A mid-40s career change saw Martin Fabinyi ankle the music biz in 1995 to establish Mushroom Pictures, the filmmaking division of Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group.
It was a five-year slog before the company bore fruit with successful releases of “Chopper” and “Cut” in 2000.
Fabinyi attributes his success so far to the music biz ethos he applies to filmmaking. He nurtures talent over time and signs creatives to multiple projects. He does not rely on the government grant system.
He prioritizes marketing. “Not every Mushroom film is going to make money, but everyone’s going to know about it,” he says.
Fabinyi’s first producer’s credit came on the Molly Ringwald genre pic “Cut.” It was released in Oz to near zippo B.O., but it struck paydirt by year’s end with sales to every international territory.
“Chopper,” Fabinyi’s first exec producer credit, drew a raft of local awards, extensive international sales and the biggest indie B.O. for 2000. For five years he had worked closely with producer Michelle Bennett and director Andrew Dominik, both music biz contacts.
Recently, Mushroom acquired a 50% share in Stavros Kazantzidis’ quirky comedy “Russian Doll.” Pic was released Stateside in April, ahead of local, and demonstrates Fabinyi’s commitment to the director whose next, more ambitious pic, “Horseplay,” he will produce.
After many years in development, his crocodile project “Rogue” fell apart despite substantial coin in place.
With eight projects in development, Mushroom expects to release two pics a year, with Fabinyi producing on one.