The men and women who keep organizations running
Founder, Key Creatives
Kamins not only keeps busy managing the world of Peter Jackson but also stitching together the helmer’s funding deals, most recently for Jackson-produced “District 9.” He also serves as a board adviser to Jackson’s vfx house, WETA Digital.
Kamins is known for his tenacity — a reputation established when he pursued and financed Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy — and is a key player in setting up the upcoming “Hobbit” prequels. He’s experienced in the often complicated world of indie financing. “While always putting the client’s interests first, I always have genuine empathy for the other side,” he says.
KEY DEALS: Procured financing for the $30 million “District 9.” Helped set up “The Hobbit,” “The Lovely Bones,” “Valkyrie,” and “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” — serving as exec producer on each.
TECH TOOL: BlackBerry
TOP CAUSE: “My heart tends to follow the victims of tragedy.”
ROLE MODEL: Jim Carleton, former VP student affairs, Northwestern U.
President, Jujamcyn Theaters
Producer of long-running Off Broadway tuner “The Donkey Show” at age 23, Roth, now 33, quickly distinguished himself further with the 2000 Rialto revival of “The Rocky Horror Show,” which earned four Tony noms. In 2005, Roth joined powerful Broadway landlord Jujamcyn Theaters, where his bosses instructed him to find hip shows and shepherd them to one of Jujamcyn’s five playhouses.
Theater is in Roth’s blood: His mother and sometime co-producer is Daryl Roth (his father is real estate mogul Steven Roth). Jordan found Tony winners like “Spring Awakening” and the still-playing revival of “Hair.” He made the jump to veep in 2006, and when Jujamcyn head Rocco Landesman departed in August, no one wondered who would take his place.
Roth says he learned to seal deals by keeping the people on the other side of the table at the front of his mind. He adds that it’s important for theater producers to remember they’re part of the audience. “My mother and I shared our love of the theater from when I was a kid. She offered this world to me as a fan. We all start as fans. My seminal moments were sitting in the theater, anticipating the lights going down.”
KEY DEALS: Shepherded “Spring Awakening” and “Grey Gardens” to Broadway in the same season for a combined 17 awards at the 2007 Tonys. Latest promotion seals his influence on Broadway.
TECH TOOL: BlackBerry
TOP CAUSE: givenik.com
ROLE MODELS: Mother and father
Owner, Safran Co.
“You used to be able to make independent films just with a couple of foreign presales in a couple of territories, get a bank loan for the gap and were good to make the movie,” Safran says. “That isn’t happening anymore.”
He believes that creative financing is the survival tool for today’s successful dealmaker. That means using a variety of international sources and getting the funds in a way that makes sense for all players involved.
“‘Buried’ was funded entirely by Spanish subsidies,” Safran says. “We combined that with an advance from a French foreign sales company and partnered that with a small piece of equity. That allowed us to make the movie. That’s the way we have to make them these days.”
Transparency is vital in this new world, Safran says. “You really have to be able to say, ‘Hey, this is where the money is flowing,’ It’s a real shift.”
KEY DEALS: Besides arranging complex financing for “Buried,” his Safran Digital unit partnered with Xbox to offer original content on the gaming platform, with Safran delivering eight Hollywood filmmakers, including David Slade, James Wan and James Gunn.
TECH TOOL: Post-It notes
TOP CAUSE: The Tony Blair Faith Foundation
ROLE MODEL: Bernie Brillstein
National exec director, SAG
When he was SAG’s interim national executive director, White crafted a deal with the studios that staved off an actors strike. He built consensus within the fractured union, resulting in the approval of a new contract.
“When I arrived, there was no communication between the guild and the AMPTP, so we were basically starting from ground zero,” White says.
Listening and gaining trust from both sides proved fruitful. After working nearly a year without a contract, actors ratified in June a two-year deal that covers film and digital television programs, motion pictures and new media productions.
KEY DEALS: Brokered SAG contract with producers providing more than $105 million in wages, increased pension contributions and some Internet gains. Resolved the issue of the contract’s expiration date, 2011, a major sticking point and win for the union.
TECH TOOL: BlackBerry
TOP CAUSES: Alma mater Grinnell College; Posse Foundation
ROLE MODELS: Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy; Abraham Lincoln; mother