Inside Move: Still tinkering under the hood

Mechanic staying his new course

HOLLYWOOD — It’s been a year since Bill Mechanic made his ringing affirmation of the indie way of life at AFMA’s annual producer’s conference.

When the former Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman made a speech to kick off last year’s event, he declared independents “the studios of the future.”

That’s still Mechanic’s vision; it’s just that the future wasn’t quite as close as he thought.

A no-show at this year’s AFMA conference Oct. 3, he’s spent the last 12 months struggling to get his own mini-studio, Pandemonium, off the ground.

But rather than pull up stakes and return to the safety of the studio world — Disney was rumored to be courting him following the exit of chairman Peter Schneider — Mechanic is staying his new course.

In addition to putting some 25 projects into development — with his own coin, thank you very much — and hiring a staff, he’s closing in on bank financing and is in talks with several studios for worldwide distribution.

What he’s no longer doing, however, is trying to emulate what’s become known as the “Joe Roth model.”

When Mechanic spoke to AFMA in September of last year, he called it “the template for my future.”

Now, after meeting with the top distributors of the world — and even walking down the aisle with some of them — he’s rejigged his business plan. In today’s economy, the rich deal terms obtained by the chairman of Revolution Studios now seem like a deal memo drafted in an alternate universe.

Citing pending deals, Mechanic had no comment on the status of Pandemonium.

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