Major Hollywood Studio, Independent, HBO, Film Producer, Executive Producer, Line Producer, DGA UPM & Film Finance Executive FilmBudget.com Founder Jack Binder

Major Hollywood Studio, Independent, HBO Producer, Executive Producer, Line Producer, DGA UPM & Film Finance Executive, FilmBudget.com Founder Jack Binder

I began my career producing comedy concerts in Detroit with my brother, then stand-up comedian and now successful Writer/Director of feature films and television, Mike Binder. Following a slew of successful comedy concerts around Michigan, we raised financing to film the concert at the Fisher Theater in Detroit and eventually sold it to HBO with the help of comedian George Carlin.

Moving to Los Angeles, I started from the bottom and worked my way up on several HBO shows including “Robin Williams Live at The Met”, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “Not Necessarily the News”.

I went to work on ‘Coupe de Ville’ as PA and then Assistant UPM which Mike wrote and was directed by Joe Roth (former Chairman of Twentieth Century Fox & Disney.)

Answering an ad in Variety I became the Assistant to Academy Award Oscar Winning Producer Michael Phillips (‘The Sting’, ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’) rising to Vice President of Creative Affairs for his production company while producing feature films for the film arm of HBO.

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Setting off into independent production I joined back with my brother Mike again Co-Producing ‘Crossing the Bridge’ (Josh Charles, Jason Gedrick, Stephen Baldwin) which was picked-up by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures. There we scored an On-the-Lot deal, engaged to Produce and Mike to direct ‘Indian Summer’ starring Alan Arkin, Diane Lane, Kevin Pollak, Julie Warner, Elizabeth Perkins and Bill Paxton.

Damon Wayans contacted us to make ‘Blankman’ and we moved over to Columbia Pictures to make that film with a $30 million film budget and substantial vfx for the time. (The animated opening title sequence was something we were really happy with – a throwback to the ‘Batman’ tv series opening.) This began a long relationship with Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Following this stage in our career we launched back into the indie film world, raising film finance to fund the comedy film ‘The Sex Monster’ (Mariel Hemingway, Mike Binder), ‘Londinium’ (Colin Firth, Stephen Fry), ‘The Search for John Gissing’ (Alan Rickman, Alan Corduner, Juliet Stevenson). These were all shot in London and began a long term relationship with British film, England and London filmmaking.

Partial Cast of Films Produced by Jack Binder, FilmBudget.com Founder

Partial Cast of Films Produced by Jack Binder, FilmBudget.com Founder

I then Produced and Mike created, wrote and directed ‘The Mind of the Married Man’ (Mike Binder, Sonya Walger, Kate Walsh, Jake Webber, Taylor Nichols) for HBO which ran for two seasons (they balked and then wished to make a third season but we were off back into feature film.)

This lead to our raising film financing for ‘Man About Town’ (Ben Affleck, John Cleese, Rebecca Romijn) and ‘The Upside of Anger’ (Kevin Costner, Joan Allen, Kerri Russell, Even Rachel Wood, Erica Christensen) which New Line Cinema picked-up.

Returning to Sony / Columbia Pictures I Produced ‘Reign Over Me’ starring Adam Sandler in a dramatic role, Don Cheadle, Liv Tyler and Donald Sutherland. The film shot in New York and Los Angeles.

Following this I helped write the Michigan Film Tax Incentive with the Governor of Michigan and the Legislature. I created Michigan Film Production Company and brought films from around the world and the country to shoot in Michigan until the current Governor shut down the program which launched thousands of film careers and the revitalized the industry in Michigan, making the state one of the leaders in US filmmaking for a short period.

Moving on I Executive Produced ‘Tomorrow’ with Martin Scorsese which is in post-production. I continue producing films worldwide with several movies in finance and casting stages at this writing.

I am currently Producing ‘Dionne’ – the story of Dionne Warwick during her period as the voice of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

I founded FilmBudget.com in the late 90s to assist fellow filmmakers in obtaining film finance by creating a real, accurate film budget and Film Finance Plans to help make my colleagues investor ready. After seeing so many productions fail at the finance level, I determined that having a quality film budget was key to getting the green light so many films require to move into production.

