By Erin Grover | SydneysBuzz May 13, 2014 at 5:14AM
Our International Sales Agent (ISA) of the Day coverage is back again for this year's Cannes Film Festival. We will feature successful, upcoming, innovative and trailblazing agents from around the world, and cover the latest trends in sales and distribution. Beyond the numbers and deals, this segment will also share inspirational and unique stories of how these individuals have evolved and paved their way in the industry, and what they envision for the new waves in global cinema.
108 Media is a new sales company out of Toronto. Founder Abhi Rastogi sees it as "a force that opposes the standards of the film industry, redefining boundaries of what is possible and achievable." 108 Media recently acquired the worldwide sales rights for The Insect King by Priscilla Cameron and will begin selling the picture at the Cannes Film Festival. 108 is also excited to bring titles like He Never Died, which stars Henry Rollins as a punk rocker cannibal and Camera Trap, a wildlife thriller about a film crew that pursues local sightings of a rare wildcat in Nepal.
Abhi Rastogi shares some of his history, sales and more about 108's Cannes lineup:
How did you start 108 Media?
I started the company two years ago. We looked at how sales and distribution was done for the last seven or eight years, and we looked at bringing something different to the independent marketplace. And so we've tried to stick to a certain model where you can expect not so regular things.
We are doing theatrical releases in North America. We've released seven films theatrically in the last one and a half years--some of the most high profile films being Midnight's Children, based on Salman Rushdie's book, The We And The I, based on Michel Gondry. We also act as a foreign sales company, so we're very excited to introduce new projects and new voices to the international market.
What's your background?
Prior to this, I was a managing director of a company called Cinesavvy. We produced films like Frankie & Alice, starring Halle Berry; I was an executive producer on the film. Lionsgate released it last month. Prior to that, I was a distribution manager at Cinemavault, which is a Toronto based sales company.
What will 108 bring to Cannes?
We're bringing first footage from the film He Never Died, which stars Henry Rollins as a punk rocker and a cannibal who never died. This was a film that I was introduced to in September. And as a sales agent, you also get involved with packaging a lot; we were able to package the film right after TIFF in record time. We shot the film in November, so we're bringing it to Cannes.
Then we're brining this amazing, stunning chiller that was made in Nepal called Camera Trap, produced by the very high profile Steve Christian of Pinewood Pictures from the UK. It was shot all on location in Nepal last year. It's about a crew that goes to look for a snow leopard and finds something else. What's amazing is that the filmmakers have done a lot of nature related visuals. The film is stunning, visually captivating, and very realistic.
How are sales?
The sales are doing very well, because we're realistic about what the market can bear. We want to bring exciting projects, but at the same time, we are very careful of what we are requesting from our buyers and what's needed on their parts to support these films. It's more about collaboration for us. We tend to do a lot of business with the same buyers.
Some territories are more challenging than others, but that's the nature of our business. Spain is challenging--there are fewer buyers that are chasing after much higher profile content. That's because there are just not enough outlets for independent films to be released there. France has been a bit more challenging because of the home video markets collapsing there.
At the same time, we're doing very well in Asia through our Tokyo office. We tend to sell well across the board, including Germany, the UK and Italy.
More about 108 Media:
108 is an agitator – a force that opposes the standards of the film industry, redefining boundaries of what is possible and achievable.
The media industry is not what it used to be, it is untraditional and media is consumed differently, in an ever changing and increasingly diversified forms of delivery and interaction. 108 Media is as unpredictable, leading edge and flexible as today's media demands – we’re targeted, we’re quick to execute, and we give the audience what they want, where they want it, and when they want it!
The Why is the easy part, because it is required of a media company to do so or be left behind like print media. The How is the interesting part. 108 Media measures social, blog and web traffic and consumer patterns to fully understand its consumers' dynamics, location and tendencies, thereby building effective and timely strategies to maximize media exposure and consumption efficiency. Further, 108 Media controls the pipelines of delivery, creating a truly vertically integrated next-generation media company fully capable to producing, marketing, and distributing media to all major Digital VOD, Broadband VOD and Paid Cable platforms.
We cut the old mantras of advertising and media delivery and enable a truly cross-promotional and cross platform digital experience.