Jonah Smith and Palmer West

Jonah Smith and Palmer West are the indie upstarts behind Thousand Words, the New York-based outfit that produced Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream” and Richard Linklater’s “Waking Life.” (Latter will see release this year through Fox Searchlight.)

Smith and West, both 28, have made it clear that they have the capital to see their projects through to the end. In addition to co-financing “Requiem” with distributor Artisan, Thousand Words picked up half of the film’s marketing costs.

“We have private equity as well as complete jurisdiction over how that money is used,” says West. “There is no board that oversees our funding. We are the buyers, and we have the financial flexibility to help our projects find the right home.”

Thousand Words has also set aside $500,000 for a finishing fund that will help some lucky works-in-progress make their way through post. (As of yet, none of the 130-plus applicants has qualified.)

“We don’t have a mandate in terms of genre or style,” notes West. “If we decide we like something, we will figure out a way to get it made.”

Smith and West plan on shepherding two more films through production by the end of 2001, but remain tight-lipped about details. “We don’t like to spend time talking about what’s next,” says Smith. “We’d rather just make movies.”

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