I created the film budget and schedule for all of my movies and have always been on budget and on schedule, working with studio executives and creatives alike to obtain the highest quality at the lowest cost. I put all of this knowledge into every budget I create. Likewise I provide film production consulting services for select filmmakers interested in my experience and expertise in film production, film tax credits, budgeting and film finance plans.

I continue to Produce and consult via my international production company Greentrees Films.

Additionally I am a film finance and production consultant for several companies and individuals, including the former Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers Structured Finance, Omeira Studio Partners (for which I am the Producer Strategic Partner) and Rockwood Financial for which I am a Strategic Film & Entertainment Partner.

Contact me via FilmBudget.com to obtain a quote on services for real film budgeting on your movie or tv series, special or film.

Good luck in filmmaking!

All the best,

Jack

Jack Binder

Producer

Founder of FilmBudget.com

Founder of FilmBudget.com

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What Do Film Financiers & Investors Look for When Deciding What Movie to Finance?

Film Financiers Look For Projects With All Elements In Place

In today’s challenging film finance market investors and financiers have a wide selection of projects to choose from. Invariably they look for ones with all the elements in place that would lead them to choose to invest in a particular film. These elements include an outstanding script, cast, team, finance plan and film budget which must all be first rate.

The Screenplay

Fundamentally, a film must have an amazing screenplay. There is no question that a great film can only be made from a great screenplay. There is no fixing this in post.

The Cast

Secondly, financiers look for an outstanding and marketable cast. The cast must be well known, drivers of international sales, with a known value to the world market for theatrical feature films.

Partial Cast of Films Produced by Jack Binder, FilmBudget.com Founder

Partial Cast of Films Produced by Jack Binder, FilmBudget.com Founder

The Team

Then there is the team. A solid team of experienced individuals, or at least one or two knowledgeable producers onboard who know the ins and outs of production is a critical factor. In order to invest their money to fund a film budget financiers want to know capable people are managing the movie production and can deliver, on budget and on schedule.

The Presentation

All of these elements are presented to the capital source, the financiers, investors, distributors, foreign sales company, agents and others. This presentation is expected to be top notch and reflective of the filmmaker’s understanding of the market, the production and the priority given to responsibility for results.

The Film Finance Business Plan & the Film Budget & Schedule Package

This presentation is the Film Finance Business Plan and the Film Budget & Schedule Package. Extremely important to qualified investors and the above money sources is the detailed and accurate nature of these documents. They are the determinant factor for the team and the project in its value as an investment along with all the other factors. Filmmakers should never skimp on these elements as they only get one shot most often with a source of backing for the movie.

Hire an experienced and knowledgeable line producer and executive producer to create your film budget and your movie finance plan. This work and these documents are a reflection on the filmmakers and the strength of the overall package.

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Jack Binder is an executive producer, producer, line producer and Directors Guild of America Unit Production Manager (DGA UPM) with over 25 years experience as an “on the lot” major studio and independent film producer. Binder formed FILMBUDGET.COM to provide fellow filmmakers the tools to obtain financing with accurate, proven, real film budget and schedule packages. He likewise creates custom, detailed Film Finance Business Plans which are used to finance his and clients productions and convey the true nature of the production, team and potential return to investors.

Contact Jack via info @ filmbudget.com CONTACT    Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn

Founder of FilmBudget.com

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Top 4 Critical Elements For Film Finance

The Top 4 Critical Elements For Film Finance

Times are changing as always in the world of film finance. Today it is just as difficult as ever, if not more so, to obtain financing for your film.

Filmmakers must be aware of the challenges and be armed with current information in order to attract funding for their movie production goals. So here are the top four critical elements required based upon realtime, real world analysis by FilmBudget.com Founder Producer Jack Binder (Reign Over Me, The Upside of Anger, The Mind of the Married Man)

An Amazing Screenplay

An amazing screenplay is fundamental to getting finance for your film. Likewise it is necessary to attracting the remaining three critical elements.

