For Keith Cousins, the only lawyer with an office at last week’s American Film Market, the event was “a zoo.” Cousins runs the film practice at London-based legal firm Theodore Goddard, and this was his first AFM with a permanent base in the Loews Hotel.
“Previously we walked around with lap-tops, being reactive to events at the market, but the aim of this office is to be proactive. Instead of running around when deals are done, we try and participate in the early stages to grease the wheels,” he explained.
Clients include J& M Entertainment, IAC Films, Summit, Polygram and Ireland’s Section 35 tax shelter scheme. Deals concluded by Cousins during the week included the casting of James Spader in a $6 million Irish thriller, “Driftwood,” produced by Mary Breen-Farelly, which starts shooting later this month. Cousins arranged Section 35 financing for IAC’s $18 million “Space Truckers,” which will enable the film to raise $10 million to $12 million in Irish investment.
Cousins also represented a company looking to buy a major library and two other companies looking to sell theirs. And he spent time squiring a senior Irish civil servant, Kevin O’Driscoll, around Hollywood. Add to that the normal round of deal memos, long-form agreements and litigation. (Hot tip: If you want someone frightening to serve papers on anyone at the AFM, the Loews security guards are amenable to a bit of moonlighting.) The Cousins approach could catch on – watch out for a whole corridor full of law firms at next year’s event.