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The Five Most Interesting New Companies With Money at the Cannes Market, and How They Want to Spend It

Photo of Jay A. Fernandez 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.


Main execs: Bobby Paunescu and Jared Underwood, Kearie Peak and Christopher Taylor

Why you know them: Paunescu produced “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu,” which won Un Certain Regard in 2005; Underwood was a senior exec at Comerica Entertainment; Peak ran Electric Entertainment with Dean Devlin; and Taylor was head of acquisitions and business affairs at JVC’s Largo Entertainment.

What does the name of the company mean, and how does it define your approach to filmmaking and film-funding?

“The Sun in both a cosmic and global sense is inspiring and all-pervading. Our company name ‘Solar’ represents a comprehensive approach to filmmaking, which is an accurate way of describing the companies' structure and ambitions as well. We intend to make films for the worldwide, universal market. Our company is expanding into all facets of the business: producing, financing, co-productions and sales. We are creating an aligned group of companies that is a comprehensive and unified force.”

How much money do you have to work with? “As much as we need if the deal makes sense.”
What are you looking to do in Cannes?

“Cannes is the perfect festival for presenting ourselves to the industry and our potential audience with both our first slate of films, and a key strategic partnership with China. Solar's sister company Mandragora International Group co-produced Cristian Mungiu's ‘Beyond the Hills,’ which will be premiered in the main competition.”

How much money do you have to work with?

“As much as we need if the deal makes sense.”

How many films do you plan to get involved in per year?

“We will produce and/or finance up to 4 pictures a year.”

Do you intend to focus solely on English-language pics?

“Yes, English-language for a worldwide audience, keeping all the emerging territories and platforms in mind.”

What makes your company different from the dozen other new financing companies entering Cannes this year?

“Our founders and managing partners, Bobby Paunescu and Jared Underwood, are the key. Bobby is both a successful business visionary and an artist, whilst Jared is an extremely experienced entertainment banker. Together they understand that in today's market there is more than one way to put together a film and that not only allows us the freedom to do so, but encourages us, as our vision is sweeping and our ability to partner limitless. Solar has many arms and is not constrained in the ways many companies are: We have an art-house division, a strategic Chinese co-financing partner, the ability to partner with domestic and International distributors, develop internally or do straight debt-financing deals.”

Projects moving into or in production.

"The Girl Who Knew Too Much,” a co-production with China Film Group Corp. written and directed by Paunescu.

Name an indie movie that you would have made.

“Citizen Kane.”

This article is related to: Cannes Film Festival, Solar Pictures, Demarest Films, Good Universe, Mister Smith Entertainment

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