By Jay A. Fernandez | Indiewire May 15, 2012 at 12:36PM
For Cannes, it's as predictable as topless sunbathers: Every year, new financing and production companies pop up in the months and weeks before the festival, ready to dive into the 12-day global market. But this spring, compared to the austerity measures of recent years, there is a near tsunami of new money preparing to flood the Croissette from outfits with global ambitions and indie-minded aesthetics. At the same time, players from China, India, Brazil and Russia are rushing to make global footprints in the Cannes forum.
While American indies remain a tough sell to foreign buyers, money is available. Agents suggest that dealmaking has been on the upswing, buyers appear eager and companies that sat out the last 18-24 months of uncertainty are starting to leave the sidelines again. There's also increasing room for VOD-rights deals, though the international market is behind the U.S. in experimenting with the format.
On the eve of the 65th edition of Cannes, Indiewire asked five of the most interesting new players to define themselves for filmmakers and distributors alike.
AR Films / Aldamisa Entertainment
Main execs: Alexander Rodnyansky / Serge and Marina Bespalov, Jere Hausfater and Nadine de Barros
Why you know them: Rodnyansky ran CTC Media; Hausfater founded Essential Entertainment and was an exec at Miramax International; De Barros was a sales and acquisitions exec at Voltage Pictures
What are you looking to do in Cannes?
“Alexander is looking for material and projects that he might want to produce for AR Films. Aldamisa is selling several films and hopes to acquire others. Among the films Aldamisa is selling are ‘Machete Kills,’ ‘Frank Miller’s Sin City: Dame to Kill For,’ ‘Jayne Mansfield’s Car,’ ‘Goat Island’ and an untitled Renny Harlin thriller, all of which are produced and financed by AR Films U.S. (The Rodriguez and Harlin movies have additional producers.)”
“Alexander has a $120 million film fund with Geyer Kosinski and, additionally, significant individual resources to finance and produce additional films. He is primarily interested in movies in the $20-30 million range.”
How many films do you plan to get involved in per year?
“Alexander is more interested in type/quality than quantity. He is looking for story-driven, filmmaker-driven projects. Could do as many as six per year if the opportunity presented itself, but only if the movies are appealing projects.”
Do you intend to focus solely on English-language pics?
“Alexander makes Russian-language movies in Russia, such as his film ‘Elena,’ which won a special jury prize in Cannes last year. He is currently producing ‘Stalingrad’ in Russia. But he is making English-language movies in America through AR Films U.S. Through A-Company, Alexander is also a financier of ‘Cloud Atlas,’ starring Tom Hanks, and ‘I, Frankenstein.’ “
What makes your company different from the dozen other new financing companies entering Cannes this year?
‘Alexander is building on a hugely successful 30-year career in Russian film and a deep set of international relationships. He also is a documentary filmmaker in his own right who is sophisticated about both the economics and the aesthetics of cinema.”
Projects moving into or in production.
Both Alexander’s AR Films U.S. and Aldamisa are partnered with Robert Rodriguez on ‘Frank Miller’s Sin City: Dame to Kill For’ and ‘Machete Kills,’ as well as the Harlin thriller, which is in post-production. The others will start shooting very soon.
Name an indie movie that you would have made.
“The King’s Speech.”