×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Banner lets Fido do the talking

Sales agency Joker also produces family films

For a shingle with a narrow specialty, North Vancouver-based Joker Films is certainly diverse.

As a sales agency, Joker handles up to 10 pics a year in all genres. Titles include “Suck” (Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper), “Gunless” (Paul Gross), “Daydream Nation” (Kat Dennings, Josh Lucas, Andie MacDowell) and “Defendor” (Woody Harrelson).

The company’s production side, though, has a more specific focus. According to CEO Tim Brown, Joker will produce only family films of less than $5 million about talking animals — with a particular emphasis on dogs.

“I specialize in family films because I feel that the market needs it,” says Brown. “I have young kids; I know what they want. Family films are something that kids watch over and over again; they’re something that retain value for a very long time.”

Brown lets his twins, a boy and a girl, serve as his test audience. And he enjoys watching them laugh.

“I don’t even watch the screen,” he says, “I stare at my children and watch their reaction.”

The strategy seems to be working. Joker recently pre-sold its first feature, “Vampire Dog” (with “SNL’s” Norm Macdonald) to a pack of markets, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Russia, Spain, Australia/New Zealand, Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Middle East, Latin America, and Pan Asia Pay TV.

Its next pic, “Step Dogs,” a talking-canine movie about a canine from the big city that moves in with a farm mutt, is slated to lens in spring/summer 2012 and has pre-sold to Eastern Europe, Spain, Russia, and the Middle East.

Brown, who worked with Malofilm Distribution, TVA (formally Astral Distribution), Keystone Distribution and Insight Releasing before forming Joker nearly three years ago, attributes the strong presales largely to the fact that talking-animal films don’t require star power the same way that traditional films do.

“The animal is the star,” he says.

Joker has built a team that has worked on similar projects, and it aims to use that talent consistently. “It’s crucial when you make a film like this, where animals talk, that the visual effects are perfect,” Brown says.

Brown hopes that as Joker’s production side grows, it can become as integral to the shingle’s bottom line as its sales arm.

“Normally when you’re a sales agency, you acquire films — when you’re a production company, you produce,” says Brown, “Joker does both.”

More Film

  • Sir Lionel Frost (left) voiced by

    Why 'Missing Link's' Title Character Was One of Laika's Biggest Challenges

    Stop-motion studio Laika pushes design boundaries in every film it makes, and the lead character in “Missing Link” is no exception. “It became pretty apparent that [the character] Link was going to be the cornerstone,” says director and writer Chris Butler. “I did this rough drawing many years ago, and it was basically like a [...]

  • null

    In Its Ninth Year, Arte Careyes Film Festival Promotes Rising Latin American Talent

    Careyes, Mexico, a strip of bohemian, palm tree-laden paradise perched along a remote strip of the Pacific coast, is the sort of place creative types dream about, with balmy ocean breezes, bright blue skies and a network of surrounding villages lined with cobblestone walkways and the sound of tropical birds chirping overhead. Arte Careyes, a [...]

  • Regina KingNational Board of Review Awards

    National Board of Review Awards Sets 2020 Date

    The National Board of Review’s 2020 film awards gala will take place on Jan. 8, 2020. NBR also announced that MSNBC’s Willie Geist will return as host for his sixth consecutive year. The gala will be held at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. Started in 1909, the New York-based National Board of Review hands [...]

  • Jeff Wadlow'Truth or Dare' film premiere,

    'Danger Girl' Movie Draws 'Truth or Dare' Director Jeff Wadlow

    “Truth or Dare” director Jeff Wadlow has come on board to helm “Danger Girl,” an action-adventure for Constantin Film. Wadlow, who is in production on Sony’s “Fantasy Island” movie, will also perform rewrites on the script. Umair Aleem wrote the initial drafts, based on the female-team comic book series “Danger Girl,” created by J. Scott [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    New 3D-Printing Technology Was 'Missing Link' for Laika's Latest Stop-Motion Project

    For the upcoming animated comedy adventure “Missing Link,” stop-motion studio Laika set the bar very high. To execute the designs created by director and writer Chris Butler, artists would have to speed up their 3D printing of character faces — and those faces would have to be the most complex they’d ever created. “Missing Link” [...]

  • Unreal Unveils Astounding Real-Time Cinematic Tech

    Unreal Unveils Astounding Real-Time Cinematic Tech Demo 'Troll' (Watch)

    It took just a few months for the team at Goodbye Kansas Studios to create a stunning cinematic short demo called “Troll” using the latest version of Unreal Engine. The short, directed and written by Deep Forest Films’ Björne Larson, shows a princess playing with a trio of fiery sprites before they’re scared away by [...]

  • Leslie Odom Jr.Victoria's Secret Fashion Show,

    'Hamilton' Star Leslie Odom Jr. Joins 'Sopranos' Prequel 'Many Saints of Newark'

    “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. has joined “The Many Saints of Newark,” the prequel movie to the television series “The Sopranos.” Odom Jr. will play an unspecified role in the movie, which will open on Sept. 25, 2020. Alan Taylor is directing the movie for New Line. The previously announced cast includes Cory Stoll, Billy [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content