Notice I did not say “good”, or “great”. This might have sufficed in the past however in today’s market and competition for limited film finance resources your screenplay must be amazing!

Once you have established a good or great screenplay is in hand, you must run it by your most observant colleagues, friends and family to obtain honest criticism to enable you to improve the script to its utmost potential. Writing is rewriting and before you do anything else – make it Amazing!

An Outstanding Team

Investors not only look to an amazing screenplay in which to invest but they are also looking for an outstanding team. Surround yourself with established and successful filmmakers whom augment your credentials.

This includes an experienced director and producer. An experienced director is recognized as showing a track record in delivering on the writer’s vision. They are deemed competent to bring your story to the screen based upon past success.

Likewise an experienced producer is extremely important in building confidence in your film. Investors look to the producer as the manager of the production and someone who has the knowledge and understanding of the filmmaking and movie industry process.

Together these two collaborators bring a sense of comfort and reliability to your production. Again investors invest as much in a team as they do the idea, story and screenplay.

Strong Cast Attachments

Now more than ever independent film production is driven by cast. With the above elements in place the likelihood of securing top talent is formidably increased.

Finance, international (foreign) sales and distribution are fundamentally driven by the cast committed to your movie. Of course, these must be real and verifiable involvements and not wishful thinking.

The stars involved in productions Produced by Jack Binder

Some of the talented stars involved in productions Produced by Jack Binder

An Accurate and Realistic Film Budget

The fourth and perhaps most important aspect of securing film financing for your motion picture is a realistic and accurate film budget. Knowing and demonstrating your knowledge and comprehension of the costs of bringing the production to market is a basic factor in a financiers decision to fund.

Your film budget, created by an industry professional line producer or unit production manager, will speak volumes to your investors as to your appreciation of the complexities of finding the right balance in the expense of creating the product. Your budget represents a roadmap to the production for yourself and the investor.

As the industry consolidates upon viable productions, your movie budget determines your awareness of the current market value of your production. Finding the right balance of high production value for the lowest cost is the direct purview of the knowledgeable and experienced line producer engaged in budgeting your film.

In Conclusion

Combining the above four critical elements of obtaining film finance will put your movie and your production goals at the head of the line in attracting investment. Money has become much smarter over the recent years and is increasingly risk adverse.

By arming yourself with these fundamental elements you are putting you and your team in a much better position to achieve success than only having one or a few of these in order.

Contact FilmBudget.com to discuss your production, budget, development, production and finance requirements. Our services include budgeting, scheduling, consulting, film finance business plans, film tax credits analysis, creative producer and line producing services.

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The 5 Steps To Creating a Professional Film Budget for Your Movie | FilmBudget.com Worldwide

5 Steps to Creating a Professional Film Budget for Your Movie

Creating a film budget for a feature film or a television show is a time honored tradition and craft of the Line Producer or Unit Production Manager. Using extensive experience in making films over many years the process draws on skills learned during these years of production and filmmaking.

To create a film or tv budget Line Producers and Production Managers apply their knowledge and process to create a real film budget and schedule which is used by financiers, investor, banks, film tax credit authorities, foreign sales companies and distributors to evaluate and execute the vision of the screenwriter and the director in coordination with the goals of the producer.

Here are the steps undertaken in creating a professional film budget & schedule:

1. Screenplay Reading – Creative Pass

The screenplay or teleplay is read for creative value and consideration first in order to take on the story, characters, dialogue and plot of the script.

The stars involved in productions Produced by Jack Binder

The stars involved in productions Produced by Jack Binder

2. Screenplay Reading – Production Pass

A second reading is undertaken to evaluate the script from a production viewpoint. Attention is paid to the overall elements, setting and style of the work.

3. Screenplay Breakdown

The next step is a complete breakdown of the total production and creative elements in the screenplay which are required to bring the production to life. Key considerations include bringing experience to bear to determine what the budget level for the picture will fall into: big budget major studio, indie film budget, low-budget or micro budget.

