Indie exec whereabouts
They ankled, got axed or moved on. Where are they now? Variety caught up with a handful of execs who once loomed large in the indie world and are now flying the “consultant” banner while looking for their next gig.
Formerly: Prexy, Next Wave Films
Last exit: “Next Wave’s demise was directly related to a real crisis in indie distribution. The system is broken. As long as everything depends on theatrical, it’s a no-win situation for most indie films.”
Currently: Film consultant, producer’s rep, seeking new distribution models
Not the final word: “While there’s an inherent instability in the indie world, I’m a basic optimist. And if I thought how indies are doing now is how indies will do forever, I would get into another line of work. I have faith in both the filmmakers and the audience. Now, it’s just a question of time and imagination.”
Formerly: Prexy, Artisan Entertainment
Last exit: “My career path has always been about buying, selling and starting. (Artisan) didn’t get the exit a couple of years ago and now Amir (Malin) has done a great job of cleaning up the balance sheet and preparing for this current exit.”
Currently: “I’m working with some private equity investors and closing a certain number of independent transactions,” says Block, who bought remake rights to a movie and says that he’ll have additional film and music announcements to make later in the year.
Not the final word: “My basic thesis: package rights, parse out distribution. If you have a project, gosh, come to someone like me, but don’t go to a financier who’s going to own worldwide everything and then put you into development hell.”
Formerly: Prexy, Lot 47 Films
Last exit: “Every distributor acquires great films that I love, and dreadful films that I abhor. I’ve made some mistakes, too. No business, except for Microsoft, is a paradigm; no company is perfect.”
Currently: “I’m looking for work,” says Lipsky, who acted as a distribution consultant on recent Slamdance award winners “The Holyland” and “Stone Reader.”
Not the final word: “There should be a Dependents Issue. That is the accurate description for a Miramax, a Paramount Classics and a Focus. Be accurate!”
Formerly: Prexy, Christa Saredi World Sales
Last exit: “When you sell quality nonmainstream films for 20 years in a market that is made for and measured by the U.S. majors, it takes a big toll.”
Currently: “I’m free as a bird,” says Saredi, who remains busy, handing off rights to new sales agents, sitting on juries, speaking at seminars and offering experience to countries that have been closed off to indie film.
Not the final word: “What seems to be the standard has changed within the last five years. Now, it’s all about consolidation, about becoming bigger and stronger, and you have to take on more product and personnel to keep the company running.”