Don’t tell Borderline Films producers Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin and Josh Mond that there is a divide between commercial and arthouse fare.
“The idea that those two things are considered separate is frustrating,” Durkin says. “I really don’t think making a film with a studio or making a film on our own matters as long as everyone is on the same page. There’s a middle ground.”
The three principals named their Brooklyn-based feature, commercial and musicvideo production outfit Borderline as an homage to this conviction. They also are adamant about working as a collective.
While one directs, the other two produce, and rotate accordingly.
Their latest project, “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” which Durkin wrote and directed, has garnered the kind of buzz that all films — of indie or studio origin — crave.
One of Sundance’s biggest success stories, “Martha,” made for a modest $600,000, quickly sold to Fox Searchlight for reported $1.6 million in January.
The shingle has also just signed a two-year, first-look deal with Fox Searchlight.
“This may look like a sudden (success story), but it has been eight years of taking little steps,” Durkin says.
Those little steps began when the trio were NYU film students.
“Some of our first conversations were about forming a production company,” Mond says. “We were very business oriented from the beginning. It was never even a conscious thought — we produce our own work and that’s it.”
Despite their student status, in 2004 the trio tried to mount a feature called “Laid,” a high-school laffer starring Jonah Hill in his first feature role. Ultimately, financing fell through.
“Through that process we learned what we were capable of,” Campos says. “The fact that it didn’t work out only made that bond that much stronger.”
The three didn’t waste finding their next project. “Buy It Now” — a short made for $1,000 written and directed by Campos and shot by Durkin — won the top Cinefondation prize at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. Three years later, Campos’ feature “Afterschool” (Durkin and Mond produced) debuted in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.
With the success of “Martha,” Borderline is busier than ever. All three producers are developing scripts and are in post-production on Campos’ “Simon Killer,” starring Brady Corbet as a guy who moves to Paris after a breakup and has an affair with a prostitute.
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