Dreamworks Goes Fishing With New Specialty Film Unit
by Wendy Mitchell and Eugene Hernandez
Dreamworks SKG confirmed that it has formed a new specialty film distribution unit dubbed Go Fish. The news comes on the heels of Warner Brothers’ announcement last week that it is creating Warner Independent Pictures. The new Dreamworks distribution label will be run by Dreamworks’ disribution president Jim Tharp and the company’s current head of nontheatrical sales Joan Filippini. The move makes Dreamworks the final Hollywood studio to add a specialty distribution outfit.
The company plans limited, not national, releases for the specialty titles under the Go Fish umbrella, Jim Tharp told indieWIRE on Friday. He indicated that films that prove themselves in limited release may be expanded more widely. While Tharp didn’t specify how many titles Go Fish would release each year, he did say that the unit has set its first two films: director Satoshi Kon’s anime work “Millennium Actress,” which will hit major cities in September; and “Ghosts in the Shell II,” which will be released in spring 2004. Japanese director Kon’s follow-up to his lauded 1997 debut “Perfect Blue” is about a film producer who makes a documentary about a reclusive former actress. It won several prizes at the 2001 Fant-Asia Film Festival. “Ghosts” is also an animated work.
During the conversation with indieWIRE, Tharp explained that the company’s in-house team regulary screens a number of new films for potential acquisition each week. He said that there are no plans to expand the company staff to handle the Go Fish title but added that the team will begin to search for films at festivals more aggressively.
Go Fish will give niche projects a home at Dreamworks alongside the numerous high-profile national releases, including “Shrek 2”; the Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx vehicle “Collateral”; Cameron Crowe’s “Elizabethtown,” the Ben Affleck holiday tale “Surviving Christmas,” and “Gladiator 2.”
Producer and director Steven Spielberg, former Disney film executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, and music industry vet David Geffen formed Dreamworks SKG in 1994. The company creates live action and animated films, TV programs, home video products, records, books, tapes, toys, and consumer products.