Cast – What level of cast does the story and production call for? How many? Will the highest level of stars be required or a variety of talent levels.

Setting/Locations – Using the Setting as a guide, location considerations are analyzed. Are there multiple countries? Multiple cities? Are there a large amount of locations or is the screenplay contained in its requirement?

Set Dressing – Is it Period? Will it require extensive Set Dressing components or will existing decorations be utilized and sufficient to achieve the vision?

Costumes/Wardrobe: Again, Period? Large Cast and various time periods which will affect the scope and amount of wardrobe required?

Special Effects: Are there needs for extensive Practical Effects (SFX)? Stunts? Pyro-technics? Mechanical rigging?

Transportation – Are there specific Transportation requirements? Travel? Picture Vehicles? Animals? to consider?

Post Production – Is the film, movie or television series heavy in VFX and CGI? Where will post production take place?

The list goes on to include all the departments and which are required to fulfill to requirements of the production. These are a few of the many, many considerations and preliminary decisions which must be analyzed during the screenplay breakdown process.

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4. Create the Shooting Schedule

Based upon the Breakdown and the analysis of the screenplay elements a Shooting Schedule is then created. A veteran and seasoned Line Producer or Production Manager will have great experience in creating and delivering productions based upon their Shooting Schedules which they have created over the course of time and which they have consulted and executed with the First Assistant Director and Director of their films.

  • Each day is scheduled according to the scene work balance of the overall schedule.
  • Best practices and knowledge gained over years of experience guide the creation of a realistic and efficient plan for the work to be done.
  • Scene descriptions are included in the Stripboard Shooting Schedule to guide the crew.
  • Character Identifications are included to advise what Cast members are working each day

Using the above information a Cast Schedule can be created indicating the amount and which days the Cast work. Likewise Locations Schedule and all unique equipment (cranes, rigs, steadicam, etc.) days are included in the Master Shooting Schedule.

5. Creating the Film Budget

Once these processes are undertaken we are ready to commence with the actual film budgeting for the movie. With the above information in hand realistic budgets can then be created.

Knowing the scope and scale of the production will guide this step. Is it a big budget requirement, low budget or micro-budget or somewhere in between? Is this a Major Studio movie or an independent film production? These are critical factors in the creation of the budget.

Based upon the Setting and Locations envisioned for the picture then the best production center is chosen to shoot the film. The budget will consider these factors in selecting the ideal location to base the production.

Creative consideration is the top priority: can we shoot what the screenplay calls for in this particular region, country and city?

Production viability is then determined. Is there a sufficient film production crew base at this location? Will crew members need to be transported to this location? Is there adequate production support for equipment, materials and services? Hotels?, etc.

Next, finance consideration is analyzed. Assuming the best location is chosen for the creative and production value, what local film tax credit or production incentive is offered by this geographical area?

Countries worldwide offer film tax credits and incentives to film in their region. U.S. States likewise offer lucrative film tax incentives to draw production dollars and generate economic impact in their locales. Your film financier will most definitely consider and insist upon this as a key factor in choosing a location to shoot the movie or tv program.

Based upon these factors, with the right location chosen to shoot, the costs are then calculated.

What are the local crew rates?

What are the local materials and services needed and how much do they cost?

What are the costs of getting the cast and crew to the location?

All of these decisions are evaluated and the studio or indie film budget process gets down to the nitty-gritty of evaluating the costs of each element involved in the production. Cast fees, location expenses, production crew, logistics, travel, permits, etc. are included.

All productions are unique and each must be analyzed individually. The overriding goal is the create the greatest production value for the most efficient price.

Once these matters are analyzed and included based upon extensive experience the final step is to ensure inclusion of all expenses, including: Completion Bond, Insurance, Contingency, Finance Costs, Union and Guild Health & Pension costs, Cast Perks, etc. to create a realistic budget for the movie production.

While this is a summary of the work and knowledge that goes into the film budget process it is certainly not complete but should give an approximate overview of the process.

