Visit Films’ founder Ryan Kampe has announced that he will back a new project incubator called Pretty ____ Ideas (the underscore representing the fill-in the blank possibilities of a film). The company will be one of the first of its kind to operate as a commercial film incubator. Pretty ___ Ideas will enter projects at pitch, treatment or first draft stage and work with filmmakers through the life of their project.
“The origin of this was that we realized that there were a lot of filmmakers we want to work with who have to take a commercial job, or they have to take another project as a DP or an editor, instead of sitting down to write,” said Kampe in a recent interview with IndieWire.
Pretty ____ Ideas will give filmmakers financial support to cover cost of living expenses so they have time to be creative. Based on previous experiences with filmmakers, Kampe doesn’t want them to be forced into making poor decisions that sometimes comes from accepting investor’s money too early in the process.
“We want them to create without somebody’s investment being so big that they would be pressuring them on very hard deadlines or pressuring them to just get a product out as opposed to making the film they really want to make,” said Kampe.
However, Pretty ____ Ideas is not a non-profit. Kampe’s Visit Films are top indie sales agents known for representing films being sold at festivals. Kampe’s motivation for creating the incubator is to make Visit’s slate of films stronger. By incubating his favorite indie filmmakers from making compromising decisions early and protecting their process, Kampe believes the films will be a stronger product for him to bring to the market. Typically, sales agent representing a film comes aboard in the weeks leading up to a festival premiere which, according to Kampe, hurts the film’s marketability because it’s too late for him to help in positioning the film.
“We learned that because we have a commitment to these films for eight to twelve years, we’ve had to learn how to monetize them over time and therefore it would help to take long-term view from the beginning,” said Kampe. “It’s little and big stuff. We need to make sure we have the images for a poster. We need enough material for a trailer. We need to cut a teaser. This is the day we have to start talking to Sundance, Tribeca, or Venice.”
He added, “It’s that cohesive approach to looking at the marketing, distribution, and festival life of a film that when a producer or filmmaker is putting together a project on their own, they don’t really have that person who does that. Most just blindly trust one of the talent agencies to do that for them later in the process once that agency has some sort of investment in the film, whether it through a financing or a client.”
Another void Kampe is hoping Pretty ____ Ideas can fill is development support. The company will support filmmakers in casting, give notes and discussing any other hypotheticals. The goal, once again, is for this advice to be motivated by what is best for the project, rather than by an investor.
To oversee development, Jennifer Sperber has been tapped to run Pretty ___ Ideas following her recent departure from The Weinstein Company. While with The Weinstein Company, she contributed to critically acclaimed films like John Carney’s “Sing Street” and Academy Award winners like “The Imitation Game.” Sperber will be responsible for acquiring and managing the company’s projects while liaising with filmmakers, financiers, sales agents and festivals.
Before launching officially launching Pretty ____ Ideas, Visit tested the model on Sophia Takal’s “Always Shine,” starring Mackenzie Davis (“Halt and Catch Fire”), which will have its U.S. release by Oscilloscope Laboratories in December and was acquired for all other territories by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions.
“We’ve known Sophia for a long time and really admired her work and the project came to us at an earlier stage, so we tested our model with this film,” said Kampe. “We were able to help Sophia in really specific ways and the results were amazing.”
Pretty ____ Ideas will take over the management of some projects launched at Visit, including Irish prison break thriller “Maze.” Currently in postproduction, the film has already been picked up by StudioCanal in the UK and NonStop Entertainment in Scandinavia.