Cannes Film Festival 2012 - The People

BEN ROBERTS
Director, British Film Institute Fund
Roberts, who will be operating in Cannes as CEO of Protagonist Pictures for the last time, will take the reins this summer at Blighty’s biggest public-funding purse at the BFI, which has an annual budget of more than £21 million ($34 million). The exec will be taking on the challenge of an expanded role at the BFI, which will see him responsible for dishing out coin for development, production, distribution and exhibition. Many bizzers think Roberts, at 36, will be able to inject the fresh and dynamic energy the org needs as it takes shape as Blighty’s national film body.
– Diana Lodderhose

SALLY CAPLAN
M.D., eOne international sales division
Caplan was brought into the eOne fold last year to help spearhead the company’s expansion into the foreign sales arena. Based in the company’s new sales headquarters in London, Caplan will be looking for bigger and more broadly commercial films and looks set to make a splash on the Croisette this year with some fresh titles up for grabs at the market. Since her appointment, Caplan, who has worked at a variety of companies such as Icon, Momentum, PolyGram and the U.K. Film Council, has already recruited former Protagonist Pictures sales head Charlotte Van Weede to help her drive the banner forward.
– Diana Lodderhose

WILL CLARKE
CEO, Altitude Film Entertainment
Clarke first caught the industry’s attention back in 1999 when he launched U.K. distributor Optimum Releasing, which released a variety of commercial and critical successes; and forged key production relationships with Brit shingles such as Warp Films and Big Talk Prods. In 2006, Studiocanal acquired Optimum. In his new venture, Clarke will focus on production, financing and international sales and he has already recruited U.K. execs Andy Mayson, former COO at Icon Film Group and CFO of Exclusive Media, and Pathe Intl. sales expert Mike Runagall.
– Diana Lodderhose

STEPHANIE DENTON
Head of international sales and acquisitions, Indomina Releasing
Indomina acquired several films at Sundance, including “Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap,” “The Imposter” and “Filly Brown,” all of which will be on the Cannes sales slate of Denton.
Although Denton joined the company in early April, she has already used her two decades of experience to sign an international deal for “Art of Rap” that partners with U.K.-based Kaleidoscope to create a one-night theatrical release.
“It’s in an effort to collaborate and get a simultaneous worldwide event. It’s a one-night release just like a rock concert,” Denton says, adding that the theatrical rollout will follow in various territories.In the past, Indomina has been geared toward the domestic market, but Denton says it is now focused on buying worldwide rights and creating co-financing deals.
While the company’s acquisitions and sales are based in Los Angeles, its production hub is in the Dominican Republic, where construction is under way on the $40 million-plus Pinewood Indomina Studios. The facility is a 50-50 partnership with Pinewood. Not only will the endeavor give Indomina a working lot, Denton says it’s also a handy tool in negotiating deals.
“It puts us in a position to control our own destiny. As we’re looking for properties to produce and cofinance, the opportunity is there to use our own facilities.”
– Christy Grosz

DAVID GARRETT
CEO, Mister Smith Entertainment
A mere three months after ankling Summit following its merger with Lionsgate earlier this year, Garrett joined forces with German powerhouse Constantin Films to launch foreign sales and financing entity Mister Smith. Backed with Constantin’s muscle and Garrett’s sales know-how (the stalwart spent nearly two decades heading up Summit’s international sales arm), the new boutique joint venture looks certain to carve a solid place for itself in an industry laden with new sales outfits. Garrett, who had long been selling Constantin product for Summit, says,”I hadn’t anticipated doing something as quickly as this but the opportunity presented itself and it felt like a natural fit.”
– Diana Lodderhose

LEONARD GLOWINSKI
Film financier
Ex-Studiocanal and Pathe exec who structured “Alexander the Great” and “Unknown” as Euro co-productions, Glowinski launched Paris-based film financing consultancy 22h22 in March. He aims to work a two-way U.S.-Europe street, helping “U.S. companies optimize European financing and mix U.S./European talent, and European companies internationalize in financing and talent,” he says. High-powered, connected and entertaining.
– John Hopewell

ZHONG LIFANG
VP, Galloping Horse Film
China is now the world’s second biggest film market, but it is still lagging in post-production and vfx facilities and know-how.

