Premiere Pictures Film Fund
There is a great deal of discussion amongst filmmakers and distributors about how to re-invent the independent film industry in order to make economic sense for investors who have traditionally put money into films with the reasonable expectation of those funds being returned and earning a profit. With the proliferation of digital cameras and editing software that make it possible for nearly anyone to make a movie, the marketplace has been flooded by (mostly) bad films which have little chance of recouping their costs, never mind making a profit. The sheer number of these films has brought prices down to new lows, a simple result of over-supply and only a small increase in demand.
Despite the problems facing the industry, there are unique opportunities for the right kind of films or programming, made in specific budget ranges, with that irreplaceable commodity called stars. If you ask most distributors what elements films need to be successful, they will often respond, “Three things: stars, stars, and stars.” Of course, they are not talking about George Clooney, Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, all of whom are producing their own films or getting fees that would exceed the complete budget of an independent film. But there are many actors, well known throughout the world from their feature work and increasingly from their TV work, and these are the stars who can turn an unknown independent film into something with a great deal of appeal for both audiences and buyers for all media around the world. The little secret that’s hardly ever talked about is that most actors, no matter what kinds of fees they’ve been paid in the past, want to work, and often they will work for much lower fees than in the past.
What kind of films are we talking about? Certainly not artsy efforts by first time filmmakers, or obscure stories about self-destructive characters that never redeem themselves through some effort or love. The Premiere Film Fund will focus on what are known as genre films: horror, science fiction, monster movies, westerns with a twist, and teen comedies. Given the success of horror and science fiction, we will initially focus on these two genres, aiming for an 18-39 demographic. This is currently the sweet spot in genre films, and has been for a long time, and it shows no sign of abating.
These two genres offer a great deal of production value that until the age of digital technology was only available to high budget films. In addition, co-production or subsidy monies are available for shooting in certain states and foreign countries, adding to the resources needed to create first class motion pictures. Furthermore, the addition of crowd-funding, which is essentially free money from fans, can push the budget to a higher level without the need of repayment to “investors.”
Our plan is to utilize mid-career filmmakers, writers, directors of photography, and other crew specialties, including people with experience shooting for television, where schedules are tighter and require more work to be done in less time. These are professionals who think more about “getting the shot in the can” than creating a film for Sundance or Cannes. In other words, they are seasoned craftspeople who can give us more bang for each buck spent, and ultimately more zeros in the number on the bottom line.
Working with existing distribution partners, both studios and television networks, these films will be assured meaningful distribution. The object of the fund is to make good genre films that recoup their negative costs, and make a profit for the partners, investors and participants in the projects.