NEW YORK — The Independent Film Channel will set up a division called Next Wave Films to help minuscule-budgeted movies get from rough cut to a polished final print.
“These are what the industry calls no-budget movies,” said Peter Broderick, president of Next Wave Films and a board member of the Independent Feature Project/West.
These pictures could cost anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000, and Broderick said he’s interested only in movies that are substantially completed and need funds for post-production. His mandate is to secure completion of up to four movies a year, setting up meetings with festival boards to help directors get recognition for their pictures.
In the Next Wave announcement, IFC confirmed Daily Variety’s Wednesday report that the channel will create another subsid called IFP Prods., which will come up with some of the financing for movies that cost up to $5 mil-lion.
“We’ll work with established filmmakers, and get involved right at the script stage,” said Jonathan Sehring, who’ll oversee IFC Prods. and Next Wave in his role as senior VP of programming and production for the channel. Se-hring said IFC will be able to invest as much as $2 million in a specific movie.
As reported, the first movie IFC Prods. will put money into is “Men With Guns,” directed by John Sayles. Sehring said IFC Prods. will help finance up to three movies a year.
Sehring and Broderick said movies that cost $5 million or less are getting ignored by “indie” distributors like Disney’s Miramax, Warner Bros.’ Fine Line and Sony Pictures Classics, which are increasingly producing such pictures as the $30 million “English Patient” and the $16 million “Emma.”
Kathy Dore, president of IFC, said that in exchange for putting up some of the money for these movies, the net expects eventually to own the copyrights after the producers get their deals for theatrical distribution and — if the pictures show mass-market appeal — pay-per-view and pay TV distribution.
Sehring added that IFC would get some or all of its money back if a distributor agreed to put up a guarantee to get theatrical distribution.
For the movies it has invested money in, Dore said, IFC’s parent network Bravo, which reaches 28 million subscribers through cable or satellite dishes, will run promotional spots when the movies go into theatrical release. So will IFC, which gets into about 8 million homes.
A spokeswoman for the Sundance Channel, IFC’s main competitor, said, “It wouldn’t make sense for us to establish a separate unit to produce movies, because we’re the TV arm of the Sundance Film Festival. We already have access to lots of low-budget and no-budget movies. And if we like a festival movie that fails to get a theatrical distributor, we’ll buy it and give it a world premiere on the channel.”