But Zhong’s shingle, founded in 1998, recently linked up with vfx and CG giant Digital Domain to tap China’s growing demand for 3D movies and is discussing co-financing deals with Sony, Fox and Warner Bros.

Zhong is keen to appeal to a new generation in China that grew up with Hollywood pics and whose taste will define the future of the market.

“The China film industry is booming, growing 30% every year, with more films produced and new screens every year. But we don’t have (world-class) post facilities, here, so linking up with Digital Domain is about bringing top digital technology to that market,” says Zhong.
– Clifford Coonan

JUAN GORDON, ALVARO LONGORIA AND PEDRO URIOL
Morena Films
Based in Spain, production partners Gordon, Longoria and Uriol pack a large international punch having produced pics from Oliver Stone, Steven Soderbergh, Laurent Cantet and Pablo Trapero. Uriol is producing the Pastor brothers’ apocalypse thriller “The Last Days” while Morena is looking to move more into English-language filmmaking, says Longoria, and attract more shoots to Spain, offering services or co-production. “All Spain’s advantages are still here — locations, crew, talent — and more available than ever given less films are shooting,” Gordon says. Morena has two films in Cannes’ official selection: “7 Days in Havana” and “White Elephant.”
– John Hopewell

JOHN FLOCK
CEO, W2 Media
W2 Media is hitting Cannes as a buyer and seller, and is looking for bigger pictures and cast-driven theatrical projects.
Barely a year old, the North American distribution, finance and sales company is targeting about six arthouse titles per year.
The film-financing division is in the process of locking up an influx of cash that will allow for expansion. “We’ll be feeding our own business as well as helping finance other people’s projects that we’re not distributing,” he says. “We’re going to get a little more aggressive about acquiring content for the U.S. and Canada. On the international sales side, (we’re) getting in at the packaging stage, trying to help put the financing together on these $5 million to $15 million movies.”
W2 has already announced that it has worldwide rights for the Sharon Stone-starrer “Attachment” and international for “The Killing House.”
– Christy Grosz

TIM HASLAM AND HUGO GRUMBAR
Embankment Films
Haslam and Grumbar joined forces in February to launch international sales and financing outfit Embankment Films, which quickly locked a raft of pre-sales on its first title, Naomi Watts starrer “Caught in Flight.” The outfit has negotiated credit of up to $20 million with media financing firm Aver Media and aims to provide a one-stop shop for producers encompassing pre-sales, tax credit cash-flow and gap financing.
– Diana Lodderhose

PIERRE ANGE LE POGAM
Founder and prexy of Stone Angels
Since launching his Paris-based production-distribution-sales combo Stone Angels, Le Pogam, who was Luc Besson’s partner at EuropaCorp for 10 years, has built a high-profile slate that includes Olivier Dahan’s “Grace of Monaco” and Henry Hobson’s “Maggie,” plus two films in Cannes’ official selection — David Cronenberg’s competition screener “Cosmopolis,” which Stone Angels release in France; and Nabil Ayouch’s “Les Chevaux de dieu,” which Le Pogam produced and will distribute.
Le Pogam is able to deliver studio-style movies on contained budgets; he’s built strong connections within Hollywood and Gaul’s film biz.
– Elsa Keslassy

RON MANN
Topper, Films We Like
As a movie-smitten teen in 1976, Mann hitchhiked from Paris to the Cannes fest, and slept on the beach. Today this Croisette regular is a buyer of Canadian rights for prestige foreign, indie and docu fare. His Toronto-based, cinephile-focused Films We Like has released 150-plus titles since 2003, including Cannes buys “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” “Le Havre” and “Police, Adjective.” Recent Berlin highlights “Barbara,” “Tabu” and “Marina Abramovich: The Artist Is Present” are among several pics FWL opens this year.
– Jennie Punter

