A locally produced documentary has attracted attention from a California distribution company, and the film is now set for release in several major markets next week.

As reported earlier, the 84-minute film, “Fly Like a Girl,” was produced by Indie Atlantic Films of Lakeland and directed by one of its senior producers, Katie McEntire Wiatt. It is an expansive look at women in aviation, bringing the stories of pioneering women pilots, including a U.S. senator and an 11-year-old from Tampa, into the present. Released last year, it won some awards at film festivals, including Best Feature Documentary award at the 2019 Hot Springs (Ark.) International Women’s Film Festival.

Indie Atlantic announced that it has signed a distribution deal with Gravitas Ventures, an El Segundo, Calif., company that intends to release “Fly Like a Girl” in theaters and through video on demand beginning Oct. 9.

The plan is for a theatrical release in at least 10 major markets to begin with, perhaps including New York and Los Angeles, Wiatt said. The video-on-demand platforms include Amazon and iTunes, where preorders are now being accepted.

Wiatt said Indie Atlantic had several offers from distributors but chose Gravitas.

Matt and Katie Wiatt of Indie Atlantic Films

“We were talking to a number of distributors. We connected with one of Gravitas’ acquisition managers and felt it was a really good fit. They are one of the largest distributors of independent films in the U.S.,” Wiatt said. “They loved ‘Fly Like a Girl.’ They loved its stories.”

Among the subjects in the film is U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who lost both legs while flying a Blackhawk helicopter in combat in Iraq. Duckworth was recently considered as a vice presidential running mate for Democrat Joe Biden.

In a statement, Gravitas Ventures Senior Acquisitions Manager Nick Royak said, “I love the way this movie soars. Inspiring stories of women everywhere demolishing glass ceilings in aerospace and STEM programs are fully realized through crisp visuals and clear vision from director Katie Wiatt. We are excited to be partnering with such a sharp team and know audiences will be inspired by their work.”

From left, Blake Allen, Ashley Buckley, Andy McEntire, Katie McEntire Wiatt and Matthew Wiatt of Indie Atlantic Films at the Lakeland premiere of “Fly Like a Girl” at the Polk Theatre in January.

The film has been screened locally, with a premiere at the Polk Theatre in January, which was attended by about 700 people.

Wiatt said she is not at liberty to discuss the financial aspects of the distribution deal but noted that the film was almost entirely self-funded and hoped Indie Atlantic would be able to recoup the production costs. But, she said, money is not the main point.

“For us, it’s about people seeing the film. With Gravitas, it will have a larger audience,” she said. “We’re very excited.”

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