10 Producers to Watch 2012: Sebastian Dungan & Jen Chaiken
Sebastian Dungan and Jen Chaiken spent the past year overseeing two major projects simultaneously — the adult comedy “Afternoon Delight,” starring Juno Temple, Jane Lynch and Josh Radnor, and the documentary “Inequality for All,” with Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton.
” ‘Delight’ shot in L.A. while the documentary shot in the Bay Area and many other places,” Chaiken says, “but that’s the nature of this job.”
Adds Dungan: “We suddenly had to pull the trigger on a very tight Sundance schedule for ‘Delight’ when we were already in production on the other film, and we were like, ‘Can we actually pull this off?'”
The duo did, and now both films are headed to Sundance. The pair founded 72 Productions five years ago and take a very hands-on approach to film producing.
“We love being involved in every aspect, from finding the money and being creative to overseeing projects from beginning to end,” says Chaiken, who won an Emmy for documentary for HBO’s “My Flesh and Blood.” It also won audience and director awards at Sundance. “We never come on to a project halfway through or at the tail end. The part we really enjoy is development through delivery.”
Their well-oiled partnership functions, “very naturally,” says Dungan, who previously worked at Paramount Pictures and at Warner Bros.-based Witt-Thomas Films before joining forces with Chaiken, a fellow Yale graduate.
Perhaps surprisingly, however, Dungan and Chaiken do not always see eye-to-eye. “I think an interesting part of our working dynamic is that we have no problem disagreeing and our directors are often amused by that,” she says. “But we love to argue and challenge each other.”
The duo has several other projects in development, including “The Perfect Hour” (a period piece about Edith Wharton), “Good Grief” (a romantic dramedy), “Emergency Contact” (a broad adventure buddy comedy), “Deadlocke” (adapted from a graphic novel) and “Combustion” (a noir thriller).
“We don’t like to work in any one genre,” sums up Chaiken. Adds Dungan, “That way we keep it fresh and interesting for us.”