10 Producers to Watch
Mary Burke | Canning & Sherman | Roman Coppola | Gilbert & Horowitz | Mario Gianani | Darlene Caamano Loquet | Felts & Berfield | Rob Paris | Quad | David Guy Levy
When mogul Richard Branson first approached Jason Felts and Justin Berfield about running his new Los Angeles-based film and television development, packaging and production company, Virgin Produced, Felts was “surprised.”
“My initial reaction was, ‘Wow! The Virgin brand isn’t in film and TV yet?’?” Felts says. “That thought was followed by pure excitement.”
Felts and Berfield, the shingle’s CEO and chief creative officer, respectively, are making up for lost time by marketing the company as one that “very simply has balls.”
“That means we are here to develop, package and produce content that other people can’t, wouldn’t or don’t,” Felts explains. “If we go after a project it’s going to get made. Period.”
Together the duo co-produced and helped finance John Turturro’s “Romance & Cigarettes” under their old shingle J2 Pictures/J2TV, which they closed last spring. At Virgin Produced, they will develop and produce original films and TV projects and co-produce two to three movies a year with Relativity/Rogue, which will focus on commercial product.
The first film under the partnership is Peter Farrelly’s “Movie 43,” a sketch comedy project in the form of 17 different shorts, which will feature thesps including Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler and Kate Winslet.
“We are developing and producing films and television shows that are far from traditional,” Berfield says. “We aren’t afraid to push the envelope with content.”
While they won’t reveal shingle’s upcoming television or film slates, the duo is confident that once they do people will notice. “With the support of our sister Virgin companies,” Felts says, “we will be able to cross-market our product in a way that no other producer can.”
“With the support our sister Virgin companies,” Felts says, “we will be able to cross market our product in a way that no other producer can.”
Age: Felts, 31; Berfield, 24
Provenance: Felts: Dallas; Berfield: Los Angeles
Inspired by: Felts: Brian Grazer; Berfield: Judd Apatow