“I never stopped to consider the idea of a learning curve. If I had, I probably wouldn’t be doing this right now,” says Robert Nathan, an attorney-turned-producer who this year saw two of his films compete at the Sundance Film Festival and has one of them at Cannes.
Only three years ago, Nathan was enjoying a comfortable, if uneventful, career as a litigator for a well-respected San Francisco law firm when filmmaker friends David Siegel and Scott McGehee approach him with the idea of starting a production company.
They launched i5 Films in 1999, and since then, Nathan has gone from filmmaking novice to seasoned indie producer and Park City darling. After debuting at Sundance 2000 with Mark Gibson’s “Lush,” i5 returned in 2001 with Siegel and McGehee’s “The Deep End,” and Patrick Stettner’s “The Business of Strangers,” both of which screened in competition.
And now “The Deep End,” which was picked up by Fox Searchlight in January, has been selected to screen in the Directors Fortnight program at Cannes. “The Business of Strangers,” which will go out Stateside via IFC Films, will be pursuing international deals at the Cannes market.
“For me, independent film means more than making movies without studio money,” says Nathan. “There is a value to working and thinking outside the mainstream.”