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ISA of the Day: Matteo Lovadina of Reel Suspects

ISA of the Day: Matteo Lovadina of Reel Suspects

Our International Sales Agent (ISA) of the Day coverage has resumed for
this year’s Cannes Film Festival. We will feature successful, upcoming,
innovative and trailblazing agents from around the world (during and after the
festival) and cover the latest trends in sales and distribution. Beyond the
numbers and deals, this segment will also share inspirational and unique
stories of how these individuals have evolved and paved their way in the
industry, and what they envision for the new waves in global cinema.  

Matteo Lovadina is the founder and sole
principal of Reel Suspects, a multi-faceted “all rights” distribution
company based in Paris, France. He represents “feature films with a
twist”: films both from first-time and revered directors, including
the genres of cult, classic, thriller, horror, fantasy, LGBT and erotic. His
background as a photographer inspires him to choose only the richest quality of cinematography for the Reel Suspects catalog. His aim
is to share the most cinematic and innovative stories.

Matteo talks about his
reasonably budgeted films, the first Reel Suspects co-productions, and gives
realistic advice to first-time filmmakers who are looking for distribution:

When and how did you start Reel Suspects?

I started Reel Suspects in
2011, after ten years in the business as a sales agent. When I started the
company, I really wanted to focus on young directors and films by true auteurs.
We love independent cinema, and it is our passion to put amazing and visually
stunning films into distribution. A twist can be a genre: it can be a very
strong drama, or fantasy. We are currently selling some fantasy art house
horror, as we did in the past; we always try to find good films that are not
purely commercial. This year’s selections at Cannes Film Festival reflect our
work in numerous ways, and give the sign that we are going in the right
direction. The second focus is cinematography; I am a big fan of images and
colors. I love when the image speaks for itself. This helps buyers to identify our
quality without question.

Where are your buyers?

Over the years, we have
developed a wide range of titles that go from youth films to experimental
dramas. We have never cared about the country of origin. Being a French
company, we obviously carry French films, but we really focus on the entire world.
We have films from the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia,
Lithuania, and a catalog of French and Spanish classics.

We like young talents, and
are passionate to help their careers takeoff. Two years ago, we had a film
called Aurora
(Vanishing Waves),
a glamorous and sophisticated sci-fi film by first
time director Kristina Buozyte.
It was a Lithuanian and French co-production, and was a worldwide success.  It was selected for all the major international
festivals, and won several awards including the “Meliès d’Or”, a sort of
“Fantasy Film” award renowned in Europe and abroad. It sold to nearly 25
territories between Cannes and Toronto, and was the first Lithuanian film with
a theatrical release in the U.S.

How are sales?

Sales are doing well because
of our “twist”. Distributors in our network know what they can find when they
come to Reel Suspects. They know they will not find the 20 million dollars films.
However, they also know that they will find a carefully chosen, cost-effective selection
of quality films that will attract the right audience. This helps our buyers to
take smaller risks on reliable niches in film. Luckily, sales are good and
constantly growing, even if the competition is hard. Our films are being
distributed in many countries. The festival circuit loves us, because we are
defending new producers and directors and they appreciate our taste. Germany,
Australia, and Japan are big for us, but we really work worldwide.

What is your background?

I was previously in the
music and photography worlds. When I realized the music business was dead, I finally
made the move to film.

What are some of the challenges of being a young
company on the market?

The industry has this thing
of labeling people. During the first year of my company, I had an erotic film
that was sold to many countries. Many buyers think that I still do erotic
films, and I do not. It’s a struggle to get identified when you launch your own
company. When you have one film that really works, people think you only do
that. This year in Cannes, we had two horror films, and I can see people six
months from now saying, “Reel Suspects only carries horror films.”
It’s frustrating to be categorized so quickly, and to convince people that
we’re more than what they assume.

Do you have advice for first time directors who are
looking for distribution?

You have to think before you
make the film, “Am I able to find a good balance between making a film
that will have a commercial success, and making a film that will only travel
the festival circuit?” I think this is an essential question that all
directors and producers should answer before shooting. Balance is important. With
the supremacy of digital shooting nowadays, the production value of your
delivery is now essential. Mediocrity is now harder to defend, when digital
postproduction can help a film to be finalized in the best conditions.

Please discuss some of the films from the Reel
Suspects catalog.

I’m really excited for the
market premiere of Cat
& Mouse
, a psychological drama by
Maartje Seyferth &
Victor Nieuwenhuijs. It’s about a girl
who is completely lost between her present and her past. It’s our first
co-production. Our expectations are quite high, and we feel it will be equally
successful in the commercial market and in the festival scene. 

Fièvre (new title: Horsehead) is a French fantasy horror by
Romain Basset that follows the story of a student that gets lost in her

in Blue
, our Cannes best seller,
is an intense US indie that we recently acquired. It features the last
performance of Karen Black, in a super graphic psychodrama about a psychopath
who kills his girlfriends until he finds real love.

We also have the most
anticipated German Angst, a portmanteau film that combines the work of three
well-known horror genre directors: Jörg Buttgereit (Nekromantik), Andreas
Marschall (Tears of Kali), and Michal Kosakowski (Zero Killed). It’s a shocking
horror film, which has already reached cult status with its large fan base.

about the Reel Suspects catalog.

More About Reel Suspects:

a multi-faceted “all rights” distribution company, specialized in emerging
filmmakers. REEL SUSPECTS is devoted to bring a new
cost-effective business model to its partners from all over the world, in the
context of an international market changing forever towards new directions, and
specialized niches constantly growing and evolving. Promoting films in a new
and different way, with an eye on newcomers and focusing on innovative
marketing approaches might be the final goals of REEL

Extended from
first-timers directors to revered cinema masters, the ever growing REEL
‘ catalogue already presents some classic films from
better-known directors, such as “Vivre sa Vie” by Jean-Luc Godard, “Une partie
de campagne” by Jean Renoir, as well as the “Alain Robbe-Grillet Collection”,
restored in HD and the “Chris Marker Collection”.

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