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THE MAGAZINE OF INTERNATIONAL MEDIA • NOVEMBER 2013

www.worldscreen.com

AFM Edition


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contents

NOVEMBER 2013/AFM EDITION

DEPARTMENTS WORLD VIEW

Publisher Ricardo Seguin Guise

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A note from the editor. UPFRONTS

Editor Anna Carugati

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New content on the market. IN THE NEWS

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MarVista’s Fernando Szew. SPOTLIGHT

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AFM’s Jonathan Wolf. WORLD’S END

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Managing Editor Kristin Brzoznowski Contributing Editor Elizabeth Guider

special report

Artist View’s Scott Jones. MARKET TRENDS

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Executive Editor Mansha Daswani

16 PATH TO PROFITS Producers and distributors of TV movies and indie features are finding opportunities beyond traditional television channels. —Anna Carugati

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In the stars.

content trendsetters

Special Projects Editors Jay Stuart Bob Jenkins Associate Editor Joanna Padovano Editor, Spanish-Language Publications Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari Associate Editor, Spanish-Language Publications Jessica Rodríguez

22 ACQUISITION SUPERPANEL World Screen Content Trendsetter Awards were presented to programmers from the U.S., Australia, Denmark and Mexico following the Acquisition Superpanel at MIPCOM. —Mansha Daswani

Online Director Simon Weaver Production & Design Director Victor L. Cuevas Art Director Phyllis Q. Busell

one-on-one

Sales & Marketing Director Cesar Suero

24 STARZ’S GENE GEORGE

Sales & Marketing Manager Vanessa Brand

The executive VP of Starz Worldwide Distribution talks about having highquality series to offer the international market in addition to the TV movies the company supplies. —Anna Carugati

Business Affairs Manager Terry Acunzo Senior Editor Kate Norris Copy Editor Maddy Kloss

Ricardo Seguin Guise President

WORLD SCREEN is published nine times per year: January, March, April, May, June/July, September, October, November and December. Annual subscription price: Inside the U.S.: $70.00 Outside the U.S.: $120.00 Send checks, company information and address corrections to: WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, Suite 1207 New York, NY 10010, U.S.A. For a free subscription to our newsletters, please visit www.worldscreen.com.

Anna Carugati Executive VP & Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani Associate Publisher & VP of Strategic Development WORLD SCREEN is a registered trademark of WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, Suite 1207 New York, NY 10010, U.S.A. Phone: (212) 924-7620 Fax: (212) 924-6940 Website: www.worldscreen.com

16 THE LEADING ONLINE DAILY NEWS SERVICE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA INDUSTRY. For a free subscription, visit www.worldscreen.com/pages/newsletter

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©2013 WSN INC. Printed by Fry Communications No part of this publication can be used, reprinted, copied or stored in any medium without the publisher’s authorization.


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world milestones view BY ANNA CARUGATI

It’s All in a Word The television industry has coined its fair share of expressions and acronyms. We TiVo our favorite shows; channels strip programs across the week; producers create backdoor pilots; we look to VOD and SVOD, nonlinear platforms, to satisfy our on-demand viewing; and catch-up TV sites allow us to view what we missed on linear channels. Many businesses create their own terminology—who would have known a few years ago that Google would become such a ubiquitous verb? I’ve noticed an interesting shift of late in television jargon—the one from “international” to “global.” This reminds me of when Ted Turner, the founder of Turner Broadcasting System and CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS and TNT, banned the use of the word “foreign” on CNN back in the mid’80s, insisting that the word “international” be used instead by all anchors and on-air correspondents. The way Turner saw it, the word “foreign” focused on the point of view of the speakers and not that of the listeners. Therefore, since CNN was an international news-gathering organization, nothing and no one should be considered foreign. He was so adamant about this that he instituted a $100 fine for any CNN staffer who slipped and used the word “foreign.” I had several friends at the time who worked for Turner Broadcasting and they told numerous stories of how difficult it actually was not to say “forTV MOVIES AND eign.” It was, after all, a totally accepted term: foreign affairs, foreign relations. I remember one INDEPENDENT FILMS ARE A story in particular. One morning, a CNN anchor was interviewing Russian foreign minister. UNIQUE MICROCOSM OF the Turner immediately called CNN’s head of news at the time, THE TELEVISION BUSINESS. Eason Jordan;Turner went ballistic, screaming that no one should use the word “foreign.” When Jordan pointed out that the title of the person being interviewed was “foreign minister,” Turner was beside himself, and blurted out, “Damn it, you tell him to change his title!” Word of the ban on “foreign” spread to other parts of Turner’s companies. He also owned the Atlanta Braves baseball team and one of the Braves’ sports announcers, Skip Caray, who also worked for Turner, was known for his dry, sarcastic sense of humor. He was doing the playby-play commentary during a game, when a player up at bat suddenly stepped back. Caray deadpanned, “He appears to have an international object in his eye.” Turner certainly took to heart the word “international” in all of his businesses. Soon CNN and Cartoon Net8 World Screen 11/13

work were launching around the globe, and many other media companies were doing the same with channels like MTV, Discovery, ESPN, Nickelodeon, HISTORY and, years later, the FOX International Channels fanning out across multiple continents. “International” became a key component of the media industry, often advancing at greater rates of growth than domestic businesses because of untapped demand and a thirst for movies and TV programming in so many markets. Here cropped up another set of words that quickly became the jargon du jour:“think global, act local.”This was one of the first sightings of the term “global.” I appreciate the concept at work behind the expression—international expansion is critical for growth, but you have to think of the local market and its specific needs before launching a channel in a given territory. Looking at the entire world as their oyster is becoming second nature for many TV executives. It is essential to have a global strategy, and not only in the channel business. In the format industry, the holy grail for producers is to find an idea that has global appeal, and when they get it right, the rewards are huge. For another side of the television business, program distribution, the global market has been indispensible for years. So many high-quality, high-budget shows rely on international sales to cover their budget deficits. If we look at Hollywood studios’ TV fare, numerous shows became global hits: the CSI and Law & Order franchises, Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, NCIS, The Simpsons and House, just to name a few.These shows were mega-hits first in their home market, but each contained story lines and characters that audiences in numerous countries found equally compelling. Here we come to another much-used expression: “universal themes,” that quality that is intrinsic to shows that can travel. This applies to TV movies as much as to any other programming genre. TV movies and independent films, as we examine in our main feature, are a unique microcosm of the television business and exemplify all these forces at work: these movies have to work in their home markets but, at the same time, have plots and characters that viewers anywhere can relate to. On the financing side, made-for-television movies depend on license fees from international markets—there’s that word again. Turner would be proud.


