestate’s roster of creators, award-winning director/writer S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk) is attached to multiple projects across the company’s three divisions. In addition to Brawl in Cell Block 99, he is also the author of the inventive novel Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child, which will be among the first books published by Cinestate in Fall 2017. Other Zahler-penned novels include Mean Business on North Ganson Street, whose film rights were recently acquired by Warner Bros., and Wraiths of the Broken Land, which is being adapted for the big screen with Ridley Scott attached to direct. Zahler also wrote The Narrow Caves, which will be Cinestate’s first premium audio program.

Cinestate has also signed an exclusive distribution deal with Amazon’s to release premium audio products called Audiostates™ that are professionally adapted from scripts and manuscripts and acted by top talent. The company’s first Audiostate, The Narrow Caves, features the voices of Vincent D’Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket, Daredevil), Wyatt Russell (Everybody Wants Some), Lili Simmons (Bone Tomahawk), and Will Patton (Armageddon, Falling Skies). It’s scheduled for release in early 2017.

About Cinestate:

Cinestate is a Dallas-based entertainment company founded by award-winning film producer Dallas Sonnier (Bone TomahawkBad Milo) and publisher Will Evans (Deep Vellum Publishing). Drawing on their expertise in the independent film and publishing industries, the duo created Cinestate – an organization that seeks to improve upon the status quo in three key ways: Cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with visionary creators who want to see their projects made faithfully and distributed widely; eliminating the arbitrary separation between mediums; and minimizing unnecessary production costs while fiercely protecting our creators’ work. Cinestate believes a bold, authentic story can and will flourish in a book, Audiostate or film, as long as you have the right people in-house to guide the process. (We do.) If you would like to get more information about Cinestate or its current projects in film, books or audio, visit or follow us – @cinestatement


Posted 10/17/16