From Hollywood to Bangkok, sales outfits among the newbies at AFM this year
KEY EXECS: Marina Fuentes, managing director and sales head; Enrique Posner, head of international distribution and marketing; Manuel Cristobal, production director
SHORT TAKE: Company will handle its partners’ films (Fuentes’ Galba Prods. and Cristobal’s Perro Verde Films) as well as third-party pickups. It has moved into U.S. product, repping “Alone With Her,” from producers Bob and Tom Engelman (“The Last Samurai”), and will search for new talent in Spain and around the world, focusing on animated feature films and other pics that could be international draws.
PRODUCT:“Alone With Her,” “Cobrador, In God We Trust,” “Remake,” “Going Nuts”
SOUNDBITE: “We’d like to be like Capitol or Celluloid Dreams, strong in Spain but with films from all over the world. I’d like producers to see 6 Sales as a support for tapping money, including coin to pre-finance bigger projects,” Fuentes says.
HQ: Clapham Common, South London
KEY EXECS: Tristan Whalley and Nicki Parfitt, partners
SHORT TAKE: Sales outfit Goalpost specializes in financing, exec producing and marketing distinctive low-budget theatrical movies (under $10 million) from anywhere in the world. Whalley previously was head of Portman Film, where he handled “Saving Grace” and “Bloody Sunday,” among other pics. Parfitt joined him in October from London law firm Lee & Thompson.
PRODUCT:“Clubland,” an Australian comedy-drama directed by Cherie Nowlan, starring Brenda Blethyn as a nightclub comedian facing up to the challenge of her son’s new girlfriend. Pic’s in post, with a promo reel at AFM. Company’s also prepping Rupert Wyatt’s Anglo-Irish thriller “The Escapist,” to star Brian Cox; Chinese drama “Happy Ever After …,” written and directed by Richard Bowen; and “The Climb,” directed by Matt Lipsey.
SOUNDBITE: “Material is all, and you have to be properly linked to it as an executive producer. We’re looking for distinct projects that can be honed for a reasonable budget level,” says Whalley.
Odd Lot Intl.
KEY EXECS: Brian O’Shea, exec VP, worldwide sales and distribution; Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete, Odd Lot co-presidents and CEOs
SHORT TAKE: Odd Lot Entertainment’s new international arm is headed by veteran international sales exec O’Shea, who helped sell the rights to “Monster” and “Waking Ned Devine” in foreign markets. The new division handles productions from Odd Lot and its horror label Dark Lot and aims to nab outside projects.
PRODUCT:Under the Odd Lot and Dark Lot banners, company aims to make six to seven films a year. Shingle plans to throw its full force behind three sizable projects: graphic novel-based actioner “The Spirit,” Frank Miller’s adaptation of Will Eisner’s DC Comics series about a masked detective who lives in a mausoleum; Fina Torres’ “Sense and Sensibilidad,” a take on Jane Austen with a Hispanic cast, set in Los Angeles; and Mimi Leder’s “Return to Sender,” a romantic laffer about a father-son love triangle. Company recently wrapped “The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing” adaptation “Suburban Girl.”
SOUNDBITE: O’Shea says five years after Odd Lot Entertainment opened its doors, the international division intends to make its presence known at AFM: “There are a lot of big companies, but there are very few films that are really sought after — big projects. Our goal is to make bigger commercial films that break out, ones that are big studio films.”
KEY EXECS: Gilbert Lim, exec VP; Pitaya Sithi-Amnuai, director of sales; Petchladda Sinarpa, sales exec
SHORT TAKE: Sahamongkolfilm is the leading player in the Thai film industry, with dominant positions in the production and distribution sectors. Its action fare heralded the arrival of Tony Jaa and brought to attention the intensely physical Muay Thai (Thai boxing) style of martial arts.
Earlier this year, Sahamongkol shifted into international sales under its own power. Launch slate boasted in-demand projects such as Jaa’s untitled directorial debut and “Ong-Bak 2,” to which the Weinstein Co. pre-bought multiterritory rights.
PRODUCT:Firm is screening psychological horror pic “13” at AFM. It also touts actioner “Chocolate,” helmed by “Ong Bak” director Prachya Pinkaew; big-budget “Queens of Pattani,” a sweeping epic helmed by Nonzee Nimibutr (“Jan Dara,” “Nang Nak”); and “King Naresuan,” helmed by Prince Chatri Chalerm, whose “Legend of Suriyothai” is the all-time B.O. record holder in Thailand.
SOUNDBITE: ” ‘Ong Bak’ catapulted Thai films into the front row, but I’m happy to see Asian movies are becoming quite acceptable in an increasing number of territories around the world,” says Lim.
HQ: Beverly Hills
KEY EXECS: Bill Block, CEO; Paul Hanson, chief operating officer; Kimberly Fox, senior VP, worldwide distribution
SHORT TAKE: Instead of positioning itself as a producer, QED takes the exec-producing route, partnering with well-known filmmakers who hold a solid track record and attract strong material. Pics are funded through a combination of foreign pre-sales, senior capital and equity. The company also acts as a seller on certain projects with a team led by Fox, former head of international distribution at Kathy Morgan Intl. Company plans to finance up to four films a year while handling international sales for about the same number of titles.
PRODUCT:QED will sell “Smart People,” a co-production with Michael London’s Groundswell, starring Dennis Quaid, Rachel Weisz and Thomas Haden Church. On the production side, QED has Richard Gere starrer “Spring Break in Bosnia,” about a reporter who convinces a young journalist to travel with him to Bosnia in search of a war criminal.
SOUNDBITE: Fox says she takes an academic approach to AFM. “You gear up for what I call the school year — starting in Toronto and running to Cannes,” she says. “First you make the run into September and you start putting together your projects. AFM is the most important exam of the fall.”
— Compiled by Adam Dawtrey, David Friend, Emiliano De Pablos and Patrick Frater