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upfronts

10 West Studios • The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Pirate’s Code The second installment in the Mickey Matson family franchise is now complete. 10 West Studios will be at AFM talking to buyers about The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Pirate’s Code.“We are excited to bring this and several other projects to AFM this year to continue building our brand and promote film production in beautiful West Michigan,” says Harold Cronk, partner and co-founder of 10 West.“We have produced several films in the family space for TV.We have found that with our resources at 10 West Studios we are able to meet our own strict quality standards, while exceeding the expectations of our production and distribution partners.” Cronk says the company will be meeting with film-finance entities at the market that may be interested in family features such as Mickey Matson 3, which is headed into production in the spring.

“We enjoy connecting with other filmmakers who have a passion for telling great stories.” —Harold Cronk The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Pirate’s Code

American Cinema International • Born to Race: Fast Track • Kiss Me • Raptor Ranch

Car racing takes center stage in Born to Race: Fast Track, a new title that is being presented by American Cinema International (ACI) at this year’s AFM. The action flick follows a racingschool student who must overcome many obstacles while pursuing his dream of becoming a professional racer. Chevonne O’Shaughnessy, the president of ACI, notes that the film had a built-in audience even before it debuted because of avid racing fans and people who love custom cars. Other highlights from the company’s catalogue include Kiss Me, a coming-of-age drama about a teenage girl having an affair with the married man whose children she babysits, and Raptor Ranch, an action/sci-fi movie focused on a modern-day Texas town that is attacked by dinosaurs.

“When ACI first started, we were only acquiring; within the last two years we’ve been building up to the point where we are in production ourselves.” Kiss Me

—Chevonne O’Shaughnessy

Artist View Entertainment • April Rain • West End • Assassins Tale In the action-adventure movie April Rain, an eclectic group of terrorists plot to attack the U.S. from within. A quasi-military special investigation unit is tasked with identifying, infiltrating and neutralizing the threat. The title is among the highlights from ArtistView Entertainment’s AFM slate, alongside the actionbased Assassins Tale. Also topping the list of highlights is the thriller West End, about an FBI agent who must betray those closest to him in order to find out who killed his father. Scott Jones, the president of Artist View, says that international demand for the company’s movies has been strong. “We spent a lot of years building relationships with the majority of broadcasters around the world, and they have been our bread and butter since the decline of the DVD business.”

“It’s my job to give the producers I deal with as much information about the market as I can.” —Scott Jones April Rain 10 World Screen 11/13


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Breakthrough Entertainment • Antisocial • Cas & Dylan • Cubicle Warriors Directed by Jason Priestley, Cas & Dylan stars Richard Dreyfuss as the self-proclaimed loner and terminally ill Dr. Cas Pepper, who reluctantly agrees to give 22-year-old social misfit Dylan Morgan a lift home.What was to be a short ride soon turns into a drive across the country. The resulting story is not only about death, but also about life, fate, inspiration and self-determination. Breakthrough Entertainment is offering the title at the AFM along with the office comedy Cubicle Warriors, as well as I’ll Follow You Down, starring Haley Joel Osment, Gillian Anderson, Rufus Sewell and Victor Garber. Rounding out Breakthrough’s AFM highlights is Antisocial, a movie that begins on New Year’s Eve in the not-so-distant future when a mysterious virus spreads and causes an epidemic.

Cubicle Warriors

Cinema from Spain • Latido Films • Imagina International Sales • Gran Canaria Film Commission

The participation of the Spanish audiovisual industry at the AFM is represented under the banner Cinema from Spain. It is organized by the Federation of Spanish Audiovisual Producers’ Associations (FAPAE) with the support of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX). Fabia Buenaventura Canino, the general manager of FAPAE, says that the market is important for the Spanish production community, as it provides a place to meet buyers, notably from the U.S. and Latin America. Among those exhibiting with Cinema from Spain are Latido Films, presenting Grazing the Sky; Imagina International Sales, with its lead title Who Killed Bambi?; Gran Canaria Film Commission, which provides assistance for shooting films in the Canary Islands; and Filmotech, a website offering a range of movies.

“For the Spanish movie sales agents and producers, AFM is one of the most important markets of the year.” —Fabia Buenaventura Canino Grazing the Sky

Globo • Brazil Avenue • Side by Side • Next in Line Globo received five nominations for the 41st International Emmy Awards, which will be presented on November 25. In the telenovela category, Globo has two productions in the running: Brazil Avenue, which has been sold into more than 100 countries, and Side by Side, which will be arriving in the international market in 2014. Fernanda Montenegro is a finalist in the best performance by an actress category for her role in Sweet Mother. How to Enjoy the End of the World is up for best comedy series, while Next in Line is nominated in the drama series category. “The recognition with the consecutive nominations and awards, and the enthusiasm of the public, give us certainty that we are on the right path,” says Raphael Corrêa Netto, Globo’s executive director of international business.

“With global themes, our telenovelas have already won three statuettes in the category for best telenovela since the category was created four years ago.” —Raphael Corrêa Netto Side by Side 12 World Screen 11/13


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Lightning Entertainment • Storm Rider • Gus • Freezer Lightning Entertainment has been focused on the worldwide distribution and licensing of indie films, mainly for the theatrical market. Now, the company is looking to enter into the TV-movie market and will be at the AFM this year. Lightning Entertainment is heading to the event with Storm Rider, a family drama featuring Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson, C. Thomas Howell and Danielle Chuchran, and Gus, a dramatic comedy that stars Michelle Monaghan, Radha Mitchell, Jon Dore, Michael Weston and Mimi Kennedy. Ken DuBow, the executive VP and general manager of Lightning Entertainment, also has high hopes for Freezer, an action thriller with a cast led by Dylan McDermott, Peter Facinelli and Yuliya Snigir.

“Lightning has not really been in the TV-movie business; we are moving a portion of our business now in that direction.” —Ken DuBow Storm Rider

Multicom Entertainment Group • The Secret Life of John Paul II • Freeway • Basil

Leading the slate for Multicom Entertainment Group this AFM is The Secret Life of John Paul II, a feature film starring Aleksey Guskov and Giorgio Pasotti. It is based on the book penned by Lino Zani, a former ski instructor and friend of the late pope. “The Secret Life of John Paul II is a moving story about one of history’s most inspirational religious figures,” says Irv Holender, Multicom’s chairman.“Tracing his life and exploring his love of nature, the film tells a little-known story that will inspire audiences the world over.” The company is also showcasing a selection of re-released indie features, including Freeway, led by Reese Witherspoon and Kiefer Sutherland; Basil, with Christian Slater and Jared Leto; and The Last Time I Committed Suicide, featuring Thomas Jane, Keanu Reeves and Adrien Brody.

