About

Corporate Overview

FORWARD ENTERTAINMENT focuses on the acquisition, sale and production of distinctive independent feature narrative and documentary films and television titles for a global audience.

Established in May 2005 by its principals Michael Thornton and Sheri Levine, the company’s services include distribution, sales and marketing of completed feature films and TV programs, as well as assisting producers with financing and co-production opportunities through pre-sales and raising production funding. FORWARD also collaborates with producers to assist them in developing programs that meet broadcasters specific requirements and guidelines.

FORWARD has a consistent visible presence worldwide, and attends all major TV markets (MIP, MIPCOM, NATPE, etc), and film Festivals (AFM, CANNES, TORONTO, BERLIN, MIFED, TRIBECA), in addition to documentary financing markets (IDFA, HOT DOCS). Our unparalleled distribution and marketing expertise allows us to identify and maximize potential revenue from all media. The company works with producers to develop strategic plans for their individual projects and provides marketing and press coverage to maximize sales opportunities for the films and programs.

Sheri Levine and Michael Thornton are seasoned professionals with substantive executive level backgrounds in worldwide sales and marketing. They enjoy solid relationships with broadcasters and film distributors around the world, acquired over nearly four decades of combined experience. Both professionals are former executives of Wellspring Media, Inc. a Company that distributed and marketed a diverse independent catalogue of unique and award-winning films and programming. Levine and Thornton have extensive knowledge of distributing independent feature films, high profile documentaries and TV series, as well as experience and expertise licensing independent feature length films to international theatrical distributors worldwide.

FORWARD has strong relationships with broadcasters throughout the world including a long term relationship with Sundance International Television. In addition to representing THREE Oscar short-listed documentary features and many other award-winning narrative and documentary films, FORWARD represented Spain’s leading Producer/Distributor Sogecable, and one of Canada’s major independent Film Companies, Seville, on a collection of feature films for the US cable, satellite and VOD market. Forward has also served as Executive Producers on RIO BREAKS, a Documentary Feature made in association with and for Sundance Television.

Sheri Levine

Biography
Sheri Levine earned her reputation as a respected executive in film and television with close to 20 years in high level management positions at distribution companies. She started her entertainment career at Fox Lorber where she was Vice President of business affairs for the company. She successfully assisted in the sale of the company to Gaga Communications, the largest independent distribution company in Japan, and later to Winstar Communications. Throughout the ownership changes her responsibilities increased and she became responsible for the worldwide sales department, managing the distribution of over 1000 hours of programming and over 300 feature films. Sheri oversaw the sales, marketing, operation and administrative staff for the department. Most recently, Sheri held the position of Executive V.P. Worldwide Sales at Wellspring, where she continued her management of the distribution of the catalogue of films and TV programs in addition to managing Wellspring’s co-production department. Sheri has arranged and negotiated acquisition/representation deals with producers and co-production deals with US cable networks and international broadcasters.

Along with her management expertise, Sheri Levine has longstanding worldwide relationships with television broadcasters, home video, and theatrical distributors.

Sheri holds a J.D. from Benjamin Cardozo Law School and a B.S. from the University of Maryland in Accounting. Levine is a member of the New York Bar and is also a C.P.A.

Michael Thornton

Biography
Michael Thornton has been in distribution for over 25 years, starting in 1986 with BVI/Walt Disney International in London, where he sold international television rights for all Disney and Touchstone films and series. After Disney, he worked at Hanna Barbera for two years marketing home video rights worldwide.

Thornton then commenced employment at Spelling Entertainment Group. During his 8 years at Spelling, the company acquired the Republic Pictures Library, becoming the 3rd largest independent library in the world. Thornton marketed Spelling Entertainment’s feature films, mini-series, MOWs and TV series to the overseas market, selling titles such as IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, THE QUIET MAN and BELLS OF St. MARY’S from the Republic Library; STEPHEN KING’S CUJO, THE STAND and THE LANGOLIER’S; RUNNING MAN and the mini-series HOLOCAUST from the Worldvision Library, plus world renown series such as BEVERLY HILLS 90210, MELROSE PLACE and CHARMED. He also identified, negotiated and marketed distribution partnerships (library deals) in several key territories, including the UK, where several Classic Films were restored and re-released theatrically.

During his tenure at Spelling Entertainment, Thornton was also responsible for pre-selling feature films, successfully generating a large portion of the entire production budget on several films. Additionally, Thornton’s responsibilities included establishing co-production relationships, and selling all-rights for finished projects, including THE USUAL SUSPECTS, BOUND, STEPHEN KING’S THINNER and IN & OUT, as well as lower budget movies such as LIVE NUDE GIRLS (starring Kim Catrell, Olivia D’Abo, Dana Delaney) and ROBO WARRIORS (starring James Remar).

Michael Thornton also served as Vice President Worldwide Sales at Wellspring. In this capacity, he completed Television and Home Entertainment (DVD, VOD, Download rights) output and library deals internationally and sales to domestic cable broadcasters. Notable titles sold by Thornton for Wellspring include the documentaries ON THE ROPES (nominated for an Oscar), DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND, HORN’S & HALO’S, KUROSAWA and the critically acclaimed and Award-winning Feature Documentary film, TARNATION. Thornton was also responsible for pre-sales and co-productions with major European, Austral-asian and U.S. broadcasters for Documentary Series, Films and Motion Pictures, including THE DIRECTORS, a SERIES of 65 one-hour profiles, featuring the world's greatest film director's, which was sold in over 100 countries

Along with his marketing expertise, Michael Thornton has longstanding worldwide relationships with Television Broadcasters, Home Entertainment, and Theatrical Distributors of Major, as well as Independent, Public and commercial films. He has been a featured Panel guest on Film Distribution at Oxford University in the UK and Juror/Panelist for a variety of Festivals, including Gijon, Thessaloniki and HIFF.