ContentFilm has entered into a two-year first-look pact with L.A.-based producer Sean Furst via his Furst Films shingle.
WMA Independent, the indie film division of the William Morris Agency co-headed by Rena Ronson and Cassian Elwes, will package deals for the two companies.
ContentFilm will work closely with Furst Films and WMA Independent to identify a wide range of projects, and filmmakers and other talent repped by WMA whose skills are suited for low-budget projects made on digital video. The agency also will serve as pics’ sales rep on a case-by-case basis.
Furst will develop and produce those projects to which ContentFilm gives a greenlight and chooses to finance. Development will be headed by Furst Films’ Bryan Furst, brother of Sean, who will serve as co-producer on the pics. Pressman and Schmidt will exec produce.
The first product of the alliance is “The Cooler,” a dark comedy that will star William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin. Set to begin production in May, “Cooler” was penned by Wayne Kramer, who will direct, and Frank Hannah. Sean Furst and Michael Pierce of Pierce-Williams are producing. ContentFilm’s Edward Pressman, John Schmidt and Alessando Camon are exec producing along with Brett Morrison and Robert Gryphon of L.A.-based Gryphon Films.
Lucky in love
Set in a Las Vegas casino, “Cooler” is the story of Bernie Lootz, whose bad luck is infectious until he meets a waitress who changes his life.
Furst produced “Monster’s Ball” helmer Marc Forster’s Sundance Film Festival pic, “Everything Put Together.”
Furst came to know Pressman through “Owning Mahoney,” an Alliance Atlantis-financed pic that they exec produced together.
Said Furst: “I am excited that ContentFilm and WMA Independent are among the first major industry players to recognize that films shot on digital video can garner both critical acclaim and success at the specialized box office. They are the wave of the future.”
Pressman added: “Industry response to ContentFilm has been tremendous since we launched the company, and this alliance with Sean, in conjunction with the additional expertise of Rena, Cassian and William Morris, will allow us to move quickly to meet our goal of making about a dozen films in the next couple of years.”
WMA Independent recently packaged and arranged financing for “Levity,” Ed Solomon’s directorial debut, starring Morgan Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst and Holly Hunter, and Matthew Hoge’s “United States of Leland,” starring Ryan Gosling and Kevin Spacey. WMA Independent also packaged and arranged the financing for “Monster’s Ball.”
In pre-production at Furst Films is Marlene King’s “Rain Falls,” starring Patricia Arquette, Christian Slater and Thomas Jane. Myriad Pictures is financing the $9 million film, set to begin production in August.
Furst recently closed a deal with Sony-based Escape Artists to produce an untitled Hughes brothers’ jailbreak thriller, penned by “Menace II Society” scribe Tyger Williams.
He also recently inked a deal with Lifetime Television to produce a feature-length version of Pulitzer-winning author Michael Chabon’s short story “Son of the Wolfman,” to be adapted by “Everything Put Together” co-writer Adam Forgash.
ContentFilm will finance, produce and distribute an initial slate of 12-15 director-driven features to be shot mainly, but not exclusively, on digital video.
ContentFilm is fully funded by equity investors, including lead investor Syntek Capital. Frank Biondi’s WaterView Advisers is also an investor.