“As our library of proven films continues to grow, we’ve been making strides internationally.” —Irv Holender The Secret Life of John Paul II

Red Arrow International • The Escape Artist • Lilyhammer • Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot David Tennant of Doctor Who fame stars in the thriller The Escape Artist, produced by Endor Productions for BBC One. Steven Van Zandt, known from The Sopranos as well as Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, is front and center in the dramedy Lilyhammer. Also from Endor for BBC One, Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot is led by Academy Award–winners Dame Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman. All three productions are top titles for Red Arrow International for the AFM. Axel Böhm, the senior VP of global fiction acquisitions at Red Arrow, comments, “Our TV-movie lineup is stronger than ever, and by cooperating with top-notch production companies like Endor, Fabrik, Larry Levinson and Chesler/Perlmutter, we have significantly increased our original English-language content.”

“Productions like our new BBC mini-series The Escape Artist, starring David Tennant, have truly propelled our fiction lineup to the next level.” The Escape Artist 14 World Screen 11/13

—Axel Böhm


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Artist View’s Siren.

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to PATH

PROFIT$ Producers and distributors of TV movies and indie features are finding opportunities beyond traditional television channels. By Anna Carugati The American Film Market (AFM) has always attracted a diverse and eclectic group of participants from the independent film industry: lone-wolf filmmakers pitching their passion projects, producers in search of financing and distributors on the lookout for new markets and outlets to exhibit films and recoup production costs. For years, there was a pretty clear distinction between those selling theatrical movies, and/or straight-to-DVD/Blu-ray rights and companies distributing movies made for television. But now, because of a number of factors, the demarcation between these businesses is blurring. As in so many areas of the media, digital platforms are causing disruption— they are creating a tectonic shift in the landscape, with VOD, SVOD and all sorts of streaming services carving out windows that didn’t exist a few years ago, and introducing new rights that distributors have to grapple with. In addition, there are so many television channels searching for high-quality or niche product that theatrical distributors are looking at TV with a newfound curiosity and respect. And finally, companies that have until now focused primarily on TV movies are looking to produce movies for a variety of VOD services.

Adapting to new market conditions is nothing new for producers and distributors of made-fortelevision movies. In the last decades, that business has undergone numerous upheavals. In the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s,TV movies had regular slots on the U.S. broadcast networks and major broadcasters in Europe, and they could attract remarkably large audiences. In 1993, for example, two of the top-rated programs in the U.S. television season were TV movies. UPS AND DOWNS

In the late ’90s and early 2000s, as the broadcast networks abandoned made-for-TV movies, largely in favor of reality shows, cable channels picked them up with a passion— many of them aired on femaleskewing channels like Lifetime and Hallmark Channel, both of which even created sister channels dedicated only to movies. From the mid-2000s onward, however, cable channels embraced reality programming, and TV movies were pushed aside. But when one door closes, another opens, and there have been new entrants to the TVmovie business in the U.S.: Disney Channel and Nickelodeon catering to the tween crowds; Syfy enticing sci-fi fanatics; ABC Family, dedicated to its loyal teen and

young adult female viewers; and pay services, where television films have always found homes. “The cable networks are still soft on TV movies,” says Gene George, the executive VP of Starz Worldwide Distribution. “There are definitely some platforms that are still very active: Lifetime, Hallmark and Syfy are three of them. There are other smaller cable networks now that are trying to build themselves, and original TV movies are really a great way to build their originalmovie strategy.” George adds that the popularity of TV movies is “not nearly at the level of what it was a few years ago, but there are new players that are looking for original TV movies and if you can creatively figure out a way to produce them, there is still a business there.” The new frontier can be found in the emerging digital landscape, from digital terrestrial channels to VOD platforms and the Netflixes of the world. The key is to spot the opportunity, fulfill the needs of these services and monetize content appropriately—this applies to the U.S. market and to international territories as well, since much of the budgets of American TV movies are covered with sales to countries around the world. “What’s working very well right now are family, teen-related and sus-

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pense thrillers,” notes Irv Holender, the chairman of Multicom Entertainment Group. “The demand is the same—goodquality women-in-peril movies or inspirational-themed TV movies are still popular in European and other foreign territories,” adds Marina Cordoni, the VP of movies at Breakthrough Entertainment. American Cinema International (ACI) for years has concentrated on action, suspense and female-driven thrillers that work well domestically and internationally. ACI, in fact, will be premiering the action car-racing film Born to Race: Fast Track at AFM. But movies for the entire family are also working so well for Chevonne O’Shaughnessy, the president of ACI, that she founded another label, Mission Pictures International, which focuses exclusively on family movies. Mission’s growth, however, was slow at first. “The first two years, we didn’t have that many movies, and there were territories that were very hesitant about these types of movies,” she explains.“I’ll give an example: Russia would never buy a family movie, or hardly at all. It was very difficult because they were airing action or horror; they loved horror titles and they even aired them in the afternoon. The government ended up passing a law just last year prohibiting


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In the fast lane: American Cinema International reports strong market demand for films with action and suspense, and for the AFM, it will be presenting the car-racing movie Born to Race: Fast Track.

that type of programming in the afternoon. And I now have 120 different family titles, and all of a sudden, [Russia] came running!” And there are more territories eager for family movies. “Latin American broadcasters only wanted action and horror, but now I am selling huge packages of family movies to Latin America,” continues O’Shaughnessy. “[It’s popular] as long as it’s an uplifting family movie, nothing too religious, just an uplifting movie that the whole family can watch.” Channels in South Africa and Australia are also creating slots for family movies. INTERNATIONAL INTEREST

Of course, if a distributor has a oneoff movie featuring a topic or personality of worldwide renown, finding a market for it is not difficult. Such is the case for Multicom Entertainment Group, which is bringing to market The Secret Life of John Paul II, inspired by the book penned by Lino Zani, a former ski instructor and friend of the late pope. “In April 2014, Pope John Paul II, one of the most beloved pontiffs in recent times, who passed away in 2005, will be declared a saint by the Vatican,” says Holender. “The Secret Life of John Paul II is the perfect film event.” In the international market, the proliferation of channels has created demand for TV movies. France, Spain and Italy have traditionally been among the best clients for TV movies, with broadcasters in those

territories keeping dedicated slots for the genre. And even with the financial difficulties those networks are facing due to the severe economic crises impacting those countries, business there is solid and better than ever. “The television movie is still a great value proposition for those broadcasters,” says Fernando Szew, the CEO of MarVista Entertainment. “There has been a tradition in those three markets—and others around the world—of major broadcasters having very secure slots for these movies that still garner amazing ratings and market share. And, I can tell you that after many, many conversations with broadcasters, I am aware that successful TV movies provide among the highest P&L [profit and loss] propositions available.” Other markets have been opening up to TV movies. So constant has been the demand that many distributors have volume deals with certain broadcasters.“Volume deals are great because they help us in planning and help us know what types of films the broadcasters are looking for,” says Starz’s George. “We have great partnerships in Spain and in France, two very important territories for us. And there are quite a few other territories where we maintain outputtype deals.” As license fees from U.S. networks have dropped, revenue from international broadcasters has become essential. Volume deals help distributors secure funds for the producers they work with. “If we are putting up a

minimum guarantee with a producer, [volume deals help us] have a good portion [of the budget] already mitigated going in,” adds George.“We are trying to compete and acquire movies that maybe multiple companies are looking at. The fact that we can offer producers some guarantees is a great thing for us.We know what’s already in the pipeline and can give that information to producers.” As the marketplace becomes more complex, more than ever producers need the guidance of distributors to pull together a movie and cast that have domestic and international appeal, and that will generate enough revenue to cover production costs. COUNTING COSTS