CHRISTIAN MERCURI
Co-president, Red Granite Intl.
Red Granite is in business with Martin Scorsese, who is attached to direct “The Wolf of Wall Street,” with Leonardo DiCaprio starring.
It’s also financing and handling foreign sales for Alex Proyas’ “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag,” though Mercuri says the film won’t be in the right place for Cannes.
Red Granite’s target is producing four to five films a year, as well as handling a handful of films on the foreign side. It’s handling international rights on Relativity’s Christian Bale starrer “Out of the Furnace,” and is selling “In Case of You” with Justin Long and Evan Rachel Wood. Mercuri says the budgets for its projects are less important than bringing high-concept mainstream films to market, adding that “Wolf” will be over $100 million.
– Christy Grosz

NICK MEYER
Co-founder, Sierra/Affinity
Meyer is reminded of his first year at Cannes every day — thanks to a 1993 poster from that festival.
“It’s a reminder of how I got to where I am,” he says. “I was an intern handing out grids that year for the festival.”
Meyer believes he owes much of his success since then to the time and insights people have provided to him, so he’s tried to do the same since then despite being in a high-pressure environment that often mandates short, quick answers.
“We’re all really lucky to do what we do,” he says.
– Dave McNary

DAN MINTZ
CEO, DMG Entertainment
Mintz, whose shingle has offices in both Beijing and L.A., will team with Walt Disney Co. China and Marvel Studios to co-produce “Iron Man 3″ in China, the first co-production of a multibillion-dollar franchise between Hollywood and China. DMG Also backed Rian Johnson’s “Looper” and has distributed Hollywood tentpoles on the Mainland, such as the “Twilight” franchise.
China is now the world’s second biggest film market, and increasingly, people are looking to China as a funding source for co-productions. DMG is overseeing a $300 million fund to bring co-prods to China; Mintz has been working in China for more than 18 years and has experience when it comes to negotiating a sometimes-tricky market. “At the end of the day, anyone trying to enter China still has to have relevance as well as strong access in the market,” says Mintz.
– Clifford Coonan

HELGE SASSE
CEO, Senator Entertainment
Senator recently joined forces with entertainment giant Bavaria Film, taking a stake in its film production division Bavaria Pictures.
Sasse is looking to attract Hollywood filmmakers and international productions to Germany. Senator and Bavaria can offer U.S. and international producers reliable partners with access to vast studio facilities and a sophisticated production infrastructure, says Sasse.
“With Bavaria, we can tell the world, also American producers, come to us if you have anything relating to Germany or Europe. Produce with us. We can do everything,” says Sasse. Senator and Bavaria are developing adaptations of Martin Suter’s bestselling novel “The Cook” and the Hermann Hesse classic “Narcissus and Goldmund.”
– Ed Meza

KIRA SAKSAGANSKAYA
Producer/co-founder, Rock Films
Saksaganskaya has produced a number films by her husband and Rock Films co-founder, Aleksey Uchitel, including “The Edge.” Rock Films has developed a reputation for encouraging debut directors, working with them to ensure their early career starts on a firm foundation. One project is Taisia Igumentseva short dramedy of life in a big city, “Road To.” The company, based in St. Petersberg and Moscow, also has “I’ll Be Around,” from Pavel Ruminov, on its slate.
– Nick Holdsworth

JOEL THIBOUT
Film investor
Thibout launched B Media Global to invest in non-French movies, while overseeing Backup Media Group’s investment funds as partner Jean-Baptiste Balbin heads up film packager Backup Films. First investments will be announced at or soon after Cannes, Thibout says. A key figure in France’s ever-more-international film financing thrust.
– John Hopewell



CHRISTOPHE VIDAL
Director, Natixis Coficine
Europe’s primo film project financier, running herd at Paris-based bank Natixis Coficine, which in 2011 lent €730 million ($949 million) to French producers and their peers in 11 other European countries, plus North America. Smart, friendly, connected and highly discerning — he needs to be — and now looking to expand into Brazil, Vidal says.
– John Hopewell




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