by Jessica Shulsinger
Media Financial, a young film financing company based in Boston, announced
that they have signed an agreement with screenwriters Doug
Cook and David Weisberg, who co-wrote "The Rock," among other well-known
Hollywood biggies, to respectively produce and direct their first
independent film, a comedy, "I Shot the Sheriff," written by Cook and
Hollywood film executive William Minot ("From the Hip," "Sudden
Death") founded Media Financial in Fall '97, alongside his partner,
producer Ari Newman ("Squeeze," "Next Stop Wonderland'). Minot had a
yearning to branch off from the L.A. studios, having worked for about two
decades at studios including MGM and Fox, with the intention of working
with talent like Cook and Weisberg in a setting outside the mainstream.
According to Katie Albert, Manager of Marketing and Creative Affairs for
the company, Minot's connection with Cook and Weisberg is the result of a
friendship developed on the West Coast. Knowing that the two wanted to
segue into directing and producing, they seemed perfect for one of Media
Financial's first projects.
The company is facing a budget of about $10 million in their first year,
and have signed on six projects slated to begin production in '98. By the
end of five years, said Albert, they intend to have a fully insured budget
of about eight times that, dedicated solely to financing independent films.
Albert notes Minot and Newman are interested in first-time as well as
established filmmakers, and that cast and budget are particular criteria
they consider before investing in a film.
"I Shot the Sheriff", has not yet announced its cast. Shooting will begin
in Fall '98 with a budget of $3-$5 million, on locales in Boston and
Northern New England.