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Acquisitive Minds: Roman Paul

Head of intl. acquisitions, Senator Film, Germany

Recent buys: “Chocolat,” “Human Nature,” “America’s Sweethearts”

What prior job or experience best prepared you for film acquisitions?

“Making short films. It makes you respect filmmakers more; it gives you an understanding of what filmmakers go through and what their needs are.”

How would you rate the acquisitions climate?

“For Senator, prospects are sunny. We have managed to secure top product through pickups at the markets, our output deal with Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios, a co-production deal with Film Four and a production joint venture with the Canton Co. Enough of our American films will be finished before the (potential) strike and a lot of our films are European. In general, the German market is cooling off and there will be more screenings of finished films and less pre-buys.”

What’s your advice to filmmakers vying for your attention?

“Be original and realistic. Submit a draft of the script that you are really comfortable with. The best time to approach us is in between the three big markets (Berlin/AFM, Cannes, London/Mifed).”

What’s your favorite place to screen a film?

“At festivals, where there’s a certain amount of concentration. At the markets you have people coming and going and talking on cell phones during the screening. My favorite combo: Palais des Festivals, official screening, Cannes trailer running — at that point I am so thrilled to be there.”

Which film do you wish you had picked up but didn’t?

“‘Titanic’ — somehow I missed that boat.”

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