Acquisitive Minds: Joel Pearlman

Managing director, Roadshow Film Distributors, Australia

Recent buys: “What Women Want,” “Traffic” and “Chocolat”

What prior job or experience best prepared you for film acquisitions?

“An implicit love of the medium and an ability to understand the material and what the finished product could be. The job also requires patience and tenacity because you need to go after projects with a voracious appetite.”

How would you rate the acquisitions climate?

“The current climate for Australian buyers is very challenging because of the dramatic fall of our dollar. Australia continues to be a healthy theatrical marketplace, but (the low dollar) is forcing us to be more selective and sure about the product and companies we deal with. We’re fortunate to have our agreement with Warner Bros., our output deal with New Line, and close relationships with Beacon, Miramax and Mandalay.”

What’s your advice to filmmakers vying for your attention?

“Start dialogue with us as early as possible. There is no reason to wait for Cannes before talking to us about your films. We like to have the chance to read scripts before the market.”

What’s your favorite place to screen a film?

“I don’t care where I screen films for acquisition as long as it’s in a decent environment, and preferably with an audience. The more enterprising sellers had screenings with audiences at the London Screenings, which gives us a sense of how films play.”

Which film do you wish you had picked up but didn’t?

“The Blair Witch Project.”

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