A sampling of some of the market's players
Santa Monica’s streets and hotels will be swarming with international film execs this week. A sampling of some of the players:
Maya Amsellem & Eve Schoukroun
Amsellem and Schoukroun launched London-based sales boutique WestEnd Films in 2008 with the backing of their former Capitol boss Sharon Harel. Their energy, taste and experience has enabled them to build up a small, highly curated slate of classy projects, including the Stephen Frears pic “Tamara Drewe” and Rodrigo Garcia’s “Mother and Child.”
Jeanette Buerling & Maggie Monteith
In a tough market for indie production coin, Buerling, a former TV exec from Germany, and Monteith, a Scot who previously marketed “Star Wars” for George Lucas, managed to raise $250 million for their initial slate. Their L.A.-based film financing banner Magnet Media Group’s first projects include “The Experiment,” “13” and “Spy vs. Stu.”
The tall Brit atop IM Global unveiled “Paranormal Activity” to overseas buyers at an AFM screening last year — and sold off rights to most of the world. This year, Ford’s preselling “Paranormal” helmer Oren Peli’s next film, “Area 51,” which recently started shooting in Utah.
Other sales companies come and go, but HanWay Films, under chief exec Haslam, is a mainstay for quality fare in the international biz. Haslam had six films at the Toronto Film Fest alone, including “The Boys Are Back,” “Creation” and “An Education.”
A Hong Kong producing force with a growing influence in the booming mainland market, Lee spent 21 years at Golden Harvest before joining Emperor Motion Pictures in 2003 as its CEO. Lee remains deeply enmeshed in the Hong Kong biz but has recently unveiled two high-profile projects in mainland China: $29 million chopsocky epic “Shaolin Temple,” featuring Jackie Chan and Andy Lau; and $18 million, Jiang Wen-helmed “Let the Bullets Fly.”
An indie film biz veteran who ran Lionsgate Intl. and co-headed Paramount Vantage, Meyer recently set up his own film sales shop, Sierra Films. He’s handling Sidney Kimmel’s slate as well as other projects, including “Saw” helmer Darren Lynn Bousman’s remake of “Mother’s Day,” starring Rebecca De Mornay.
As senior VP of worldwide acquisitions for E1, Thompson is one of the few multiterritory buyers out there. She learned her trade at Momentum in London, then Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group in Los Angeles, before taking her current job. She coordinates between E1’s operations in Canada, the U.K., Benelux and U.S. homevideo ops.
Among the few bankers to continue to be active in the single-picture and slate film financing space, Underwood co-manages Comerica’s entertainment lending group. That group recently led the syndication of Summit’s production loans, Nu Image’s $150 million credit facility and Relativity’s $300 million revolving credit deal to co-finance Universal’s slate.