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THE ARTS COURT

BY ANAND MODHA NEW YORK

W

ith an intrinsic sense of which way the culture is headed, A24 produces and distributes works that are not merely films—they’re cultural events, capturing and distilling the zeitgeist to offer viewers a unique perspective on society as a whole. Distinctive, oddball, and sometimes truly horrifying subject matter can be difficult to sell, especially for independent films, but A24 has found a way to package and market the kinds of out-there stories that will never find mass appeal to audiences who are yearning for something different from the usual major studio fare. As Alex Garland said speaking to the Seattle Pi, “I’ve been told by executives, flat out, that ideas movies never work. They can say never work by all sorts of different criteria. It could mean they never make any money or they never work creatively.” Lucky for him, and filmmakers like him, A24 is the kind of company that celebrates ideas and the visionaries behind them. Founded by three independent New York-based film producers in 2013, David Fenkel, John Hodges, and Daniel Katz, the original business model was based solely on distribution– buying, marketing, and releasing films. Fenkel was previously president and partner at Oscilloscope Laboratories while Hodges was head of production and development at Big Beach Films. Initial backing was provided by Guggenheim Partners, where Katz was previously working in film financing, and additional funding arrived later via distribution partnerships with DirecTV and Amazon and a line of credit which grew to $125 million in 2016. While filmmaking titans such as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas sound a death knell for the traditional way movies are produced and distributed, A24 has found a way to find mid-sized and compelling films for audiences that may be more inclined to consume their movies on smartphones rather than on giant screens at the local multiplex.

Finding its niche at the mid-budget level between micro-indies budgeted at less than $2 million and major releases coming in at over $20, the company has carved its own path to becoming one of the most successful and exciting studios working in the film industry today. The company achieved early success with films such as Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers and Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring and in 2016, A24 received the Oscar imprimatur with Amy winning best documentary, Brie Larson winning best actress for Room, and Ex Machina taking home the golden statuette for best visual effects. No longer the rebellious outsider with an eye for eclectic projects and stories, the company had arrived to make its presence known in Hollywood and beyond. 163

Profile for MALE IQ MAGAZINE

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The Maverick Deluxe Issue introduces our readers to the world of MALEIQ. Our coffee table magazine is a salute to the many talented photogra...

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