MISTER SMITH ENTERTAINMENT
Key execs: David Garrett and Ralpho Borgos
Why you know them: Garrett co-founded Summit Entertainment and ran Summit International; Borgos was also a Summit exec.
What does the name of the company mean, and how does it define your approach to filmmaking and film-funding?
“The name Mister Smith was initially inspired by Capra’s film ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’ but it has so many other resonances and associations with film. I think it brings a nice combination of conservative and cool — like a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. It is a name that tells a thousand stories, but I hope it is also distinctive and memorable, and easy for people from all over the world to pronounce!”
“I have so many goals down in Cannes, including — not least — selling my very first new films with my nascent venture. But I am also keen to introduce my new company to the world at large and forge new alliances with producers and financiers who might be interested in coming along for the ride.”
How much money do you have to work with?
“The company is so young that this is something of a moving feast right now. But I can say that it is enough to fuel our five-year plan.”
How many films do you plan to get involved in per year?
“My plans are relatively modest in that I am looking to bring roughly 6-8 films to the market each year.”
Do you intend to focus solely on English-language pics?
“Yes, but I would never rule out something in another tongue — or a silent film, of course!”
What makes your company different from the dozen other new financing companies entering Cannes this year?
“I think that, first and foremost, each company is about the people who make up the team. You have myself and Ralpho Borgos, who between us have clocked up several decades working with the best outfits in the business — Summit and New Line. We are about providing the very best service to both our producer and distributor clients, and we intend to surround ourselves with the most professional team in the business. We are also supported by the most successful and prolific trans-Atlantic producer on the European continent — Constantin Film — and this relationship will form the backbone of a strategy that is based on forging a number of strong long-term relationships with key producers and financiers, on both sides of the pond. Having a foot on each side of the Atlantic gives one a serious advantage in a global business such as this.”
Projects moving into or in production.
“I just set up the company two weeks ago. Give me time!”
Name an indie movie that you would have made.
“Seems obvious, but I would love to have been involved in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘The King’s Speech.’ I may not have made it but I happen to think that ‘Margin Call’ was one of the best films of last year. Oh — and ‘Twilight’ of course!”