The budgets of several TV movies made for U.S. cable networks these days range from $2 million to $3 million.“It’s a pretty low budget, but that is just a result of what the market has become to justify the making of those films,” continues George.“A lot of producers are doing films back to back so they can provide economies of scale and get better deals with crews. A lot of people are really focused on shooting in areas where there are substantial tax credits and things of that sort. Producers have been forced to become a lot more creative in how they can deliver movies at the same quality level for less money because they’re not getting the big license fees from a lot of the cable networks that they used to get a few years ago. So, you have to be

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creative if you want to continue to make these movies.” For independent producers, these budgets can represent huge risks and producers are wise to heed the marketing advice a distributor can offer. “We get involved early with producers, we review their scripts, we talk about who we think is going to work casting-wise,” says Scott Jones, the president of Artist View Entertainment. “We really talk about the budgets and say, does that make sense in this marketplace today?” Artist View aims to have about 15 new movies each year. Two of the movies it will be offering at AFM are the thrillers Siren and Fatal Instinct. While Jones is always looking for new producers, he attributes the success of his company to the ongoing relationships it has had with producers.“[There are] 14 or 15 production companies that I have three or more films from, and in that group there are at least three that I have ten or more films from.We work very closely with the people that we represent.We tell them straight what we think we can do with their movies. I believe that that honesty is really appreciated.” With the advent of so many digital outlets, producers need all the honesty they can get. That straight talk includes mentioning a shift that some distributors are seeing in the market.“Calling them all TV movies is a bit of a misnomer,” says MarVista’s Szew. “Sometimes movies are produced not necessarily with only a broadcaster in mind.”


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Religious experience: Timed to coincide with the sainthood of the late Pope John Paul II, Multicom is releasing The Secret Life of John Paul II.

“We produce, executive produce, distribute locally and acquire completed films for foreign rights on all genres of film,” says Breakthrough’s Cordoni.“I would say 80 percent are considered feature films that might have theatrical releases or go straight to VOD or DVD and 20 percent are TV movies made strictly for broadcast rights.” Cordoni is enthusiastic about the potential opportunities offered by digital platforms. “The trick right now is patiently waiting for case studies. We know what the brand platforms can do—iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, etcetera—but others are emerging and could likely be as strong. I am careful when selling rights.” MarVista’s Szew is equally cautious. “We are certainly exploring quite a lot.We’ve also had a number of movies that were done with partners in those areas that ended up on broadcast as one of the windows. There has been growth in licensing this type of content and there is an active marketplace between the different platforms as to who controls what rights and when.We, as content providers, are sorting through all of that with its challenges and great opportunities as well.” Certainly the digital world has welcomed all sorts of niche programming that was considered too limited in the world of broad general-

entertainment channels. “We have one of the best war film libraries, featuring actors like Glenn Ford and Peter Graves, films that were shot in the late ’70s and early ’80s all over the world and that deal with World War I and World War II,” says Multicom’s Holender. “We have converted these 35mm negatives into high def. “We’re putting a very big push on a big documentary catalogue,” he continues.“We have over 4,000 hours of documentaries, from bios to anthology series to history series, things that are evergreen and so appropriate for the digital market.We have spent quite a bit of money on digitizing at least 500 hours this year and continue to digitize our library. And we just finished converting 15 of our animated films.” As companies move into producing and distributing for platforms other than broadcasters, they need to find financing from banks or private investors.

asking, do you have soft money deals? Do you have government rebate deals? Do you have presales? Do you have distribution? If you make this, does anybody even want to sell it? They want to know that some of their investment is covered in the project.The higher end of the business has that attitude. “On the other end [of the spectrum], every year a very large number of students graduate from film schools all over the country. They can get their hands on a digital camera that can shoot very highquality movies for a very small amount of money.They all seem to have Uncle Bill or Mom and Dad [lending money] or enough credit cards to still go out and make lowbudget movies. We are seeing that there is a glut of those in the market. There are some really talented young people coming out of film

school that make very good movies for not a lot of money, I’m talking for under $1 million. So on the lower end of the business, the days of making movies on credit cards has not gone away! On the higher end, there are definitely a lot of people interested in the business because there can be serious returns if the right production is put together.” Those returns nowadays have to be patched together from a variety of sources, and companies agree that the AFM is a good market to explore new distribution opportunities. “That is what’s interesting about the AFM; it provides us with opportunities to take the know-how we have in the TV-movie space and really discuss the different windows and the different marketplaces,” concludes Szew.

HARD CASH

“The sophisticated investor is still very interested in investing in the movie business, but there has to be a better plan,” says Artist View’s Jones. “The whole,‘Let’s throw it against the wall to see if it sticks’ business plan really doesn’t work anymore. Now, on higher-end movies investors are

Generation gap: Breakthrough, which is presenting Cas & Dylan, does a mix of TV sales, theatrical deals and straight-to-DVD and VOD agreements on its titles.

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2013 CONTENT T

From left, Starz’s Carmi Zlotnik, Foxtel’s Ross Crowley, DR’s Piv Bernth, Azteca’s Pedro Lascurain and World Screen’s Anna Carugati.

T

he Acquisition Superpanel at MIPCOM, moderated by World Screen’s Anna Carugati, saw DR’s Piv Bernth, Foxtel’s Ross Crowley, Azteca’s Pedro Lascurain and Starz’s Carmi Zlotnik discussing coproductions, binge viewing, output deals and more. As Starz’s managing director, Zlotnik’s mandate is to “source, produce and develop programming” for the premium service. When making content decisions, he said, “I’m thinking about things that will cause people to want to subscribe. The ultimate effect that I’d like to achieve is for somebody to call a call center and ask for Starz because they want to see a program that we’re producing.” Crowley, director of programming and channels at Foxtel, is responsible for the Australian pay platform’s 18 entertainment channels. “We acquire some 20,000 hours a year, not counting content we produce locally. Half of our decisions are for existing subscribers and the other half are for the people out there demanding something different.” 22 World Screen 11/13

