Players pick plum projects

Ten to watch must maintain mix of business, art

Producers are the catalysts. Neither auteurs nor executives, they negotiate the sometimes volatile territory between the two with a mixture of aggressiveness, delicacy and aplomb. No solitary art form, the producer’s work balances the writer’s story, the director’s vision and the demands of the marketplace.

The best of them have track records that show a distinctive personal vision: think Marin Karmitz, Ed Pressman, Christine Vachon. These are the models that Variety‘s worldwide correspondents used when searching out 10 producers to watch.

The criteria: producers whose first few projects showed promise and originality, and whose upcoming pics look likely to find even wider audiences.

Some are already well known in their home territories and are on the verge of achieving wider international audiences for their films, often by tapping into overseas funding opportunities.

Others are starting to sew up deals with major studios after getting started with the independents. And a few have redefined their careers, such as John Hart and Jeff Sharp (whose “Boys Don’t Cry” already netted an Oscar win for actress Hilary Swank) who turned to feature production from Broadway plays just a few years ago.

– Patricia Saperstein is the Managing Editor of Special Reports for Variety.
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