10 Producers to Watch 2011: Tyler Davidson & Sophia Lin

Tyler Davidson and Sophia Lin never considered forming a formal producing partnership. After all, he is based in Ohio, while she conducts business from New York.

But the pair so enjoyed collaborating on the Sundance breakout drama “Take Shelter” that they decided to reteam on the upcoming psychological thriller “Compliance,” based on the true story of a prank phone call made to a restaurant that results in a rape.

Lin became the first producer to board “Take Shelter” — which is generating awards-season buzz for stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain — after helmer Jeff Nichols asked the producer to read his script in summer 2009. Nichols and Lin previously worked together on a project that eventually fell apart.

Lin then brought Cleveland-based Davidson, a producer known for his ability at raising coin and navigating Ohio’s tax credits. Davidson also helped assemble local crews for the Ohio-shot film.

Though Nichols and Shannon are longtime friends, no one ever envisioned the “Boardwalk Empire” thesp for the lead. “It certainly hadn’t been written with Michael in mind,” says Lin, a New Jersey native and NYU grad.

But the actor read twhe script and dove into the role of the young father plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions.

Davidson, who nixed Florida State’s graduate film school at the last minute and instead jumped right into producing with a pair of pics that includes the January Jones-Lukas Haas starrer “Swedish Auto,” put together the financing for “Take Shelter,” which cost less than $5 million.

“You have to stay flexible in this business,” says the U. of Virginia alum, who has three films scheduled to lense early next year through his Low Spark Films. “You can’t be so protective of any one vision or project. Sometimes it’s the flexibility both on a creative and business level that is the difference between a film being made or not being made.”

10 PRODUCERS TO WATCH 2011
Jason Michael Berman | Borderline Films | Tyler Davidson & Sophia Lin | James Gay-Rees | Lawrence Inglee |

Red Granite Pictures | Laura Rister | Jonathan Schwartz | Diarmid Scrimshaw | Kevin Walsh

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