Bernth oversees the development of local drama for the Danish pubcaster DR, a portfolio that has included the international hit The Killing. As head of acquisitions at Azteca, Lascurain buys for three channels. He said,“We are mainly after feature films. We buy around 600 feature films every year. We are also buying 60 to 70 series and formats and reality shows.” When Lascurain joined Azteca, his first mandate was to help differentiate the service from the dominant Televisa. “The main thing that we acquired from the very beginning that was different was TV series that nobody in Mexico really considered. We had to take them from distributors after buying the feature films.We started programming them from Monday to Thursday from 7 or 8 p.m. until midnight, and they did so well.” When Foxtel launched in what is still a “relatively young cable market,” Crowley said, “the networks imposed a very strong fence against us taking any sports. Almost immediately we set about building


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TRENDSETTERS

alternatives.” That included targeting audiences with specific niche interests, such as fans of sci-fi. For Starz, Zlotnik is focused on “programming that will create emotional engagement with our audience. All transactions are driven by emotion. So it’s storytelling that feels compelling. My own personal meter for that is the truth and spectacle meter. I try to look for things that relate to the human experience and for things that have the spectacle.You have to cut through the din of everything else out there and deliver something that is not commonplace, not what the audience is used to seeing. Spectacle can be a big fight scene, it can be a visual effect, or it can be an emotional performance by an actor. I’m scanning the marketplace constantly.” Starz has been engaging in co-productions, developing ideas internally and occasionally buying off the international market. In those cases, “a lot of the times we’ve been tracking [a project] and reading scripts and looking at dailies so that when it’s finished and we start

a sales negotiation, we’re really familiar with the project.” On creating Danish hits that will travel, Bernth noted, “Local stories often become universal stories if you’re true to them.” After setting the bar so high with The Killing, Bernth said that she told her team, “Try to smash everything about The Killing. Don’t go back.” Asked about his acquisitions approach, Lascurain commented, “When there’s a TV series with only one season, 13 episodes or fewer, we try to wait until a second season has been made. Once it’s been proven, then we’ll acquire it.” At Foxtel, meanwhile, Crowley said that it’s become essential to launch U.S. imports as close to the American rollout as possible. Even if a show isn’t performing according to expectations, “We keep everything in its time slot until it’s finished. In the adsupported world, that cannot happen.” Carugati then steered the conversation to co-productions. Zlotnik said that Starz’s approach is marked by “flexibility in terms of deal-making and financial structuring, and the way we partner with people.” Bernth said one key to a successful copro is having complete trust in your creator and head writer. Azteca is stepping up its co-pro efforts, with a second pact with Globo in the works, and Crowley says that Foxtel is about to embark on its first co-pro. The discussion then moved to the importance of nonlinear rights. “We buy free TV, and now we’re into pay TV, Internet, mobile and others,” noted Lascurain. “Our first priority is to supply the channel with programming,” said Zlotnik. “Our second priority is to supply our distribution channels with programming, but there is an interesting issue that sits in the middle, which is the SVOD window. We need to have the SVOD rights. That’s a non-negotiable issue.” For Crowley too, the core product is still the linear platform, “and then we provide a number of ways to catch up.” The executives were then asked how binge viewing is impacting their businesses. “You want to provide the option so the consumer can schedule things when they want to,” Zlotnik said. “And if they want to binge view, it’s there as an option.” The four executives were honored with World Screen Content Trendsetter Awards following the session, recognizing their innovative approaches to programming. 11/13 World Screen 23

By Mansha Daswani


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on the one-on-one record

hen Chris Albrecht became CEO of Starz in 2010, he quickly decided that what the pay-TV service needed were edgy, high-quality original productions that dealt with topics not commonly seen on television. He had had a long and successful track record of spotting and nurturing talent at HBO. As a result of his vision and his team’s efforts, several series, including Spartacus, Boss, Magic City and The White Queen got the attention of the press, critics and international co-production partners. These series have also contributed to the increase in subscribers at Starz. Another benefit of original productions is that Gene George, the executive VP of Starz Worldwide

Distribution, now has high-end series to offer buyers in addition to the television movies he has been selling successfully in the international market for years. In fact, until now, TV movies have been what George calls the “bread and butter” of Starz Worldwide Distribution’s international sales, with female-driven thrillers, action-adventure and heartfelt holiday movies the genres that resonate most with buyers. In this interview with World Screen, George talks about new programming, including the series Black Sails, an eight-episode pirate adventure that Starz Worldwide Distribution recently premiered at MIPCOM and that will air in January 2014. He also mentions the importance of building his catalogue and being able to broaden his offerings for global free- and pay-TV outlets.

GENE GEORGE

Starz Worldwide Distribution

WS: How has the slate of Starz original series been

received by international buyers? GEORGE: The original programming that Starz as a

channel in the U.S. is focused on works very well on a global basis. Black Sails is a really good example of that. It fits the ongoing strategy that we have: [creating] shows that are ultra-premium and very cinematic in quality, shows that are broader in global appeal, general-entertainment types of series. It’s great for us because these series are not very easy to find in the international marketplace, so broadcasters are very keen and excited to see that content. They know they can rely on us for quality product. They know it’s going to be a steady flow. More and more, broadcasters are very anxious to talk to us about longer-term relationships and output and volume deals. So it’s a really exciting time for us on the worldwide distribution side, and we’re happy. We had The White Queen at MIPTV in April, and we had another series, Black Sails, to show at MIPCOM. WS: With more original productions, you have more

rights to sell. GEORGE: As we ramp up original programming for the

channel in the U.S., there are definitely some shows for which we are able to retain broader rights, and in many cases we are able to keep worldwide rights. That means that those shows come through this group, Worldwide Distribution; through Anchor Bay, which is our homevideo-distribution company in the English-speaking territories; and also through our digital group, which is based in New York. WS: Besides the original content from Starz, are you also acquiring product to increase your catalogue? GEORGE: We are. We are looking to acquire non-Starz series. We recently announced a deal with Viacom to pick up a one-hour drama series for VH1 in the U.S. called Hit 24 World Screen 11/13


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the Floor. We will look for those shows to complement what we are doing at Starz.There are not a lot of series out there that we can acquire that are at the same cinematic level as our series because ours are premium shows. Series produced for basic cable have different content requirements compared to what we are doing on premium, but what we like about some of the cable series is that they give us the opportunity to offer programming that can be premier content for some of the freeTV and terrestrial channels. Pay premium channels internationally are aggressively pursuing Starz content because that’s a logical home for it. We do sell Starz original content to free TV, but having non-Starz series that are more geared for cable does give us the opportunity to sell premier product to the free-TV market, which is a great thing. WS: Have free-TV broadcasters

acquired some of your premium product? GEORGE: We had quite a few free-TV broadcasters acquire Starz original product. Spartacus is a really interesting case because it is such an edgy show with a lot of violence, sex and nudity. In some countries where there hasn’t been a competitive pay premium market, we have sold the first window to free TV. We were very thoughtful when we went into that production process. We planned an edited version of that series and, surprisingly, it worked amazingly well. Some of the violence, sex and nudity have been stripped out of it. It was a show that had powerful writing and some great, strong characters; even if that edginess was pulled out, it still played extremely well and was a big success on free TV. The same goes for Magic City, which was a very premium show and had some topics and story lines that were more suited for pay TV. With some edits, it played very well on free TV.

