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10 Producers to Watch: Ken Kao

Taking a gander at Kao’s IMDb page, one notices a brief, six-title list of films he’s produced. But look a bit more closely, and Kao’s past and upcoming production credits rep a rather imposing collection of cinema’s most renowned auteurs, from Martin Scorsese (“Silence”) to Gus Van Sant (“Sea of Trees”), Terrence Malick (“Knight of Cups” and another untitled project), and Oren Moverman (2011’s “Rampart”).

So what is it about this young producer that inspires such trust from helmers who’ve seen it all?

“Well, I’d be interested in hearing what they have to say,” he says. “I think it’s that we have a real personal relationship. As cliched as it might sound, it’s always people first. Outsiders tend to have a really glamorous idea of what filmmaking may be, and people in the industry sometimes have this really Byzantine view of what we do, which is an attitude I don’t understand. For me, at the core of it, it’s always about relationships, and respecting people and the art.”

In addition to his Waypoint Entertainment shingle, Kao also launched his own sales, distribution and financing company, Bloom, with former

Exclusive Media president of international sales Alex Walton last spring, and personal relationships were at the heart of that venture as well.

“Sales agents, they’re almost like unicorns,” he laughs. “A good, reputable one just doesn’t come up that often. And in this case, Alex and I had this simpatico that I didn’t necessarily have with others.

“And as I continue to have more projects, especially in the indie space, since I had the capability and the desire, it made sense to have a company like this to support them.”

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