Acquisitive Minds: Clare McArdle

VP, acquisitions, Italy's Medusa Film

How would you rate the quality of the film product available today?

“Much of the A-level product is still controlled by the studios. That said, many of the studios are using co-financing deals to reduce their risk, and we are starting to see some higher-end films available in the international marketplace. There are always some wonderful independent films, but usually only three or four each year break out internationally.

“Only 20%-30% of the top 50 films this year in Italy were acquired via output agreements or at the markets. The rest are Italian-language films or studio releases.”

n What is the impact of the Internet on your business?

“The Internet is an incredible tool for research, allowing buyers in foreign countries to gather information on projects as it becomes available in the U.S. I can read today’s Variety online before anyone in Los Angeles has woken up.

“Buying films online, however, seems limited to smaller films that have trouble finding distribution. The distributors with hot projects seem to love the frenzy of the markets to get the highest prices possible.”

n What is your advice on keeping cool in a bidding war?

“One, trust your instincts. Two, remind yourself that the fact that others have lost their minds doesn’t mean that you have to.”

n What is your favorite dealmaking spot in Cannes?

“The terrace of the (Hotel) Du Cap, assuming you can find an ATM that will give you enough cash to buy lunch.”

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