In the 3½ years that Mark Ordesky has been president of Fine Line Features, the shingle has developed a distinctly iconoclastic profile. In an independent landscape that increasingly heads for middle ground, quirky titles still hold the keys to Ordesky’s heart.
There’s “Storytelling,” the latest dark comedy from Todd Solondz; Michel Gondry’s “Human Nature,” the story of a woman plagued by body hair; and Finn Taylor’s “Cherish,” a romance about an animator under house arrest. Still to come is Werner Herzog’s “Invincible,” based on the true story of a Jewish blacksmith in 1930s Berlin who claimed to be the strongest man in the world.
What these films haven’t found, however, is an audience. That hard fact points to a major shift in Fine Line tactics.
“It’s a transition year,” says Ordesky. “The video and TV for these films are so in the basement, it’s forcing everyone to change strategies. We were previously an acquisition company that did a few productions. Now we’re a production company that does a few acquisitions.”
As Ordesky is often in New Zealand to oversee the last two installments of “The Lord of the Rings,” much of the acquisition duties are handled by Guy Stodel, a recent hire who holds the title of senior VP.
Stodel is spending much of his time overseeing upcoming Fine Line productions such as “Rain Falls,” which Fine Line acquired from Myriad Pictures, as well as the adaptation of “I Was Amelia Earhart,” which will be the first English-language feature from Jean-Jacques Beineix (“Betty Blue”).
“Films like ‘State and Main’ and ‘Ripley’s Game’ have become a better fiscal model than ‘Cherish’ and ‘Invincible,’ ” Ordesky says.
“Ripley’s Game” is slated for release in the first quarter of next year. Still undated is another Fine Line production, “The Sleeping Dictionary,” starring Jessica Alba.