Forest Whitaker Joins, a collaborative film studio and social media platform, gets its name from the American Revolution days. “Benjamin Franklin formed what he called the Junto Society, which consisted of a diverse group of people committed to self-improvement, their community and the aid of others,” senior vice president of digital Rachael McLean tells FishbowlLA. “This is the inspiration behind the name of our company.”

Helping lead this namesake, public-voted 21st century indie film revolution will be Oscar winning actor Forest Whitaker, who was formally announced today as company co-chairman. Inspired by social gaming technology, will invest a total of $2.5 million in five films this year. They are also hosting a special pre-SXSW digital mixer at their offices in Santa Monica tonight, in partnership with Digital LA.

“We are currently privately funded by individual investors,” McLean explains. “All films are different with the budgeting requirements. The funding will be distributed depending on what the actual film is and the story, that way we aren’t locked into a set amount [per film].”

Selected projects will be announced throughout 2012 to coincide with events such as Tribeca, the Los Angeles Film Festival and Social Media Week. McLean also promises some more news will be revealed at SXSW.

And how did they settlle upon the very eminent choice of Whitaker? “Company founder Philippe Caland and Forest have worked together on independent features,” says McLean. “They’re both passionate about filmmaking, mentoring and discovering new talent. Over the past year the two strategically shaped the company to help the independent film community connect and collaborate.”

The pair’s latest collaboration is the 2012 horror thriller Vipaka.

[Photo: Featureflash/]