AFM: Dreambridge Films Keeps Eye on Indies

"What Maisie Knew"

Founder Todd J. Labarowski helped finance acclaimed indie films including 'The Kids Are All Right,' 'Bernie,' 'Eleanor Rigby'

As an aspiring North Carolina filmmaker, Dreambridge Films founder Todd J. Labarowski literally broke into the business. “I went down to Carolco Studios (in North Carolina), finagled my way past the guard and unknowingly walked into a casting director’s office,” he recalls.

Since landing that extra job on “Matlock” 21 years ago, he’s climbed the production ranks, joined the DGA and helped finance some of the most acclaimed indies in recent years: “The Kids Are All Right,” “Bernie” and the Weinstein Co. Toronto pickup “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her.” Yet he still works in the trenches on somewhat less highbrow projects, most recently doing a second a.d. gig on Cinemax’s “Banshee.”

“I’m definitely an oxymoron in the industry,” says the busy but laidback exec producer, who spends more time on sets than in his Gotham office. “It makes me a better producer when I can understand the logistics of what’s happening.”

His 2005 gig on “Roush Racing: Driver X” and other shows introduced him to NASCAR owners, drivers, oil investors and country music stars who helped him fund Dreambridge in 2008 in a way that was fortuitous. “When the financial crisis hit, all my funding was liquid capital that had nothing to do with the marketplace,” he said.

Producers Brad and Melissa Coolidge — fellow producers with Dreambridge on “What Maisie Knew” (pictured) — joined the shingle as partners in 2012, bringing in financing that helps them juggle six features at any given time, including the 2014 “The World Made Straight,” which is aiming for a Sundance berth.

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