Financiers, Producers, investors, government institutions, production companies and sales companies rely on the accuracy of the work of the Line Producer or Production Manager to effectively and precisely understand and present the true cost of bringing the film to the screen. Small errors can compound to create enormous gaps in the overall financing of the film which can seriously impact the completion and delivery to distributors and therefore returns to investors.

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Contact FilmBudget.com to obtain an instant quote on your film for a professional film budget and schedule, film tax credits and production incentives analysis and Film Finance Plans for your production.

Film Budget Inc. has created hundreds of budget and schedule packages for individuals, the Major Hollywood Studios, Mini Majors and independent production companies, financiers, investors and banks in addition to all of those of our own projects.

Jack Binder is Major Studio and Indie Film Producer with over 25 years of experience and the Founder of FilmBudget.com

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Jack has served as an On-the-Lot Producer at The Walt Disney Company and Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment) and as the responsible Producer on productions for those Studios as well as New Line Cinema, Lionsgate Films, HBO, Sunlight Productions and many more major and independent film and tv production companies.

Binder’s international film production company is Greentrees Films

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FilmBudget.com Founder & Producer Jack Binder Producer Credits

Producer Credits for Producer Jack Binder Founder of FilmBudget.com & Greentrees Films

Producer Credits for Producer Jack Binder Founder of FilmBudget.com & Greentrees Films

Actress Keri Russell, one of the stars of the new comedic drama film "The Upside of Anger," poses as she arrives for the film''s premiere in Los Angeles, March 3, 2005. The film stars Joan Allen who plays a suburban housewife with four young adult daughters who is left to raise them on her own, but soon falls in love with a neighbor played by Kevin Costner. The film opens in Los Angeles and New York March 11. REUTERS/Fred Prouser PREMIERE

Actress Keri Russell, one of the stars of the new comedic drama film “The Upside of Anger,” poses as she arrives for the film”s premiere in Los Angeles. The film stars Joan Allen who plays a suburban housewife with four young adult daughters who is left to raise them on her own, but soon falls in love with a neighbor played by Kevin Costner. The film opens in Los Angeles and New York March 11. REUTERS/Fred Prouser PREMIERE

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SXSW 2014 Update | Film Budget Inc. | filmbudget.com

A City Fit for Movies

Far from Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and New York City, SXSW hosts one of the year’s biggest events for entertainment and tech junkies alike. Holding true to the state’s mantra, “everything’s bigger in Texas,” SXSW is much more than one particular type of festival; it’s a music festival, movie festival, and interactive conference.

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Is Austin an unlikely city for such an event? Of course not. From a filmmaker’s perspective, Austin is a vibrant market as well as a proven city to produce movies. Do ‘True Grit,’ ‘Dazed and Confused,’ The Tree of Life’ ring a bell? That’s right, they were all made in Austin. Need more proof the city is an important force in the movie industry? Check out the Austin Film Commission’s website.

A Festival in Three Acts

As mentioned before, SXSW is essentially three festivals rolled into one. The music portion begins tomorrow and ends the 16th. The film festival spans from March 7-15. Ending tomorrow, the interactive festival took place from the 7th to the 11th.

Interactive

Arguably the most talked about moment of the festival thus far, Edward Snowden spoke to crowds via videocast in a recent event. Though the quality was reportedly lousy, Snowden managed to answer intriguing questions that were submitted via Twitter. Despite the highly controversial nature of his actions, and all around “bleak” revelations of our Nation’s privacy, the discussion revealed some optimistic moments. As reported in an online article by TIME magazine,

“Snowden’s revelations have led companies such as Google and Yahoo to bolster their security measures, which helps protect online data from being watched by government eyes.”

In addition to Snowden’s virtual appearance, the interactive festival offered a tremendous amount of wisdom and information from a series of events, speakers, and brilliant minds. From web design to dinosaurs, SXSW-Interactive never ceased to inspire.

Music

Spanning almost every genre, the 2,200 acts performing at this year’s SXSW offer something for every music fan. From Hip-Hop giants Wiz Khalifa and Kendrick Lamar (Kendrick is headlining the I-tunes sponsored show) to the Irish hard-rock group Strypes, Austin promises to tear the roof off. Check out The Wall Street Journal’s guide to 20014s music festival.

