A week before the Sundance Film Festival gets under way, sales agent Kevin Iwashina and producer Ross Dinerstein have closed financing on an overhead and development fund for their new company, Parlay Media. As 50/50 managing partners and co-owners, the dealmaker and filmmaker have set up shop at new offices in Santa Monica. While both men come from the independent film sector, Iwashina is a former CAA agent, while Dinerstein has produced a number of low-budget films. "Our skill sets and Rolodexes are complementary," says Iwashina. "Our combined experience will be the foundation of our company."
Iwashina is president of Parlay’s media consultancy division, IP Advisors, the film sales side of the company. He will continue to rep films, raise financing and advise on distribution. After ten years in the indie division at CAA, Iwashina recently founded and ran The General Media Company, a film and TV sales, production and financing company. He repped Polanski: Wanted and Desired, Man on Wire, Valentino: The Last Emperor, Food Inc. and Humpday with Submarine's Josh Braun. He started his career in the mailroom at the United Talent Agency.
He’s taking three films to Sundance: dramatic competition film Lovers of Hate, produced by Mark and Jay Duplass, and two docs, Life 2.0, about Second Life, and 8: The Mormon Proposition, which he is co-repping with WME. Iwashina hopes to work cooperatively with agencies repping independent filmmakers, in the same space occupied by Submarine and Cinetic Media. UPDATE: Iwashina has added another doc, Climate Refugees to his slate, which he will co-rep with UTA's Rena Ronson.
Dinerstein is president of the company’s content side, Parlay Entertainment, which will develop and produce film and TV projects. Dinerstein was president of feature and TV production company Flame Ventures, which produced The Big Bang starred Antonio Banderas. As managing partner of Eleven Eleven Films, Dinerstein produced and helped to finance seven indie features, including Sundance 2009 premiere The Killing Room. He began his career as an acquisition exec at Miramax Films.
The two men were brought together at the last American Film Market by a mutual colleague, a financeer. “We shared a sense of where the film business is going,” says Iwashina. "There's a need for product as less movies are getting made, and the economics of the market are making more acting talent available. They want to get to work."
"There's an opportunity to make high-quality low-budget films," says Dinerstein, who plans to produce two to three films a year in the $5 to 10 million range, "with good production values, high-level cast and directors."
Creative executive Trace Sheehan also joins Parlay as head of development. He and Dinerstein both worked for Tony Krantz.