By Jay A. Fernandez | Indiewire January 16, 2013 at 4:31PM
For most Sundance Film Festival die-hards, the heads of the major agencies’ sales divisions are well known, even if they spend most of their days tucked into dark corners with phones jammed to both ears and their nights sequestered in condos eating stale popcorn until 4 am.
UTA Independent Film Group’s Rich Klubeck and Rena Ronson, WME Global’s Graham Taylor, ICM Partners’ Jessica Lacy, Preferred Content’s Kevin Iwashina, Paradigm’s Ben Weiss, Submarine Entertainment’s Josh Braun, CAA’s Roeg Sutherland and Micah Green — these are the pros that artfully deliver the filmmakers and their films to the eager buyers promising utmost devotion to their release and sizable fees for the privilege. Most have been doing it a long time, and doing it well, even if the occasional crossed wires and mixed signals scuttle a deal. Their expertise, work ethic and creativity have played an essential part in supporting the best of independent film, nurturing those projects and artists, and making sure they find a grateful audience.
But enough about them.
Who are the hardworking young agents under them training to become the next generation of key dealmakers? You wouldn’t know it necessarily, but they are in every meeting, corralling buyers in the snow, taking part in negotiations — even making late-night snacks at the house to rally the troops. They have their own vast array of tastes, backgrounds, talents and ambitions. And you may need them sooner than you think.
So with Sundance 2013 launching Thursday, Jan. 17, Indiewire has decided to showcase a handful of the most promising as determined by those in the know at the top levels of the agencies. And since we’ve included photos, now you’ll now who to corner in the Yarrow Hotel lobby for that five-minute on-the-fly Q&A that may just give you the insight you need to clear the next hurdle in your filmmaking journey.
Education: Boston University, B.S. Film Studies
Career background: I was an assistant to Cassian Elwes at William Morris then moved to CAA’s Film Finance and Sales Group. I am currently an Agent Trainee and work with the agents and executives within the department to help package, arrange financing for motion picture projects and sell finished films.
Agency tenure: I joined CAA in April 2011 in the Film Finance and Sales Group then was promoted into CAA’s Agent Trainee program in February of 2012.
Ambitions: My goal is to continue to help sell independently financed, commercial films; be involved in the creation of film financing and production companies; and help filmmakers realize their dreams by identifying opportunities for them.
Filmmaking and filmmakers that inspire you: Filmmakers who can be explosive and edgy but also direct films for a more commercial audience, or emerging filmmakers who want to channel their creative energy into bigger projects.
What you spend your time doing at Sundance: Helping to sell films, identify new talent and service clients.
What young or new filmmakers could learn from you in a five-minute conversation on the street in Park City: Ways to best leverage a Sundance film into a new project and guidance on how to navigate agencies to find the right talent for a project.
Best/most useful thing learned from those above you: Always think three steps ahead. Consider each film within the context of the larger market and be nimble in your strategy.