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LAIFF Awards First Production Grant To "Nothing Men"

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire October 9, 1998 at 2:0AM

LAIFF Awards First Production Grant To "Nothing Men"
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LAIFF Awards First Production Grant To "Nothing Men"

by Mark Rabinowitz




"Nothing Men," a script written by John Serpe and Charles Pittard has
been chosen to receive the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival's
(LAIFF) first grant under the Production Grant Program (PGP). The winner
was announced on October 6th by the non-profit Los Angeles Film
Collaborative, which produced the LAIFF. The winning script is to be
co-directed by the two authors, and produced by Nina Froriep and
Sandra Katz. The five finalists were chosen from over 400 submissions by
the Los Angeles Film Collaborative's story department and executive
committee, who submitted them to an austere panel of judges, including
NYC entertainment attorney and executive producer John Sloss;
Producer/Producer's Rep Jonathan Dana; Beau Flynn, Producer, Bandeira
Entertainment; Paramount Pictures President of Production, Michelle
Manning, and Marjorie Skouras, President of Production and Acquisitions,
The Polestar Group. In addition to the script, the jurors also reviewed
each project's support material, including budgets, schedules,
credentials of attached personnel and committed talent. For winning the
inaugural grant, the production will receive a package of goods,
services and cash to go towards production of the winning project.


The award package includes a 35mm camera package from Panavision; a
significant discount on 35mm film stock from Kodak; an additional 1/3
discount off of CFI's low-budget rates; a financial consultation from
Imperial Bank, one of the leading financiers of independent films, a
$15,000 investment from Unapix Films, and promotional support from
Variety. The money from Unapix is combined with a first-look deal with
the distributor. Should Unapix not choose to acquire the film and it is
picked up by another company, the producers are only obligated to repay
Unapix the original $15,000, with no interest. If the film ends up not
being acquired, the investment from Unapix goes un-repaid. With the
exception of the Variety promotional support (an ad announcing the
winner of the PGP) and the consultation with Imperial Bank, the cash,
goods and services will be awarded once the filmmakers raise the
remainder of the film's budget.


LAIFF Executive Director Robert Faust told indieWIRE that he was
"ecstatic" about the PGP's first cycle, adding that, all five finalists
including the winner were strong projects. In a prepared statement,
Linda Rattner, LAIFF Managing Director and Director of the PGP said,
"The [LAIFF] has spent the last five years nurturing completed films and
their makers. It was a natural step for us to create a program that
assists film from pre-production through completion." About the process
of the program itself Faust said, "It took us a little longer than we
expected, to deal with the administrative part of [the PGP]," adding
that much of the program took place during prep time for the LAIFF. In
addition, he told indieWIRE that they received many more scripts than
they had initially expected. As a result, the PGP is being reduced from
three cycles per year to two, with Faust indicating that three cycles
would simply not be manageable when added to the work required to
produce the annual film festival.


The four other finalists were
"Canvas," written and to be directed by Joe Greco, and produced by John
Ritto; "Miracle Mile," which was workshopped at the Sundance
Screenwriters Lab, was written and is to be directed by Greg Sax, and
produced by Susan Stover ("High Art"); "Oven City Freeway," written and
to be directed by Chris Isleib, and produced by Andrew Smith, and
"Plastic Jesus," written by Liane Bonin and to be directed by Pablo
Morales and produced by Diana Williams.


[The second submission cycle of the Production Grant Program closes on
December 4, 1998. All applicants are eligible to have professional
script coverage on their script returned to them. For further
information or applications on the Production Grant Program call (323)
960-9460.]


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