Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Los Angeles' Favorite Italian

Eleonora Granata-Jenkinson, Los Angeles' film community's favorite Italian, long known and respected for her extensive and impressive knowledge of the film market in the US and abroad has been named by the Italian company FilmMaster to direct their new Los Angeles office. Americans met Eleonora Granata first when she handled acquisitions at RAI and later as Sr. VP of Production at Pandora Cinema. In L.A. she was VP of Acquisitions at Turner Pictures, later the Venice Biennale's Los Angeles representative. She has continued consulting in acquisitions and programming, and the entire film business commnunity in L.A. congratulates her on this move.

FilmMaster, one of the world’s most prestigious production companies and the top production company in Italy, will be more available to its American clientele who have increasingly turned to FilmMaster in recent years for production services in Italy.

FilmMaster’s CEO Ada Bonvini explained: “In recent years, we have become increasingly aware of the importance of establishing a base in Los Angeles. Both to meet the needs of our Italian clientele who are looking for American talent, and also to satisfy the major studios’ requirements for Italian production services. We heard terrific things about Eleonora and, as soon as we met her, we realized she was the right person to represent us.”

Since 1976, FilmMaster has been the leader in commercial production for the Italian market. They have produced over 3500 commercials, including some of the most memorable campaigns of the last decade. Since its inception, FilmMaster has won hundreds of awards, including a total of 27 Lion Awards at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes. No other Italian production company can boast such a record.

FilmMaster’s success derives not only from its unquestionable excellence in producing, but also from its collaboration with many of the world’s most outstanding filmmakers. To cite only a few names, they have worked with legends like Federico Fellini, David Lynch, and Spike Lee, as well as directors Michael Haussman, Sam Bayer, Daniele Luchetti, Ferzan Ozpetek, Sergio Castellito and Chris Cunningham.

In 2009 FilmMaster entered into a partnership agreement with Cinecittà Entertainment, a collaboration that provides FilmMaster with considerable advantages for foreign production, as well as significant tax relief.

FilmMaster is part of FilmMaster Group, along with K-events, FilmMaster Television and FilmMaster Events Dubai.

Eleonora Granata Jenkinson
3227 Elvido Drive, Los Angeles 90049
Telephone : + 1 ( 310) 440 4030

Skype: eleonora.granata1

Saturday, May 1, 2010

One Way to Help DIYers

Hi, Peter Belsito here, guest blogging today.

Anyone who knows me and has listened to me mouthing off about 'our film world' knows that I have a one world view of filmmaking and the business.

That is to say I believe the US business (mainly LA and then NYC also) is tied inextricably to the indie world, to festivals, to the burgeoning DIY movement (and the companies and people affiliated with same) here in the US ... AND to all aspects of same on the international film scene. Simple, one world, one cinema.

The relentless march of technology (for now 'digital') drags us all along in its wake.

So ... what's new? What should we be paying attention to? What's it all mean? and its founder Adam Chapnick provide a very good example of what's new and good...brought to us by the amazing Ted Hope on his excellent Blog had the below from Adam about and the work they're doing, the opportunities they are offering our film community.

I cannot improve on what's below so I reprint it here in full. April 20 at 7:36am

Filmmakers vs. Aggregators: Distribber speaks of Win, Win!

Distribber was recently acquired by IndieGoGo, and in the wake of the publicity surrounding the announcement, we received a tremendous outpouring of enthusiasm and interest in Distribber’s service. As is inevitable, there’s been some confusion around what Distribber does and doesn’t do.

Distribber was created to help rights holders maximize the payback from their work and investment.

More specifically, Distribber was conceived as a solution to several persistent complaints from filmmakers and other creative rights holders about distributors in general and aggregators in particular. (“Aggregator” is the term used for a company that acts as a gatekeeper between a rights holder and a retail platform, such as iTunes, Netflix, Hulu or Cable VOD operators like Comcast, Time Warner, etc.)

