What prior job or experience best prepared you for film acquisitions?
“Seeing thousands of films, liking cinema and having a wide film culture. After that, experience on the job. You suddenly realize: I like this film and it could work in theaters. Or, this is a lovely film but I’m never going to buy it.”
How would you rate the acquisitions climate?
“A serious matter for the independent sector, especially in Europe, is how in every single sense the whole business revolves around U.S. films and the majors. We’ve gotten to a point where, if a film isn’t picked up and released by a studio, it hardly has a chance of becoming a hit outside its own country. And when you present a film to exhibitors in your own territory the first thing they ask is if it’s had a U.S. release and how much it’s made. And European films rarely make a cent in the U.S. There’s the rub.”
What’s your advice to filmmakers vying for your attention?
“If they haven’t got something very special, and a great script, get some stars in. And if they’ve got a great script, get some stars in anyway.”
What’s your favorite place to screen a film?
“The best place is at a market.”
Which film do you wish you had picked up but didn’t?
“The Blair Witch Project.” I was just $5,000 off closing on it.