×

AFM: Netflix Called ‘Bravest’ by Cassian Elwes for Handling ‘Mudbound’

Veteran producer Cassian Elwes didn’t equivocate Friday on his opinion about streaming giant Netflix during a panel discussion at the American Film Market.

Netflix is the only company that would step up to buy ‘Mudbound’ at Sundance,'” he said. “They are the bravest company in the business.”

Elwes, who has credits dating back to the 1984’s “Oxford Blues,” is a producer on “Mudbound,” the period drama film directed by Dee Rees and written by Rees and Virgil Williams, based on the Hillary Jordan novel, set in rural Mississippi with World War II veterans dealing with racism. It stars Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell and Mary J. Blige. Netflix opens the film, expected to be an awards contender, on Nov. 17.

Netflix has created a major disruption in the world of independent filmmaking with its planned spending on content — $6 billion this year and $7 billion next year.

Elwes, speaking at the AFM’s Finance Conference at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, stressed that producers need to possess passion to get projects made.

“When I read the script for ‘Mudbound,’ I started crying,” he said. “Your passion has to be unbelievably immense to get a movie made. It’s always been difficult to make movies and it’s not a business for people with thin skins.”

Elwes had two major pieces of advice for the capacity crowd, which numbered about 700: get a good script and be prepared.

“I’ve never seen a great movie from a terrible script; I have seen terrible movies from great scripts,” he said. “Every single question you’re going to be asked, you have to have the answer.”

Elwes, whose credits include “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Billionaire Boys Club,” was interviewed by Wayne Marc  Godfrey of financier The Fyzz Facility. He joked that he’s worked in Hollywood for so long that he’s lost his British accent but became serious on the issue of sexual assault, spurred by multiple allegations of scandalous behavior by Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and James Toback.

“There’s a lot of bad behavior in Hollywood and it’s coming to an end,” he declared to applause. “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

Earlier, a panel called The Future of Global Film Finance offered a mixed outlook and expressed relief over Chinese box office hit “Wolf Warrior 2,” which has generated $900 million in ticket sales. Alexis Garcia, partner at Endeavor Content, noted that the film carried significant participation from Hollywood players such as Joe and Anthony Russo.

“Before ‘Wolf Warrior 2,’ Chinese box office was flat,” noted Garcia, partner at Endeavor Content. “It made a difference that the project had a lot of Hollywood creative input.”

The remarks came with North American box office lagging 5% during 2017. SKE President John Penotti told the audience that his company is re-directing its spending.

“The theatrical experience is vibrant in Asia; people are going to theaters a lot” said Penotti. “We are consciously reducing the amount of money that we are spending in the States.”

.

 

More Film

  • Mid 90s

    Jonah Hill's 'mid90s,' Pauline Kael Documentary to Screen in Berlin's Panorama Section

    Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, “mid90s,” about a 13-year-old skateboarder’s coming of age, and a documentary on influential film critic Pauline Kael are among the works that will screen in the Panorama section of the upcoming Berlin Film Festival. Films starring Tilda Swinton and Jamie Bell and titles from countries including Israel, Brazil and Japan were [...]

  • 'Your Name' Director Makoto Shinkai Readies

    ‘Your Name' Director Makoto Shinkai Readies 'Weathering'

    Three years after the animation “Your Name” began its long triumphant reign over the Japanese and international box office, its director Makoto Shinkai has announced his next animated feature. Titled “Weathering With You,” the film will arrive in theaters in Japan on July 19 of next year, with Toho distributing. Set in a world where [...]

  • Berlin: The Match Factory Boards New

    Berlin: The Match Factory Boards Competition Titles From Fatih Akin, Emin Alper (EXCLUSIVE)

    German indie powerhouse The Match Factory will handle world sales on two Berlin Film Festival competition titles: German director Fatih Akin’s serial-killer chiller “The Golden Glove” and Turkish director Emin Alper’s family drama “A Tale of Three Sisters.”  Akin, a Hamburg native whose “Head-On” won the Golden Bear in 2004, is returning to the Berlinale [...]

  • First-Look Image Revealed for ‘Monday,’ Starring

    First-Look Image Revealed for ‘Monday,’ Starring ‘Captain America’s’ Sebastian Stan

    The first-look image from Greek director Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ “Monday,” starring Sebastian Stan – best known for “I, Tonya” and the “Captain America” movies – and “Colette’s” Denise Gough, has been released. Protagonist Pictures will launch international sales on the pic in Berlin. “Monday” follows the story of Mickey (Stan) and Chloe (Gough), two Americans in [...]

  • The Wedding

    Film Review: 'The Wedding'

    Two considerations need to exist side by side when discussing “The Wedding,” the debut feature of Egyptian-American multihyphenate Sam Abbas. One involves the film itself, a dull slice of Lower Manhattan mumblecore about a heterosexual New York couple fitfully planning their wedding until she discovers his gay dalliance. The other, getting the lion’s share of [...]

  • The Best Gifts For Film Buffs

    Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Gifts For Film Buffs

    Whether you know a film buff who needs to upgrade their collection, or you just want to upgrade your movie nights at home, here are eight gifts that will cast your favorite flicks in a whole new light. 1. Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema: The Criterion Collection Thirty-nine films from the legendary Swedish filmmaker are collected in [...]

  • Ansel Elgort The Great High School

    Film News Roundup: Ansel Elgort to Star in 'The Great High School Imposter'

    In today’s film news roundup, Ansel Elgort is going to high school, “Rockaway” gets a release, and “Suspiria” producer Bradley Fischer is honored. CASTING Ansel Elgort has come aboard to star in the drama “The Great High School Imposter” for Participant Media and Condé Nast Entertainment. The project is based on a Daniel Riley GQ [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content