The complaints surrounded 3 specific pain points:

Complaint #1. Eternal revenue-share for finite service

Aggregators (other than Distribber) work on a revenue-share basis, meaning that they make money by keeping between 15% and 50% of your revenue that they collect from the retail platforms on your behalf. They take this portion of revenue for the entire term of your deal with them. The complaint from filmmakers was that while aggregators take this money “forever,” they didn’t seem to be working forever. To many, it seemed that aggregators placed their film on the platforms and then moved on.

This situation was even more frustrating for larger rights holders — production companies, sales reps, etc. — who controlled the rights to several (often dozens) of titles, and who engaged in significant marketing and grassroots outreach but lacked access to iTunes, except through revenue share entities. The shared-revenue structure has continued to frustrate these larger companies as they have been the core demand-drivers.

Now, in defense of aggregators, encoding a film, ushering it through Quality Control “QC” and having the access to place it on iTunes or Netflix or Hulu or Cable VOD or anywhere else is indeed a valuable service — and often a time-consuming one.

However, it seemed that one could put a fair price on that service that accounted for the work and value of relationships, and offer it to filmmakers cleanly, without the burden of a revenue-share. This would enable a filmmaker, production company or other rights holder to know their cash outflow in advance, and enjoy 100% of the benefit of their film’s success. So, Distribber adopted a flat-fee-for-service model.

Complaint #2. Large deducted expenses, often including fees for marketing services that seemed unhelpful or nonexistent

Filmmakers complained that distributors and aggregators deducted expenses that seemed unreasonable, like $1500 for encoding, or an array of costs for marketing services that the filmmaker wasn’t sure had actually been done.

Here, the opportunity was again to charge a fair price, once. So, Distribber adopted a fair price. The $1295 one-time fee for iTunes placement was less than some rev-share companies charged for the encoding alone, and after only 185 sales at $9.99 on iTunes, rights holders have been entirely in profit.

Without putting too fine a point on it, it bears emphasizing: after 185 iTunes sales at $9.99, a rights holder is in profit for the rest of the film’s life on iTunes. Going forward, Distribber charges $79 per year for account access, collection and sales stats.

The best evidence that we were on the right track came when the Age of Stupid production team chose to use Distribber — they have been incredibly successful trailblazers in the hybrid distribution movement, and their endorsement told us that our service is providing its intended benefits for its ideal users.

To compare Distribber’s model with revenue-share models, consider the illustration below. At 1000 iTunes sales (retail price $9.99), rights holders give up 174% more money under a 15% rev-share than they pay to Distribber ($3,550 compared to $1295). Under a 25% rev-share, rights holders pay 228% more ($4,250). At 10,000 sales, Distribber’s one-time fee doesn’t change, but a 15% rev-share deal now costs ten times the Distribber fee ($13,000), while a 25% rev-share deal costs over fifteen times more ($20,000). Obviously, at 20,000 sales, the disparity only increases.

Looking at revenue, with Distribber’s flat fee, at 1000 iTunes sales, rights holders are paid 65% more than they would be with a 15% rev-share deal ($5,705 vs. $3,450), and they’re paid more than twice what they’d get from a 25% deal ($5,626 vs. $2,750). At 10,000 sales, Distribber clients keep $11,705 more than they would under a 15% rev-share, and $18,705 more than they would under a 25% rev-share. And again, at 20,000 sales, a rights holder does even better.

What A Filmmaker Is Charged, With:  What A Filmmaker Keeps, With:


15% Rev-Share

25% Rev-Share


15% Rev-Share

25% Rev-Share

At 1000 iTunes sales







At 10000 iTunes sales







At 20000 iTunes sales







(The chart assumes Rev-share companies deduct from filmmaker’s revenue $2500 for encoding and/or marketing.)

And now, with Distribber’s addition of Amazon VOD and Netflix’s streaming service, we decided that as a limited-time promotion, for the same $1295, Distribber clients could have our Amazon and Netflix service for free. This of course only makes the above comparison even more lopsided in Distribber clients’ favor, since it adds revenue without adding any expense.