WS: Do TV movies continue to be an important part of what you offer broadcasters? GEORGE: We are very focused on TV movies. It’s bread and butter for us. We typically have two to three new ones at every market. We have broadcasters that are looking to Starz to supply certain types of TV movies. Because of the relationships that we have built and the fact that internationally we are known to be a supplier of TV movies, it’s a great business for us. We are very focused on certain types of TV movies, and when we go through the process of deciding which TV movies to distribute and become involved in, we’re looking for movies that we know can play in late afternoon slots or even postprime time and still be successful— still recoup their investment. If we are fortunate enough that the movie is sold and it is placed in a primetime slot—and it does happen in many cases—that is an upside. But we really protect ourselves and mitigate the risk by making sure that when we look at TV movies, they have to be financially successful by playing outside of prime time. It’s really hard to penetrate prime time in a lot of the key European territories with TV movies, because there is a lot of local product that takes up those slots. Reality TV is still in many prime-time slots globally. There are still movie slots on international broadcasters, especially in Europe, but they are usually [filled with] the big theatrical films. When we do find something that can work in prime time, it’s really an upside. WS: What genres of movies are

selling best internationally? GEORGE: We continue to focus

on the holiday movies, femaledriven thrillers and action disaster films. We are looking at TV movies that typically have homes on U.S. cable networks such as Lifetime, Hallmark, Syfy, ABC Family—those types of movies work very well for us.

Swashbuckling success: The Starz original pirate drama Black Sails, produced by feature-film director Michael Bay, has already been renewed for a second season ahead of its January 2014 debut. WS: You have good relationships with independent producers and with channels. GEORGE: We’re very relevant for independent producers because if they are not generating as much as they used to generate from U.S. cable networks, they need to offset that somehow. So having a strong partner like us that has international relationships and alliances is really important for them. From a cable-network standpoint, we are also a great partner.We actually get a lot of referrals from cable networks that get pitches from independent producers. They say, go to Starz and they will help you put the pieces together to make your movie happen.We are very involved not only with the producers but also with the networks to make a lot of those movies happen.There are definitely not as many TV movies being made as there used to be. That market is tough. It has put a little bit more pressure on international broadcasters, especially the European ones, because they still

11/13 World Screen 25

want movies but there aren’t as many in the marketplace. If you have the right kind of TV movies and you have a reputation for supplying good content [the marketplace can be] competitive and it’s still quite healthy. WS: What other issues are affecting indie filmmakers? GEORGE: We had always done pretty well in the DVD market, and we all know that the DVD market is getting harder and harder. We are definitely more reliant on TV product to attract the lion’s share of the revenue for these producers, and if they are not aligned with a strong television distribution company it can be pretty dismal for them.Yes, digital is making up a little of what used to be a good portion of the DVD revenue, but I think it’s still going to be some time before that completely switches over. [Indie filmmakers] have to rely a lot on television revenue today. That’s quite a challenge for them.


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in the news

MarVista’s Fernando Szew By Anna Carugati

When MarVista Entertainment was set up ten years ago, it was mainly a distribution company that represented programming produced by others. Fernando Szew, the company’s founding partner and CEO, quickly saw the value in forming strategic alliances with producers and getting involved early in the development process—the goal was to help shape the content he and his sales team were offering broadcasters. MarVista then started producing TV movies and placing them on major U.S cable outlets such as Lifetime, Hallmark Channel, ABC Family, Disney Channel and, more recently, Nickelodeon. Thanks to carefully gathered market information and reactions from international buyers, Szew has made MarVista a reliable source of quality TV movies, but given the constantly evolving nature of the television business, he is also seeing opportunities in numerous digital platforms.

WS: You seek a lot of feedback from buyers. How did

that process start, and how does it inform your production and acquisition strategy? SZEW: It started out of necessity when we made the transition from being a distributor of third-party content to a producer-distributor. Being able to meet with a great group of broadcasters and buyers and really listen to them about the type of programming they needed in their markets, as well as trends, helped us to deliver concepts and programs that worked for them. That is very much part of the DNA of MarVista, and as we’ve grown and hired a lot more people on both ends of the business—development and production as well as sales— our team knows that getting that feedback is of the utmost importance. So, if you are going to a pitch meeting or to a convention to sell the content that we already produced or that we are going to be producing or representing, it’s just as important to make sure that you really listen to the needs that broadcasters have because, obviously, they are closer to their local markets than we are. WS: Has this feedback helped you focus on certain genres? SZEW: Absolutely it has, as many overseas buyers are looking for TV movies that originate in the U.S. with certain networks like Syfy, Lifetime and Hallmark, among others. This is an area in which we have become very strong. We’ve also expanded into the world of tweens and teens with an ongoing great relationship with Disney Channel and a more recent, wonderful experience with Nickelodeon. After a successful run at this, we’re known for being able to tell stories within the confines of television movies. Those confines have to do with the way the story is told, the pacing and time on screen, and obviously the budget requirements as well. WS: Spain, France and Italy have traditionally been strong markets for TV movies. Given their economic difficulties, are you still dealing with those markets, and how is business there? SZEW: Yes, we are, and business is better than ever because the television movie is still a great value proposition for those broadcasters. There has been a tradition in those three markets—and others around the world—of major broadcasters having very secure slots for these movies that still garner amazing ratings and market share. And, I can tell you that after many, many conversations with broadcasters, I am aware that successful TV movies provide among the highest P&L [profit and loss] propositions available. WS: Are there other territories where you are

seeing high demand or increased demand? SZEW: Yes, though it depends on the genre. There have been some stable markets like 26 World Screen 11/13


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the U.K., Australia and Canada—the English-speaking markets. Latin America has been stronger in certain genres, too, much stronger than it used to be—not just for us but also for the industry as a whole. In the past five years or so, there has been much more maturity in the Eastern European countries, and as competition on the channel side has grown, we have seen an increase in demand as well. WS: What trends are you seeing in the TV-movie business? SZEW: Calling them all TV movies is a bit of a misnomer, as the market has changed. Sometimes movies are produced not necessarily with only a broadcaster in mind. And that is where there has been a bit of a change. It used to be that you would hear, especially at the AFM, of straight-to-video titles. That is really no longer the case because the DVD market has changed, but there are movies that are produced with VOD, premium VOD or theatrical releases in mind. So it’s not just looking at a straight broadcast model. WS: Are you finding opportunities in VOD or other digital platforms? SZEW: We are certainly exploring quite a lot. We’ve also had a number of movies that were done with partners in those areas that ended up on broadcast as one of the windows. There has been growth in licensing this type of content, and there is an active marketplace between the different platforms as to who controls what rights and when. We, as content providers, are sorting through all of that with its challenges and great opportunities as well.

