Amazon Studios is bringing three award-winning indie production companies into the fold.
The company has signed exclusive first-look deals with Bona Fide Productions, Killer Films and Le Grisbi Productions, Variety has learned. The pacts put the streaming giant in business with the makers of such film classics as “Birdman” and “Far From Heaven.” They come just two weeks before the Cannes Film Festival where Amazon will be on hand to premiere Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck,” which Killer Films produced, and Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here.”
Bona Fide Productions is backed by Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa. The company is working with Amazon on Marc Webb’s “The Only Living Boy in New York,” a drama with Jeff Bridges, Callum Turner and Kate Beckinsale. Its credits include “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Nebraska.”
Killer Films is the label of veteran producers Christine Vachon (pictured) and Pamela Koffler. In addition to “Wonderstruck,” which stars Julianne Moore, the company has produced “Still Alice,” “Carol,” and “Wiener-Dog” (an Amazon acquisition out of 2016’s Sundance Film Festival). The company also produced “Z: The Beginning of Everything,” a biography series about Zelda Fitzgerald, for Amazon’s original series arm.
Bona Fide Productions will have a first look deal and Killer Films will have an exclusive first-look deal in both film and television for two years.
Le Grisbi Productions is the shingle of John Lesher. Its credits include “Fury,” “Black Mass,” and “Birdman.” Upcoming releases include Scott Cooper’s “Hostiles,” a Western with Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike, and “White Boy Rick,” a crime drama with Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The company will have an exclusive first-look deal for any “indie-sized” films it is making. The pact runs for two years.
Amazon has only been releasing movies theatrically for a little over a year, but it’s already made a splash, picking up three Oscars this year for “Manchester by the Sea” and “The Salesman,” as well as releasing movies from the likes of Woody Allen and Spike Lee. The deals are a sign that Amazon is increasingly interested in getting involved in films from their inception as opposed to simply acquiring completed films on the festival circuit. It’s also a signal of the company’s big ambitions. Like major studios, which routinely hand out production deals, it wants to forge enduring business relationships with top talent.
“Bona Fide Productions, Killer Films and Le Grisbi Productions each have a long history of making critically acclaimed and award-winning films with accomplished filmmakers,” said Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios in a statement. “We’re proud to be working with each of them and excited about our future creative collaborations.”