×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Annapurna’s Ellison a patron of the auteur

American Film Market 2011: Preview - Annapurna Prods.

In Sanskrit Annapurna is an incarnation of the Hindu mother goddess, who fills the world with food; in Hollywood, the name evokes much-needed financial nourishment supplied to the industry by producer-financier Megan Ellison.

In less than two years, Ellison’s Annapurna Prods. has become one of the most sought-after backers in the business, supplying the market with several auspicious projects, from Kathryn Bigelow’s new military thriller to a reboot of the “Terminator” franchise to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Scientology-inspired drama.

With high-end auteurs attracting A-list casts (Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Philip Seymour Hoffman), the films are hot commodities not just in the U.S. market, but globally, where name director-driven projects are especially coveted.

At AFM, a number of foreign sales companies will be closing deals on Annapurna pics. FilmNation has only a few territories left on John Hillcoat’s bootlegging drama “The Wettest County,” while the Weinstein Co. hopes to close deals on the Anderson film, currently in post-production. TWC won’t show footage yet, according to chief operating officer David Glasser, but offers are already coming in.

“There’s a lot of smart money in the marketplace right now,” Glasser says. “And Annapurna is one of them. (Ellison) has incredible taste. It’s nice to deal with investors who are really clear on the product they want.”

The Weinsteins have U.S. rights to “Wettest County” as well as Annapurna’s Andrew Dominik thriller “Cogan’s Trade,” starring Pitt and Ray Liotta, for which Inferno sealed significant sales during last year’s AFM.

Because of Ellison’s access to private equity — she is the daughter of Oracle multi-billionaire Lawrence Ellison — Annapurna is uniquely positioned in the market, not needing to rely on pre-sales to trigger production. The company is also making a healthy number of pictures, so it’s not just about quality, but quantity as well.

Annapurna is said to have a number of other films in the works that have not yet been announced, but may, in fact, be further along than already hyped projects such as the Julian Assange biopic or Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze’s political satire, both in development.

Just this month, it was announced Ellison was backing a post-apocalyptic film with transmedia possibilities inspired by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi’s concept album “Rome,” to be directed by rising musicvideo helmer Chris Milk.

Ellison, herself, continues to maintain a low profile — she has never granted an interview — but insiders suggest the 25-year-old entrepreneur isn’t looking for fame, but is simply motivated to support talented filmmakers.

“I think she’s very driven specifically by directors,” says financier-producer Michael Benaroya, who worked with Ellison on “Catch 44” and “The Wettest County,” and would do so again. “I think she tends to have a larger vision of what she wants, both the projects as a whole and her slate as a whole.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Josefina-Molina

    Josefina Molina: Still Battling After All These Years

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — She isn’t done yet. The battling character of Josefina Molina, winner of Spain’s 2019 National Cinematography Prize, was glimpsed in her acceptance speech at the San Sebastian Festival on Saturday. She used part to thank those who had given crucial help, such as, among women, editors Nieves Martin (1981’s “Función de Noche,” [...]

  • Suro

    Lastor, ‘The Endless Trench’s’ Irusoin, Malmo Team for Mikel Gurrea’s ‘Suro’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Barcelona-based Lastor Media and Malmo Pictures have teamed with San Sebastian’s Irusoin to produce “Suro” (The Cork), the feature debut of Mikel Gurrea and a product of San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak program. The film stars Laia Costa, who broke through with Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria” and also serves as executive producer, and Pol López [...]

  • Ane

    Madrid’s ECAM Incubator Develops Terrorism Drama 'Ane'

    SAN SEBASTIAN — For the second year in a row, the ECAM Madrid Film School has paired a number of up-and-coming filmmakers with various industry veterans for an Incubator program part of the school broader development arm called The Screen. For its initial edition in 2018, this Incubator selected five feature projects, putting the selected [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider'

    Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider' Gets a Concert/Screening Premiere at Radio City

    In a year full of major 50th anniversary commemorations — from Woodstock to the moon landing — why not one for “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper’s hippie-biker flick that was released on July 14, 1969? That was the idea when a rep for Peter Fonda, who starred in the film as the laid-back Captain America, reached out [...]

  • Costa Gavras

    Costa-Gavras and Cast on Nationality, Identity, and Cinema

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Though he’s been based in Paris since 1955 and came up through the French film industry, director Costa-Gavras has never forgotten his roots. “Those who are born Greek,” said the Peloponnese-born filmmaker at a Saturday press conference,  “stay Greek all their lives.” The once-and-always Greek was not just in San Sebastian to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content