NEW YORK — Two years ago, Goldcrest exec director Nick Quested and his board of directors took a hard look at the global entertainment marketplace and the opportunities their 35-year-old production and financing outfit had to offer.
“The business is very fractured at the moment, and there are very few companies that offer producers more than one element in the value chain,” Quested says. “We didn’t want to sit as a library and post company and watch the other kids play. We’re a well-financed organization, we had all the pieces to move forward, and felt we had (the right plan) to build a better mousetrap.”
This year’s Tribeca Film Festival gave the company, with offices in New York and London, the stage it needed to spotlight its revamped commitment to foreign sales and production. Goldcrest boasted four world preems on its Tribeca slate, as Quested expands the company’s production and international presales divisions in time for the Cannes market. Those components are key parts of his strategy to turn Goldcrest into a one-stop shop for financing, production, post-production and sales.
“We’re looking to present a vertically integrated solution for filmmakers,” says Quested, who runs the company with chairman John Quested, his father. Goldcrest launched a TV arm in April at MIP, and runs post houses in New York and London.
Goldcrest’s Tribeca sales slate included the Abbie Cornish-toplined illegal immigration drama “The Girl” (with the company providing financing, production supervision and post-production) and the Iraqi refugee doc “The List” (also financed and post-produced inhouse). The period Brit romantic comedy “Cheerful Weather for the Wedding,” and the firefighter docu “Burn,” from thesp-turned-exec producer Denis Leary are also part of its lineup.
Over the past 18 months, the Questeds have restructured Goldcrest to focus on six areas: the exploitation of its more than 130-title library (including pics like “Gandhi” to its biggest hit, “All Dogs Go to Heaven”); international film sales (Goldcrest Films Intl.); television production (Goldcrest Films’ TV arm); film development and production (Goldcrest Features); and financing (Goldcrest Pictures and Goldcrest Capital Partners), and post-production.
Goldcrest’s 60 Gotham and London-based staffers include film finance topper Robert Jolliffe, production chief Gretchen McGowan and TV topper Christina Willoughby.
“We’re involved in every aspect of the business, which gives us an advantage over other sales companies,” Nick Quested says. “We can help bring both senior debt and equity financing to films, (and) we can discount foreign sales contracts. (Our) approach to extracting value from projects is active from first-run theatrical through TV sales.”
He adds that Goldcrest can potentially bond smaller films and guarantee delivery, because it supervises production and post.
Quested aims to shepherd narrative films and docs with budgets of up to $15 million, and to enter most projects at the script stage with key cast attached. The expansion in this area marks a shift in direction for Goldcrest Capital Partners, Partners, which helped finance several bigger-budget projects (“Twilight,” “Tropic Thunder”) for Paramount, Summit and others. Jolliffe says the shift from big-budget features to under-$15 million film and TV projects comes from a desire to “act across the board in providing exec production, cash, post, sales and collection, which by and large rules out major studio pictures.”
Goldcrest’s financing sources include qualifying capital from external investors via the U.K.’s Enterprise Investment Scheme, a method used to back such films as “The Iron Lady” and the upcoming coming-of-age musical drama “Spike Island.”
“I think we now have a great opportunity to apply some of what we’ve done with EIS investment in feature film to larger scale international TV co-productions,” Quested says.
Having directed more than 100 musicvideos and commercials, Quested takes special interest in balancing out his narrative slate with docs. He’s now producing an untitled feature doc by Sebastian Junger (“The Perfect Storm”) on Tim Hetherington, Junger’s late “Restrepo” co-director, for HBO Documentary Films.