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Los Angeles Festivals Reports for
from Lisa Murray...

Los Angeles Film Festival- June 21 through July 1, 2007-


LA Film Festival: Film Financing Conference

LAFF Finance ConferenceLAFF Finance ConferenceI wasn't able to attend the Finance Conference, but Kristina F. Jordan was and she sent in this:

Firstly, it was held in the newly opened (only three weeks old) Landmark Theatres at Pico and Westwood, which significantly elevates the theatre going experience for indie audiences.  It looks good, it feels good, and there's a cool bar where we were hosted to tasty hor d'oeuvres and drinks by American Express during the lunch break and after conference reception.

Secondly, given the changing distribution landscape, the information given was at one point characterized as a snapshot, but there was so much more that was of enduring value as well.

It opened with a Keynote panel of Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers of Little Miss Sunshine who were the original folks that found the script and worked with it thorough a series of collaborations with other producers.

The folks who attended the Basic Financing class came out feeling very educated, and I was in the Current Financing Trends with working producers who discussed the hedge fund opportunities for folks with a slate of films to offer like Michael London who has created Groundswell Films in the last couple of years making films for $5M -25M, and Trevor Macy of Intrepid Films (formerly of Propaganda Films and now making 3-5 films annually each under $30M for 1500 screen release) who explained how to put together a Package. Mali Kinberg of Mandate Films made it clear that our films don't have a chance if we don't know our markets well enough to give them a "sober, fair and harsh assessment" of their commercial viability (which relates to establishing our budget estimate) - Trevor called it a dispassionate analysis of the value of our movie, and to whom.

Mali spoke of estimating what US or overseas rights will be worth, territory by territory, and given our actors' history of performance in each of those territories.  Those estimates track records of past performance and are what's driving the finance/distributor decisions of the people who decide to pick up our script for production or film for release, where and to whom. Resources for that info includes the IFTA website, Box Office Mojo and others.

After Lunch the conference delivered a power session on the Current State of Distribution starring Landmark's own COO Ted Mundorff, who is the Head Buyer for the chain among his other duties, and who advised that filmmakers know where and how they expect to deliver their films to their audiences before they start out (he bemoaned the number of filmmakers who come to him who have waited until after post to start figuring this out and by then it's too late).  Head Honcho at Netflix Ted Sarandos who is in an unique position to acquire films that they can "algorithmically" decide will pull 100,000 viewers, and who is on the leading edge of digital download delivery of film content - even now offering 3000 free movie downloads to subscribers of their unlimited three package.  Ted sees that in the next one or two years all delivery may be downloadable.

Although all of the panelists agreed a good script is required, only two of the panelists are involved in pre-production acquisitions (Gary Rubin of First Independent Pictures and Paul Federbush of Warner Independent Pictures), and only Warner's offers world-wide distribution for their product.

The last sessions were held simultaneously.  I wanted to go to the "Monetizing Content: New Business Models" but opted for the "Financing Clinic: Packaging Step by Step" which was great because it brought up to the industry panelists filmmakers who are actively in the process of getting their monies together who are in one of FIND's programs like Fast Track.  So it was an advice session that was informational and encouraging for the rest of us.  Julie Lynn of Mockingbird Pictures seemed to be especially creative in solving the unusual problems advisees and audience members had.

All in all, it was a great day, well worth the time and money, in a great new, beautiful theatre space, where I met some great people!


Kristina F. Jordan

2 Thumbs Up Productions



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About festivalsinla

Murray Lisa
(SkyGirl Productions)

Blogging from Los Angeles:
Lisa Murray and more correspondants keep you up to date of Los Angeles film events.
Watch out for our coverage of the Los Angeles Film Festival
- June 21 through July 1, 2007-


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