WS: Even though the landscape is more complicated,

WS: Are you seeing the sequence of windows

WS: Is the pool of buyers you see at the AFM very dif-

changing? SZEW: Not in every instance.There are certain projects that are commissioned, like an original movie by a U.S. network, and that will have a worldwide premiere on that network. But there are other types of content that still get distributed overseas that are not produced with a U.S. broadcaster covering most of the production costs; this is where the market has shifted, as the international component has increased and the various ancillary windows have expanded to include VOD, EST [electronic sell-through], streaming, etc.

are you still seeing TV movies as a good business? SZEW: Absolutely. For us in particular it is a challenging but good business because we have developed the ability to play in different parts of the value chain of content creation and distribution. This has proven strategically important—we are able to get involved in projects very early because we have the capability to develop, produce, finance and distribute when called to do all those things, or play in any of those areas when the opportunity arises.

ferent from what you see at MIPCOM? SZEW: That is what’s interesting about the AFM; it

provides us with opportunities to take the know-how we have in the TV-movie space and really discuss the different windows and the different marketplaces. In other words, when we go to MIPCOM and then a few weeks later we go to the AFM, some of the meetings are the same, with broadcasters, and some are with platforms and/or aggregators that open and expand the possibilities of how the windowing will work and how our content is exhibited. 11/13 World Screen 27

Keeping in tune: Among the crop of features being presented by MarVista is A Family Reunion, also known as Banner 4th of July.


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in the spotlight news

Artist View’s

Scott Jones throw up a bunch of cheap condos in a high-rent area.We supply the producers with the research and development. We say, if you want to make this type of movie, then it should be in this budget range and it should have this much set aside for your cast. If you do those things, you are making a product that the market should be interested in.

Scott Jones started his career owning video retail outlets, and then served as executive producer on more than a dozen feature films. He channeled his passion for financing and marketing films into his own company, Artist View Entertainment, which he founded in 1991. As the company’s president, he has been building relationships with producers, shepherding their projects into movies that can find homes on U.S. free- and pay-TV networks and also satisfy the needs of international broadcasters.

WS: As the indie movie business changes, do television broadcasters play a greater role in your business compared to 10 or 15 years ago? JONES: We saw that change coming many years ago. We started to focus a lot on TV movies and the pay- and freetelevision business because we saw the decline in the video numbers almost ten years ago. The funny thing about the digital world is that it’s made the business even more niche-driven, so you really have to know what those specific channels want. For example, you are not going to sell a family movie to the Syfy channel.You are not going to sell a sci-fi film to ABC Family.You really have to pay attention to what these buyers are looking for.

WS: Since you set up Artist View, have you focused on

certain genres of movies, or do you try to offer a broad range to your clients? JONES: The company was always set up to have a wide variety of product available. I used to own video stores and grew up with the idea that you had to have something new for every section of the store. So when I switched into this company I kept the same philosophy, because one minute you are sitting with a buyer from Disney Channel and the next minute you are talking to a DVD buyer from anywhere in the world. Normally, the video client is looking for something that is more action or action/adventure/thriller, whereas the Disney Channel person isn’t looking for that. We’re very focused on being a sales and marketing company and want to offer something to anyone who comes through the door. We have a wide variety of genres available. WS: What is Artist View able to offer producers as the

WS: Is there still a good market for TV movies in the U.S.? JONES: They have to be very specific. Thankfully, there

are channels like Lifetime and Syfy, and to a lesser degree now ABC Family and some others, that will still buy independent product if you have the right content. But we still depend on the pay-TV channels, especially Showtime and Starz and to a lesser degree HBO, because they have a bit of a different model. You can get lucky with the odd basic-cable deal, and then, of course, there is this new channel called Netflix! They fall right in between. They are offering what the video stores of yesterday did: you can watch what you want, when you want. These on-demand channels are going to continue to play a big part as the business continues to develop. How that is ultimately going to affect our business, it’s a little too early to really define. But I believe that in the next couple of years we will start to get a better idea of how we can monetize the situation and where the opportunities will be.

landscape becomes more complex? JONES: The toughest part of our job is making sure that

we communicate with producers and explain what the market is like. There is no sugar-coating the fact that it has changed and that if you made a movie ten years ago, you’re probably not going to have the same results today, depending on what movie it is. We get involved early with producers, we review their scripts, we talk about who we think is going to work casting-wise. We really talk about the budgets and how much they want to spend on the movie and say, does that make sense in this marketplace today? If you are going to make this kind of movie for this amount of money, are you crazy or not? We offer the “Are you crazy?” element! [Think of other businesses;] you don’t

WS: What has the international demand for your movies been? JONES: We spent a lot of years building relationships with the majority of broadcasters around the world, and they have been our bread and butter since the decline of the DVD business.They are very specific about what they want. The quality of the programming has to be there. Certain channels are looking for certain types of movies. If you happen to have a female-driven thriller that would appeal to Lifetime, there are also specific female-geared channels in Europe that are most likely going to be interested in that film. Once again, you have to know what your customers are looking for. 11/13 World Screen 29

By Anna Carugati


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market trends

AFM’s Jonathan Wolf Jonathan Wolf has been the executive VP of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) and managing director of the American Film Market (AFM) since 1998. In these positions, he has not only held a front-row seat to all the developments in the indie film industry, he has also helped expand the AFM, the market that serves some 8,000 participants from more than 70 countries. He talks to World Screen about the most important concerns of any filmmaker: finding money and distribution.

WS: What are some of the greatest challenges facing indie producers? WOLF: For producers it’s always about financing. You can go back to the days of Orson Welles; he spent 5 percent of his time making films and 95 percent of his time hustling. So for the independent producer [it is about] finding the great story By Anna Carugati and then finding the funding— that is the eternal challenge. Story comes first, the dough comes next, and I don’t think that will ever change. WS: How much of an impact did the financial crisis of 2008–2009 have on the independent film industry? What sources of financing do indie producers have today? WOLF: Presales have always been a key part of funding films, going back to the ’70s. It’s a way for independents to offset risk, to raise production financing and to gain marketplace pre-acceptance before a film actually goes into production. From 2004 to 2006, when the economy was really going on steroids and investors were unhappy with their 15-percent returns on conservative investments, a lot of equity money flowed into the film industry and more and more films started to get made on pure equity without any presales. We got to a point by 2006 when there were too many films in the marketplace. For example, the AFM normally screens about 400 films; back in 2006 we screened 530 films. While the marketplace is somewhat elastic, it’s not that elastic. This caused prices to collapse. If a buyer was looking for ten actionadventure films for their cable networks, [suddenly] there were 30 [options] and the buyer could negotiate much better deals. Usually, when buyers prebuy, they are taking two risks: one is that they understand what their audience wants, and two is that the film will actually be made as 30 World Screen 11/13

