AFM 2016 – What’s In the Market Today – Part #2



Still downstairs, I visited Adler and  Associates Entertainments, manned by Jeremy Lunt as VP of acquisitions, is the child of Marie  Adler.  They seek films by the world and for the world and look to represent all different nations, cultures and religions.  "Everyone deserves to have their stories told in film."  Some of their forthcoming films include The Mason Brothers - Oceans 11 meets The Town - with Keith Sutliff; Grotto - an Italian (English dubbed) kids movie where 5  children lost in a cave meet the grotto creature, an ET type character, who, because he's lonely  doesn't want to show the kids the way out. 

Marie's own movie Sundown - a documentary about surviving skin cancer and the difference between Western and Eastern medical treatments.  They are also featuring a biographical movie about Mangore, a popular 30's Mexican guitarist.  Finding Hope deals with a man who, after a car accident, must regain his faith. 

Jeremy, a writer himself, says that buyers are currently looking for genres  that come from the heart as family, action, and faith based but that later must be universally relatable with a positive feeling that can bring people together and teach life lessons while bridging the generation gap.  “Titles,” he says, “have to catch the eye and feel as if they will be profitable.”   In fact, a title can often inspire a whole movie.   


AFM RynoRyder Boyer Poster

Also  on the third floor, I met briefly with Ryan McCoy, the owner and producer of RynoRyderBoyer Productions started his company a year ago with partner actor stunt man Josh Boyer they are also first time AFM visitors.  Each man had extensive experience in the industry before branching out on their own.  Their first offering is Evidence, which starts production in February.  A found footage movie, it is a continuation from one that they had done in 2012.    Their second film, written by Ryan, The Apocalypse, with a budget of 15-25 million is an ensemble movie that takes place after the Rapture.  While not being a faith movie, it does deal with the four horsemen as death rides in.  These producers are shooting things slightly different by filming the back stories of the major characters as vignettes. 

Mostly this company focuses on horror, thriller, family, and action but basically they want to tell a great story.  They’re pleased to say that even in the first days pre-sales have already been made.


Colbalt Pictures poster

Colbalt Pictures run by Travis Mann enjoys faith and family films that have good messages without being too preachy.   Often he can assist with financing for the right story.  Among the films he has are Sabina K- what happens when you lose everything that means anything to you;  Princess Cut - somewhat overly Christian but one that explores a girl's desperation to marry and Alison's Chance, written by Bruce Marchano, that tells the story of a young  pregnant teen who, while at the abortion clinic, discovers God in disguise as the janitor.  "The movie is about life and not making having  judgments."

His real focus, however, is Irena's Vow. Partnering with Michael Ohoven, this is an amazing tale it centers around a Catholic woman who risks her life by hiding 12 Jews from the Nazi's inside their own headquarters for nearly two years. Written by Dan Gordon and to be directed by  Polish director, Jan  Komasa, Travis traveled to Poland to experience as many of the events as he, himself, could.  Excited about having a Polish heroine, the government there has agreed to assist him.    Shooting on this begins shortly and I look forward to seeing it.


Steven Paul of Crystal Light and Serita Stevens, writer - photo by Henry Tarlow

Steven Paul's Crystal Sky Productions acquires films for domestic distribution and at the AFM has over 40 movies for sale.  An IFTA member from early on, he's seen many changes in the entertainment industry over the years. 

The company does both production as well as distribution.  Lara Minassian is their head of releasing and distribution.  While Mr. Paul looks for several types of stories, he likes family, good solid thrillers, action adventure, supernatural and even some horror, but even those now need names to stand out.   Faith films have to have a good message without preaching.  Independent films can be a difficult sell.  Dramas are a difficult sell unless a major star is attached.   One of their films  J.L. Ranch is now being shown on the Hallmark Channel.   Another film they have is - Tetken -  based on a Japanese video game.  "Almost anything with IP (intellectual property) are easier to sell.  "You have to know where the audience awareness is and projects should have home entertainment as well as television value.  Mid-range budgets are the best.


New writers/filmmakers often make the mistake of speed versus quality. The market place is tighter than ever before.  One has to conscious of the genre they are writing in.


