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ISA of the Day: Michael Fister of Angel Grace

ISA of the Day: Michael Fister of Angel Grace

Our
International Sales Agent (ISA) of the Day coverage resumed for this year’s
Cannes Film Festival. We feature successful, upcoming, innovative and
trailblazing agents from around the world (during and after the festival) 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.  
 

Angel Grace Productions is
based in Los Angeles, and was created with over night inspiration by Michael
Fister, who has 22 years of experience in the film industry. His interest in
international film sales and distribution is also influenced by his experience
growing up around the world. 

The Angel Grace VP of
Acquisitions Linda Posivak notes, “One thing that sets Michael apart from
many, is that it’s not just a job. It’s his passion. He knows in his heart that
this is where he should be. He feels and breathes it. It’s more than just a job
to him.” 

Michael has kicked off the
Angel Grace slate with the Nora Ephron prizewinner “Farah Goes Bang” by Meera Menon, and “Conspiracy
of Silence”
 (by John Deery) starring Academy Award winner Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot), and
Golden Globe nominee Hugh Bonneville (Downtown Abbey).
Angel Grace is quickly expanding and will go from acquisitions to
productions later this year. 

Michael talks about how he
started Angel Grace and more about his drive to share meaningful films:

How did you start Angel Grace?

I worked as an executive at
ABC and Turner Pictures. I caught the festival and market bug back then, but
went on a detour for several years, working on the creative agency side with
the studios (doing one sheets and trailers). A few years ago, I realized I was
really missing the craziness and excitement of festivals and markets, so I got
my toes wet and came back to Cannes. I knew this was what I was supposed to be
doing.

I’ve been doing this work
through various ways and means, but it was really just less than a year ago
when I woke up in the middle of the night and realized I needed to do this on
my own. Then then one day I just said, “I’m going to Berlin!” Within
24 hours, I had both of my films; 24 hours, I’m not kidding! Obviously, I had
met the filmmakers prior (and the films were on my radar) but I just picked up
the phone, called them and it all fell into place. It’s great, and I’m happy to
be here.

Please talk about the Angel Grace slate.

I brought two films to
Cannes. One is “Farah Goes Bang”, which had just won the Nora Ephron prize at the Tribeca Film
Festival. It’s a fun and sweet “girl road comedy”. The girls are best
friends, and they’re on the road campaigning for John Kerry. Two of the girls
are also trying to get the third girl to lose her virginity during the road
trip. The fact that it won the esteemed Norah Ephron prize says a lot, and you
immediately know that it’s not tacky or sleazy. Instead, it’s witty, funny and
very sweet. 

The second film is “Conspiracy of Silence”, with Academy Award winner Brenda Fricker, and Hugh Bonneville
from Downtown Abbey. It was actually Chris O’Dowd’s film debut. It’s an older thriller
that never got the release it deserved. It partially deals with things that
have gone on in the Catholic Church. I had been talking to the director about his
newer projects, and then I saw this film as a sample of his work and fell in
love with it. It won a National Board of Review Award, and a few nominations at
the Irish Film and Television Awards including Best Director. It’s a powerful
movie that is actually more relevant in today’s society than when it was made. 

Clearly, I’m not afraid of
difficult films!

What do you consider when choosing films for Angel
Grace?
 

I go with my gut feeling
when I choose films, and gravitate more toward festival films, which tend to be
more director or cast driven. It’s really the niche that we’ll stay in.

I’m open to most genres; although
I’m not interested in things like horror or slasher movies, especially with a
name like Angel Grace. I’m open to anything that’s good, and I want to put
positivity out there through the films that we choose. 

Personally and professionally
speaking, I tend to lean more towards drama, art house, and poignant films.  There are a lot of movies out there at
festivals that deserve to be seen. Hopefully, I can help those films that would
otherwise get lost in the shuffle–that’s when I really feel I’m accomplishing
something.
 

Aside from the business, why do you do this work?

Other than Tribeca, “Farah
Goes Bang”
 
has won several other festivals over the past few
months.  Women in the audience are
actually saying they are finding their voice in this movie, and in this
character of Farah. That means something, and I think it’s important to share
films that can impact people’s lives like that.
 

Learn more about the Angel
Grace Productions films here.
 

More about Angel Grace Productions:

Founded in 2013 by veteran film marketing
executive Michael Fister, Angel Grace Productions (AGP) acquires and sells all
rights with a focus on festival-driven feature films. Our business model is
simple:  “We only work on
films we truly care about.”

This Article is related to: Interviews