NANTUCKET — Documentary and short-film producer Dan Cogan has established New York-based production company DMC Films to move into features, with an initial slate of 10 projects, including two films in development with Casey Silver’s Universal-based shingle.
Heading the slate is “La Grande Therese,” based on Hilary Spurling’s book about Therese Humbert, a 19th century peasant girl from the French countryside who became an infamous con woman at the center of Parisian social and political life.
A screenwriter is expected to be attached in the next two weeks to the project, which was brought by Cogan to Casey Silver Prods.
Also set up with Silver’s company is “First Base,” a romantic comedy set in the world of professional baseball about a second baseman who loses the ability to throw to first.
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Project is being developed from an original pitch by Cogan and a novelist and New Yorker magazine writer who is penning the screenplay; latter intends to remain anonymous.
Given the event’s principal focus on screenwriting, Cogan chose the Nantucket Film Festival as a fitting venue to announce his new company.
“My approach to producing is all writer-based, so it’s all about finding the right writer for the right project,” he told Daily Variety. “The most important thing for me is the material and the way it’s put together.”
Cogan’s previous producer credits include “The Lifestyle,” a feature documentary about swingers distributed in 2001 by 7th Art Releasing and exec produced by James Schamus, Ted Hope and Mary Jane Skalski through Good Machine.
“The goal of the company is to do projects at all budget levels,” Cogan added. “So if a story is appropriate to do as a $20 million studio film, I want to be able to do that. But if it’s appropriate as a $250,000 digital film, I want to do that too. The slate will be eclectic both in budget and material.”
Other projects being developed inhouse at DMC include “The Scarlet Professor,” based on Barry Werth’s 2001 National Book Award nonfiction finalist about Newton Arvin, an American lit professor at Smith College in the 1940s and ’50s who was a mentor and lover of Truman Capote. Arvin’s life assumed echoes of his favorite novel, “The Scarlet Letter,” when he was outed and fired after the U.S. Postal Service discovered his stash of beefcake erotica.
Script is being written by tyro writer-director Chris Terrio, now in pre-production on “Heights” for Merchant/Ivory Prods. Terrio may also direct the Arvin feature.
DMC has two projects in development with Dennis Lee, who this month won a Student Academy Award in the drama category for his short film “Jesus Henry Christ.” These are “Straight to You,” a feature about a man coming to terms with his family after the sudden death of his mother; and “The Race of White Clothes,” a short about a father-son relationship set in a WWII South Korean POW camp.
Former Sundance Screenwriting fellow Tanya Hamilton is scripting “The Lamont Branch Project” for DMC, based on the true Cain-and-Abel story of the exonerated prisoner who served 13 years for a murder committed by his brother.
Also in the pipeline is “The Furies,” based on Janet Hobhouse’s autobiographical cult novel about a young writer’s coming of age in a family of warring women; an untitled legal thriller by novelist Josh Pashman; an untitled midlife-crisis drama from playwright Andrew Leonard; and Holocaust-themed short film “Torte Bluma.”
DMC also is developing animated television series “On Locust Street,” written and directed by Rachel Johnson, whose stop-motion animated short “The Toll Collector” was a prize winner at this year’s Berlin and Newport fests.