Neil Landau who wrote Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, the 3D animated feature Tad: The Lost Explores from Paramount which is the highest grossing animated film in Spain's history and the #1 Spanish box ofice movie of the year, is now working on its sequel and another animated feature by the same director. His latest screenplay is being produced by Cary Brokaw for Avenue Pictures (The Player, Closer, Angels in America). He is curretnly developing an original miniseries for HBO for the Russian Market and a crime drama for Sreda in Moscow.
Paula Manzanedo-Schmitt is VP of Film Finances Inc. the world leader in completion guarantees. She has been involved in more than 1,000 films and TV programs internationally and in U.S. She spoke of the various cross-cultural requisites in film production abroad.
The discussion centered around whether filmmakers could make a film without the notorioius interference of studios (they should all be so lucky as to have this problem). In other words, the panelists discussed their experiences making films with Russians and Chinese. All agreed that working abroad, and especially with international sales agents who also produce allows for greater freedom of vision (although in China the reward is writng so that China censorship does not interfere because one has written to their specifications). All agreed also that there is a certain cross-cultural divide one must discover in order to work effectively.
My suggestions for finding a way to create without corporate interferences are listed below:
** Coproduce with Canada who has the most coproduction treaties in the world, or go directly to producers or sales agents who do not rely on treaties.
** Work with international sales agents who produce international coproductions which include U.S., or with the producers of those films who now have established track records.
Take a look at Level K, Tine Klint's relatively new Danish company which is preselling films from U.K., Canada and Australia:
French sales agent Films Distribution is selling
Other French companies are doing likewise.
Celluloid Dreams is selling
SND is preselling The Love Punch an English language French comedy
Wild Bunch is selling
This very American sotry takes place in New York, 1974. Chris Pierzynski has just been released after years in prison for his part in a gangland murder. Waiting reluctantly outside the prison gates is his younger brother, FRANK, a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, and their father, who raised them alone, has always favored Chris - despite all his troubles. Frank has known this since they were kids, and it eats at him like nothing else.
It has presold to Belgium-Lumière, Scandinvia -Scanbox Entertainment, Netherlands-Lumiere, Romania-Independenta Film, Switzerland-Frenetic Films, Turkey-Codex Media, Ukraine Top Film Distribution
Global Screen (Germany) has many English language films, some originating from U.S. and English speaking countries and others from non-English speaking countries.
• No Place on Earth (The Cave) by Emmy Award winning director Janet Tobias a U.S., U.K., German co-production. the doc tells the longest recorded underground survival story in human history, when 5 Jewish families descended into a pitch black cave to escape the Nazis for 511 days.
Hungaricom Ltd (Hungary) has the English language animated comedy feature The Secret of Moonacre and Immigrants - L.A. Dolce Vita both produced by Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo, and Gabor Kalomista, a Los Angeles based company with Hungarian born principals. The synopsis of Immigrants is worth repeating: More people immigrate to America than to all other countries in the whole world combined. Why? Is it because they love hot dogs and hamburgers? Or because they want to meet Snoop Dogg or have a close encounter with Pamela Anderson? Maybe. But the real reason is – immigrants go to the U.S. to chase the American dream. Immigrants is the story of Vladislav (a Russian), and Joska (a Hungarian). Both are immigrants and best friends, living and chasing the American dream together. Vlad has a daughter, Ana, who’s adapting to life in America at the speed of light, while her dad is in complete culture shock. They stay at the Vista del Mar, an apartment complex run by an old failed actress, Greta Knight, who is always after Vlad for sexual favors. The building is home to immigrants from all over the world: Flaco, a friend from Mexico; Mr. Chea, who runs a Chinese family restaurant; Nazim, a former Pakistani nuclear scientist who drives a tour bus; and Mr. Splits, an old black pimp. We follow Vlad and Joska in their adventures… through their encounter with the American capitalist company Glut-co, through their attempt to open a Russian/Hungarian restaurant, and as their friendship is put in jeopardy when they hit the L.A. night scene. All the while Vlad is looking for a way to make a life for himself and his daughter; and Joska… well, Joska is mainly looking for women.
If Niel Landau's adventures in Russia appeal to you, but you don't have the connections there, visit Rosskino and the L.A. based Eleonora Granata Russian Film Commissioner or produce in Russia through international sales agents which were founded by Russian-Americans who know both cultures such as Aldamisa (where longtime Disney acquisitons VP Jere Hausfater is now looking for projects), 108 Media who has Myn Bala the Kazahkistan submission for Best Foreign Language Academy Award nomination is Canadian owned, or Red Sea, all of whom are Russian – American and/ or Canadian owned.
Singapore is looking for Looking for copros and Icon has stepped up to the plate with James Wan Presents House of Horrors, an English language U.S. horror film now in pre-productions. In the aftermath of a horrific massacre, lead Detective, Mark Lewis, and the police department’s psychologist, Dr. Elizabeth Klein, question a suspect for the brutal murder of five college students. This has been preselling at Cannes 2012 (Line up), AFM 2011, Cannes 2011 and Berlin EFM 2012. Directed by Javier Guttierrez, written by James Wan and Max La Bella it will be distributed in Singapore by Cathay.
British companies are also packaging and preselling U.S. films:
Content is selling American indies 96 Minutes, Hick, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House Of God by Alex Gibney
Stealth Indie (Michael Cowan) is selling two U.S. indies, Crave and The Giant Mechanical Man
Bankside has a deal with New York based Killer Films for Innocence, now in post. This thriller is a modern-gothic vampire story where a recently bereaved teenage girl finds herself the focus of everyone’s attention at her elitist private school where life is steeped in tradition and ceremony.It has been preselling this at AFM 2011 and 2012, Toronto and Cannes 2011 and it has presold to Le Pacte for France, Videovision for So. Africa, Umut Sanat Filmcilik for Turkey, Shooting Stars for UAE.
Ealing Metro is preselling
Salt is preselling Welcome to the Jungle, a U.S. comedy directed by Rob Meltzer, written by Jeff Kauffman, produced by Justin Kanew and Luillo Ruiz and starring Adam Brody, Dennis Haysbert, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kristen Schaal, Megan Boone and Rob Huebel. A group of co-workers including Chris (Adam Brody) get stranded on a desert island when their nutty teambuilding coach (Jean Claude Van Damme) is mauled by a wild cougar. in the spirit of "lost in the wilderness" comedies such as Tropic Thunder and workplace comedies like The Office, Welcome to the Jungle is a rare beast in today's market: a comedy that delivers on the laughs - both the high and the lowbrow. It has already presold to Front Row for the Middle East.
Westend is preselling Joe which will start shooting this month be delivered in 2013. It is to be directed by David Gordon Green, produced by lisa Muskat and stars Nicholas Cage. Joe is the story of a man who becomes the unlikeliest of role models to 15-year-old Gary Jones, the oldest child of a family ruled by a worthless father. Together they try to find a path to redemption and the hope for a better life in the rugged, dirty world of a small Southern town. Joe is the story of the last hold-out of the cowboy age, when it was okay to shoot up a bar room or tell a lady what to do.