HDNet Films Picks First Three Projects: Drama, Comedy, and Doc
by Wendy Mitchell
Newly formed HDNet Films, headed by Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente, has greenlit its first three films to be shot in 2004. The company, which is a division of Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban's 2929 Entertainment, will aim is to produce up to eight films per year, to be shot on high def digital video for budgets of less than $2 million.
The first projects are: "Quid Pro Quo," a dark comedy written and directed by Carlos Brooks to be produced by Midge Sanford and Sarah Pillsbury ("Eight Men Out"); "Over the Mountains," a contemporary political drama written by Joseph Castelo, Ayad Stehle-Aktar, and Tom Glynn which will be produced by Glynn, Kliot, and Vicente and will star Stehle-Aktar; and "Black Magic," a documentary by Alex Gibney ("The Trials of Henry Kissinger"), based on Bethany McLean and Peter Elkin's Enron chronicle "The Smartest Guys in the Room." Gibney and Kliot will produce "Black Magic."
"Our mission with HDNet Films is to seek out a spectrum of groundbreaking projects from exciting new filmmakers, and Joana and I couldn't be happier with the people and properties we've found," Kliot said in a prepared statement, "Though we've only been up and running for a few months, we hope to have at least six movies in production by the end of our first year."
Will Battersby, HDNet Films' head of development, helped to assemble the slate; the company's head of production, Gretchen McGowan, will oversee production.
Before signing on with HDNet in late 2003, Kliot and Vicente founded Blow Up Pictures and Deutsch/Open City Films, where they have worked on such films as "Series 7," "Lovely and Amazing," "Coffee and Cigarettes," and the recent Cannes debut "The Assassination of Richard Nixon." With Deutsch/Open City, they continue to work on films of budgets over $5 million.
HDNet Films parent company 2929 Entertainment also owns Rysher Entertainment, Landmark Theaters, and Magnolia Pictures. Its other film production division, 2929 Productions, works on films with budgets of $10-30 million, including recent Section Eight co-productions "Criminal" and "The Jacket."