promised—not every film gets made as promised. But from 2004 to 2006, so many films were made that buyers didn’t have to prebuy and take that second risk.They could come to AFM and buy finished films on the spot market for less than similar films were being offered on the presale market. In business, this is called an inverted pricing curve. Remember when it was actually cheaper to buy an airline ticket the day before a flight than five months earlier? The airline ticket-pricing curve inverted, and this is what happens when there is some sort of shock to the system. But this shock in the film industry came before the economic meltdown. There was too much money coming in, which created a glut of product, and that meant that the companies that relied on presales were having a terrible time because they couldn’t presell their films. And the glut caused prices to collapse. It took the subprime crisis in the U.S. in 2008 to bring sanity back to the production levels of independent film. WS: How did that happen? WOLF: When the subprime crisis occurred, a lot of the

equity that was coming into the business dried up. And films that shouldn’t have been made weren’t being made anymore. Production levels came back to historical levels; it took about a year or so to work out films in the pipeline. Once those actually came to market and got burned off, you had production levels and marketplace demand in sync—they have been for the last three or four years, and that’s how it is today. The presale market is back to where it has been historically. Now it’s back to the more traditional model of a blend of equity, presales and incentives or soft money. WS: What are some of the challenges distributors are

facing? WOLF: Of course piracy is always first. Everybody

looks at piracy through the eyes of the studios, when a $500-million-grossing film is only going to make $480 million. And, of course, a $20 million loss is a big deal. For the independents it means films are not going to get made and people aren’t going to get jobs. If a buyer in a certain country says, piracy is too rampant and I can’t prebuy this film, then the producer can’t make the film, because he was relying on presales to finance it. For independents, piracy is cutting down on the number of productions and it’s taking away jobs, and for the studios it’s trimming a profit margin. The perspective is very different. In addition, distributors want to represent films that are going to resonate globally. And business models continue to evolve.VOD is growing as a revenue source, but it’s not yet growing as a source of presales. DVD is slowly going down as a source of revenue but still remains a source of presales, so we are in a bit of a period of change, but most of these companies know how to adapt to that because that’s what they do.


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on the world’s end record IN THE STARS

Almost every national constitution forbids the establishment of an official state religion. But this secular bent doesn’t stop people from looking to the heavens for answers to life’s most troublesome questions: Will I succeed? Will I find love? Will I get cast in an erotic drama? Every day, papers and magazines worldwide print horoscopes—projections for people born in a specific month, based on the positions of the stars and planets. While many people rely on these daily, weekly or monthly messages for guidance in their lives, some readers skip over them entirely. The editors of WS recognize that

Madonna

Charlie Hunnam

Kim Kardashian

Mario Lopez

Madonna

Mario Lopez

Global distinction: Rebellious pop icon. Sign: Leo (b. August 16, 1958) Significant date: October 8, 2013 Noteworthy activity: Madge is reportedly caught

Global distinction: Chiseled celeb. Sign: Libra (b. October 10, 1973) Significant date: October 12, 2013 Noteworthy activity: While celebrating his birthday in

texting during the New York Film Festival premiere of 12 Years a Slave. When a fellow moviegoer asks her to stop, she allegedly snaps,“It’s for business…enslaver!”The movie-theater chain has since banned the Material Girl from ever watching a film at its facilities again until she apologizes. Horoscope: “It’s a great day to break the rules, or at least bend them a bit—within reason, of course!” (sasstrology.com)

Las Vegas, the former Saved by the Bell star accidentally splits his pants near his private parts. The shameless Extra host posts a pic of the mishap on Twitter, with a caption that says, “Uh oh... Ripped my suit getting into the car. It’s @RatedMOfficial kinda night... #PantsTooTight #Undies.” Horoscope: “You are likely to be humiliated and some unseen problems might crop up in your field of activity.” (bhrigumantra.com)

Charlie Hunnam

Donald Glover

Global distinction: British bad boy. Sign: Aries (b. April 10, 1980) Significant date: October 12, 2013 Noteworthy activity: The Sons of Anarchy hunk drops

Global distinction: Community comedian. Sign: Libra (b. September 25, 1983) Significant date: October 13, 2013 Noteworthy activity: When the actor announces his

out of his starring role in the high-profile film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey.The film studio cites the star’s “immersive TV schedule” for preventing him from committing to the erotic drama, however the buzz from various sources is that he got cold feet and was overwhelmed by all the attention. Horoscope: “Don’t be afraid to look forward to the next adventure that is around the corner. Move with faith and confidence.” (horoscopedates.com)

departure from NBC’s Community, many assume it is to focus on his rap career or upcoming FX comedy. However, Glover reveals reasons that are much more personal in a series of handwritten messages posted on Instagram. In several of the posts he admits insecurities about his craft, writing: “I feel like I’m letting everyone down,” and “I’m afraid I’m here for nothing.” Horoscope: “You may feel the desire to just run away or withdraw from any sort of demand or responsibility, so take a hint and rest. Brace yourself for an emotional fallout for the next several days.” (horoscopedates.com)

these little pearls of random foresight occasionally prove prophetic. But rather than poring over charts of the zodiac to predict world events, our staff prefers to use past horoscopes in an attempt to legitimate the science. As you can see here, had some of these media figures remembered to consult their horoscopes on significant dates, they could have avoided a few surprises.

Kim Kardashian Global distinction: Reality diva. Sign: Libra (b. October 21, 1980) Significant date: October 15, 2013 Noteworthy activity: The engagement ring given to

Kardashian by ex-hubby Kris Humphries sells during an auction to an anonymous buyer for more than $600,000. The 20-carat rock supposedly set the NBA player back $2 million when he bought it for the Keeping Up with the Kardashians co-star for their 2011 engagement, which resulted in a 72-day marriage. Horoscope: “The next few weeks [are] part of the process of closure.You will be able to put the last two years in context, some years from now, and everything will look and feel so different to you!” (cosmopolitan.co.uk) 34 World Screen 11/13

Craig Robinson Global distinction: The Office funny man. Sign: Scorpio (b. October 25, 1971) Significant date: October 10, 2013 Noteworthy activity: Robinson gets detained in the

Bahamas after customs officials learn that the then 41year-old is holding a small amount of marijuana and suspicious-looking pills, which turn out to be ecstasy. The comedian pleads guilty to two counts of drug possession and gets slapped with a $1,000 fine. Horoscope: “Taking risks is fun, but not if you’re reckless.Try to show some prudence and discretion, just this once.” (shine.yahoo.com)


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