Complaint #3. Late payments, and sometimes no payment

Filmmakers complained that even after resigning themselves to a rev-share deal, and agreeing to the small payout left after expenses and revenue share deductions, they had to chase distributors and aggregators for reports and checks, and sometimes with none being sent at all.

So, Distribber has decided to do away with reports and checks, and instead employ a user account system, whereby clients login with a username and password. Here they gain access to collection stats by platform, and see their collected funds balance. Clients withdraw their own money on demand, with the click of a button. Having all sales stats and collection in one account removed a major, time-consuming headache from our clients lives for $79 a year.

Next: More Pain, More Answers

Even a casual follower of the distribution business knows that there are plenty of areas it can be improved, and in plenty of ways. Distribber is continuing to actively developing new methods and models to serve rights holders across a variety of platforms, from internet to cable to mobile.

With the proliferation of tools like Wordpress, Facebook, Twitter and all the plugins and apps that support those services, it’s more possible than ever for innovative companies, teams — or even individuals — to disrupt old marketing models and connect with audiences. Filmmaker/marketers like Gary Hustwit, Lance Weiler, Tiffany Shlain and others have shown the way to create demand via their own efforts and investment. Peter Broderick is shepherding rights holders through a hybrid strategy that teaches careful allocation of specific rights to companies that are highly specialized, with the goal of maximizing the revenue a filmmaker keeps.

The key thing to understand about Distribber is that it’s a powerful tool to help enterprising rights holders keep the most of their own money. The more skilled you are at connecting with audience, the more buzz that you’ve built, the better Distribber’s deal works for you.

ADAM CHAPNICK is CEO of, an IndieGoGo company that places film and TV content on digital sales platforms such as iTunes, Netflix and Amazon for a flat fee while allowing filmmakers to keep 100% of their revenue.

Adam can be reached at .

Countdown to Cannes 16 Days: The Match Factory's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Cannes Countdown: 16 Days: The Match Factory's
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
aka Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat

The Match Factory is one of the most dynamic and important international sales agents. To learn how international independent coproductions of the festival type film get made, you need to know origins of The Match Factory itself. Founder Karl Baumgartner is The Maestro of International Coproduction. He has been producing since 1991 and has at least two production companies, one of which is Pandora which goes back as a German distribution company to the 1950s and which with partner Reinhard Brundig is a partner in The Match Factory.  In 1963 Baumie, as he is known to his friends, prebought Jarmisch's Down By Law which immediately put both Jarmisch and his producer Jim Stark into international play.  Beside their slate of current films, they represent the entire library of Aki Kaurismäki.

Cofounder and partner, Michael Weber is one of the originators (after Wouter Barendrecht of Fortissimo) of the idea that international sales agents do not have to stick to films from their own country but can introduce films from other lands. Where Wouter brought Asian cinema to the west, Michael brought Latin American cinema to the world when he began his career in international sales at Bavaria Films International. This was the same moment that the venerable Bavaria Film Studio was resurrecting itself and designing its vertical identity.  Before that Michael was producing for TV and even acting occasionally.

The Match Factory launched in 2006 with Madeinusa, perhaps brought over by Michael from acquaintances made while at Bavaria. The international sales agency international arthouse films by acclaimed directors and promising young talents, whose films distinguish themselves through originality and style.

The Cannes competition film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul is the penultimate example of how a film from a perhaps underfunded country can get enough financing to be made and delivered. The director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul , has already had two films in Cannes (Tropical Malady and Blissfully Yours) which certainly helps, but is not crucial to this saga. The Illumination Films producers Simon Fields and Keith Griffiths also have long histories in the international film and festival world.  Simon left his long term tenure as head of London's govenment funded distribution company and archive to go to his long held tenure as artistic director of the Rotterdam Film Festival.  Keith has been producing art films of the best kind since the late 70s.

