Buyer box

A few who control the coin

Hamish McAlpine
Chief executive, Tartan Films

Buys for: The U.K. and the U.S.
Market analysis: “The U.K. is rather competitive for acquisitions at the moment. All these hopeless optimists are mortgaging their houses to start distribution companies.”
Product demands: “Intelligent; edgy; funny; prize winners.”
Favorite Cannes screen: “On a yacht. Anyone’s. I’m a slut.”
Recent purchases: “Capturing the Friedmans,” “2046,” “Belleville Rendezvous,” “Etre et avoir,” “The Cooler”
Missed out on: “The Barbarian Invasions,” “Good Bye, Lenin!”

— Adam Dawtrey

Tigran Dohalov
President, West Video/Multimedia

Buys for: Russia
Market analysis: “Very competitive”
Product demands: “Very good movies to distribute.”
Favorite Cannes screen: Olympia 1
Recent purchases: “Carmen,” “Scary Movie 3”
Missed out on: “The Passion of the Christ,” “The Butterfly Effect”

— Tom Birchenough

Frank Mannion
Head of Swipe Films

Buys for: U.K. and foreign sales
Market analysis: “It’s a buyer’s market. There’s an awful lot of new stuff coming through, and a logjam of quality films that haven’t been picked up yet.”
Product demands: “American indies; documentaries; Asian blockbusters.”
Favorite Cannes screen: “The Palais Miramar in the Noga. We screened ‘Osama’ there last year and it got a standing ovation.”
Recent purchases: Spanish pic “The Other Side of the Bed”
Missed out on: ” ‘Super-Size Me.’ I was the only British buyer left in Sundance at the closing ceremony, and I put in a big bid then and there to take that movie off the table. They seriously considered it, but in the end they waited and sold it to Tartan for much more.”

— Adam Dawtrey

Fernando Alanis
Managing director, Film House

Buys for: Mexico
Market analysis: “Competitive. There are more Mexican distributors vying for indie product — there are six of us now as opposed to two some years ago. Aside from us, there is Gussi, Nueva Era, Art Haus, Zima and Alphaville. Studios are also distributing less mainstream product from Sony Pictures Classics and Miramax.”
Product demands: “A good price-quality ratio; commercial potential; stories with some human value; new directors and cinematography; and opportunities for new relationships with filmmakers and producers.”
Favorite Cannes screen: Le Palais
Recent purchases: The company kicked off in September 2003. This is our first Cannes. We first started acquiring films at Toronto. We have bought the Mexican rights to films that really interested us, such as ‘Alexandra’s Project,’ ‘The Station Agent,’ ‘Capturing the Friedmans,’ ‘Last Life in the Universe’ and ‘The Return.'”
Missed out on: “None.”

–Anna Marie de la Fuente

Zhou Tiedong
VP, acquisitions, China Import and Export Corp., China Film Group

Buys for: China
Market analysis: “There’s a lot of films to choose from at the moment. But we still have the quota. So there is more supply than demand from our perspective. Prices have remained stable.”
Product demands: “Appropriate for the market based on censorship requirement. Romantic comedies. Action. Not animation.”
Favorite Cannes screen: “Anywhere at the market.”
Recent pickups: “Because of the need to get films cleared with censors before we acquire them, we don’t buy directly at film festivals. We are just looking, then we take screeners back with us and get clearance before we choose anything. Last year we picked up ‘Fanfan La Tulipe’ and ‘Michel Vaillant’ amongst others.
Missed out on: “I’d rather not say.”

— Arthur Jones
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