TriCoast Worldwide - Are We Not Cats

At TriCoast Worldwide  I spoke to Marcy L Hamilton.  As producers, financiers and distributors, they do just about everything.  They also have a great “How To Craft” section which includes both audio and visual instruction for the readers. 

One of their next fun movies I am looking forward to is Are We Not Cats.   Xander Robin  directed this.  “He’s a writer-director name to watch”, says The Hollywood Reporter. This debut feature film was selected as the closing film for the Venice Film Festival’s critic week.


Also the Brooklyn Banker - a mobster crime story about a timid banker who's good with numbers and is recruited by the mob-- has great potential as does Shorebreak - the Clark Little- a documentary about his daredevil photography with breathtaking action and the number one photographer on Instagram.


TriCoast Worldwide - Shorebreak

Currently she is looking for female-oriented stories, especially ones that have bullying themes. (Gee, maybe Trump can write something for her!) 

"The Chinese are buying up many of our films."  She explained why they can't sell supernatural or ghost oriented stories.  Since there is no recognized religion in China, the presence of ghosts indicate an afterworld.  She is also looking for finished films - mainly action and family, but thrillers are still selling well.  It seems that even horror now needs a decent star to really succeed. 


As a guest of Global Genesis Group and Charles Morris, Jr,, their VP of development and acquisition,  I had the privilege of seeing their new film, Escape Room, starring Skeet Ulrich and Sean Young. This contained horror based on the new craze where people are locked in a room for an hour and must find a way out before they are "snuffed."  Only in this case the story, with its ticking clock and high stakes, becomes all too real.   Already they've had over a thousand sales offers. 

He will be coming out with a new animated Troll movie later this year entitled Troll: A Tale of a Tail. The film will be directed by Kevin  Munroe of the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle  fame and be in theaters December, 2017.  

As both a production and distribution company, Charles looks for family, feel good, animation, and character driven stories. Faith is all right, but he prefers ones based on true stories.  He prefers scripts with attachments or that come with a co-producer.  "Interactive stories are growing and fantasy in popular."  The company is currently in pre-production of a new horror movie "Do You See Me?"

As both a production and distribution company, Global Genesis Group looks for family films, genre projects in horror and action, TV series, animation, and character driven stories as well as faith-based features.  Mr. Morris, Jr., states that Global Genesis Groups performs to receive scripts with attachments.  He states that interactive stories are growing and fantasy is becoming more popular.  

The market is changing drastically.  DVD sales have dropped and digitally is growing. Most movies now must have a broadcast deal or limited theatrical release to succeed to the best of their abilities.  He tells writers/producers to understand the marketability. Who is the audience you are aiming for? Stories must be beyond good as the competition is fierce.  And as several others had told me horror even needs name recognition to succeed.  Understanding possible licensing avenues is also a key to the movie's success. 



Star Paws - California Pictures Poster

California Pictures run by Steve Itsock, a former banker turned writer, producer, distributor has numerous offerings for the market.  He is currently offering a second London Range; Rewind about a young man who must develop his music in order to go to college; and my favorite Star Paws - where cats and dogs go out on a galactic adventure.  (This is now available in Wal Mart and on Redbox.)  Fear of Water is one of the few LGBT films that seems to be doing well in sales here.  This will be released next year. 

They've been pleased with their AFM sales and said that the Chinese are buying up many of their stories.  He also talked about the decline of the DVD.   "We need movies to get to the theaters." He, too, looks for stories that will tell a universal, yet unique, story and can have a good message for the viewer.  Again, understanding your audience, understanding the international market is crucial here. 


London Rampage - Calif Pictures Poster

So when you come to the market next year, be prepared. Do your homework about what is popular overseas -since they are often the biggest investors. Don't expect your story alone to sell.  You need to have some sort of attachment, if you can.  The market is tighter than ever.  Understand that scripts are a blueprint and a team effort that includes not only the writer, but the producers, directors and actors.  if you can, find a sales person to assist you because you - the writer/producer will not be able to address the issues needed.  It's a business and all about return on investment.  Put your business hat on. 

See you next year. 


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