The cynic might say that all this is what made the film acceptable to Cannes. But in the international independent film world, acquaintance with the players can very soon lead a young inexperienced (but talented!) filmmaker along the same path. And to learn how to make international waves, it is necessary to learn who is swimming in international waters.  It is important to know how such a film got made. All filmmakers, from the James Camerons to the Gregg Arakis and Apichatpong Wwerasethakuls to the still unrecognized filmmakers of the world would, if asked, acknowledge that it takes large and small miracles along the way to actually get a film made. My first awareness of this film was through the World Cinema Fund an initiative begun in 2004 at the Berlinale which develops co-operation strategies reflecting on cultural identities. Support from WCF often motivates other investors and institutions to participate in productions. Or perhaps it was from the Hubert Bals Fund the initiative operating at the Rotterdam Film Festival just prior to Berlin which funds development and post production of films from the developing countries of the world.  Take a look at the credits of this film. Each producer or co-producer enabled funding of certain types to take place.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives aka Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat. 
UK/ Thailand/ France/ Germany/ Spain, 114 minutes

Suffering from acute kidney failure, Uncle Boonmee has chosen to spend his final days surrounded by his loved ones in the countryside. Surprisingly, the ghost of his deceased wife appears to care for him, and his long lost son returns home in a non-human form. Contemplating the reasons for his illness, Boonmee treks through the jungle with his family to a mysterious hilltop cave -- the birthplace of his first life...

Produced by:
Simon Field, Keith Griffiths - Illumination Films/Past Lives Productions (UK)
Apichatpong Weerasethakul - Kick the Machine Films (Thailand)

Co-Produced by:
Charles de Meaux - Anna Sanders Films (France) This brings French ticket receipt monies and other French subsidy dollars.
Michael Weber - The Match Factory (Germany).  This guarantees international presales.
Hans W. Geissendoerfer - GFF Geissendoerfer Film- und Fernsehproduktion KG (Germany)
Luis Miñarro - Eddie Saeta, S.A. (Spain). This accesses Spanish or European coin.

In Association With:
ZDF/Arte (Germany) This brings production and TV money

With the Participation of:
Fonds Sud Cinema (France).  French subsidies for developing countries.
Ministère de la culture et de la communication CNC (France). Insures a portion of movie ticket receipts will go toward film production.
Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes (France)

With the Support of:
Ministry of Culture (Thailand)
World Cinema Fund (Germany)
Hubert Bals Fund, International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherlands)

Associate Producers:
Caroleen Feeney (USA)
Josslyn Barnes & Danny Glover - Louverture Films (USA)

In Association With:
Haus der Kunst, Munich (Germany)

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) Liverpool (UK)

Animate Projects, London (UK


Recreation a newly launched international sales company, had a successful market debut at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival, with the Panorama Special opening film Kawasaki's Rose by Academy Award nominated director Jan Hrebejk. Part of Recreation Media, an emerging group of interlinked entertainment companies, Recreation will source its product from a number of content providers at arm’s length, and by entering into alliances with exciting filmmakers, producers and other third party rights holders, building its slate around a few key partnerships.

Recreation’s first partnership of this kind is a multi-picture deal with Menemsha Films, a leading distributor of critically acclaimed films who set a record by representing 5 Academy Award nominated pictures 5 years in a row. Kawasaki's Rose, the first title in the partnership, received 2 prizes for best film at Berlin, each awarded by independent juries for the festival’s Panorama section. In his rave review, Variety’s Derek Elley noted that “[Kawasaki’s] Rose would easily have given some bloom to this year’s Berlinale in a competition slot,” and indieWIRE called Kawasaki's Rose “the one undeniable ‘find’ of the festival”.

While offering a broad range of film, television and digital media product under one roof, Recreation will segment its slate into distinctly branded labels, each targeting clearly identified niches, audiences and formats.

Entering Cannes with Two Gates of Sleep, a much anticipated film from USA and Ludo Boeken's German drama Saviors in the Night produced by Karl Baumgartner, one of Europe's most distinguished producers of international festival films, Recreation may have more news to offer as Cannes approaches and will certainly have more news as Cannes progresses.

Keep tuned to Ariel Veneziano at Recreation.