Ben Goldhirsh, a 25-year-old financier who started Reason Pictures last year, has four film projects in the works as well as a national magazine, Good, which will launch next spring.
Though he looks more like a junior exec than a check-writing mogul, Goldhirsh is bankrolling two ventures that seek mainstream audiences for socially relevant subject matter. The resources come from his late father, Bernie Goldhirsh, who built and sold magazines including Sail and Inc. and left his fortune to his son and daughter when he died in 2003.
The son decided to try mixing media and idealism.
“I wanted to do something good with these resources,” he said. “Media is the dominant variable for affecting change, and Hollywood enjoys a disproportionately high value within the media domain.”
Partnered with Plan B and Don Cheadle, Goldhirsh has funded development of “Marching Powder,” a drama about a drug dealer (Cheadle) in a Bolivian prison that develops its own thriving economic system (Daily Variety, May 30). Goldhirsh is a financier of Michael Apted-directed docu “The World 2006,” which follows stories on five continents, the connective thread being World Cup soccer.
Reason has announced two new projects it will bankroll. “Americas,” a collaboration between “Middle of the World” writer David Mendes and director Vicente Amorim, focuses on L.A. gang culture and immigration and border issues. “A Nation of Lords,” based on the book by David Dawley, concerns the rise and fall of Chicago’s Vice Lords gang after its leadership became a catalyst for activism in the ’60s and challenged corrupt politicos for control over the ghetto on Chicago’s South Side.
Goldhirsh’s bimonthly mag aims to give constructive behavior a “cool” stamp by focusing on people and corporations making a difference in the world.
Goldhirsh is different from most rich guys sinking their money into Hollywood films. No Reason staffer is older than 26. Goldhirsh is nevertheless confident he won’t be among the litany of millionaires who came to Hollywood with lofty ambitions and left with lightened wallets.
“I am aware of the history of people like me coming in and getting smoked, but a lot of them came with a degree of ego from previous success,” Goldhirsh said. “I have no ego; I know I haven’t earned anything I have. But I’ve got enough capital to bring two to four movies to production each year for many years to come, and I plan to be around a while.”