Keep in mind, the music portion of SXSW is much more than just live shows. For instance, Lady Gaga will be the much talked about Keynote speaker this year. Read more about it here.

Movies

“You go in, it all goes dark, and you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see through their eyes. That’s just mega, it’s so powerful. Even a painter, who can do it, only can do less. A painter at one time is showing you one frame, but a filmmaker can take you into an experience and an existential atmosphere that may be a trip for you.” – Tilda Swinton on How She Feels About Cinema

It’s moments such as Tilda Swinton’s hour-long talk at SXSW that inspires the next generation of great actors, actresses, and filmmakers. Whether it be talks, screenings, or events, the SXSW film portion is sure to get things going for spring.

World premieres include director Carlos Marques Marcet’s Spanish flick ‘Long Distance,’ Shawn Christensen’s ‘Before I disappear’ and five other fantastic projects all up for competition. In addition to indie, world, and documentary cinema, this year hosts five headliners.

With a movie budget of $6 million dollars, director Rob Thomas’ ‘Veronica Mars’ has already received much media attention from its screening.

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Other headlines include: Nicholas Stoller’s ‘Neighbors’ starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, David Gordon Green’s ‘Joe’ starring Nicolas Cage, John Favreau’s ‘Chef’ starring Scarlett Johansson, and Michael and Peter Spierig’s ‘Predestination’ starring Ethan Hawke. For a full list of the festival’s screenings click here.

And the Winners Are

A great time was undoubtedly had by all, but none more so than the winners. Here’s a brief rundown, courtesy of Indiewire.com, of this year’s best. Congrats, filmmakers!

Grand Jury Winner in the Narrative Feature Competition: ‘Fort Tilden’

Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers’ ‘Fort Tilden.’ Read more about the movie, made with a low indie-film budget, here.

Grand Jury Winner in the Documentary Feature Competition: ‘The Great Invisible’

In what Variety describes as a “deeply sobering and sympathetic new documentary,” The Great Invisible reveals the aftermath of the tragic 2010 BP oil spill.

Special Jury Recognition for Courage in Storytelling: ‘Animals’

Screenwriter David Dastmalchian’s story of two drug addicts in love.

Special Jury Recognition for Best Acting Duo: 10,000 km (Long Distance)

Natalie Tena and David Verdauger.

Special Jury Recognition for Political Courage: ‘Vessel’

Director Diana Whitten’s documentary about the travels of Dr. Rebecca, who provides abortions on the high seas.

The Best (and Worst) of the Rest

Though there may not be an official award for ‘Good Music Moviemaking,’ Flavorwire’s article SXSW Film 2014: The Best and Worst Films of SXSW reveals, in their opinion, the winners and losers of more specific categories. Check it out!

Jason_Bateman_Bad_WordsJason Bateman’s ‘Bad Words’

Need inspiration? SXSW hosts a wealth of discussions, interviews, and panels. In fact, they’re even hosting a discussion on how to be successful at other festivals. An indie-filmmaker’s dream.

Stay updated on the latest SXSW news by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook!

Do you have a script, project, TV pilot, etc. you need financed? It all begins with a professional budget. Visit our website to learn how we can put our 25 years of producing experience to work for you!

BFI London Film Festival 2014 Dates | Film Budget Inc. | Filmbudget.com

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BFI London Film Festival Announces 2014 Dates

It’s never too soon to look ahead in the exciting world of cinema. Coming off a successful 2013 run, London looks to 2014 for a pinnacle year in the festival’s history.  Clare Stewart, chief of LFF, is already working on making London a force for any film interested in a major awards run. The Hollywood Reporter states,

“The fest chief, Clare Stewart, is attending the Berlinale with colleagues Tricia Tuttle, deputy head of festivals, Michael Blyth, festival programmer, and Andrea Bigger, industry manager, as they begin their search for films for this year’s edition.”

57th BFI London Film FestivalFall can’t come soon enough, as the BFI announces this year’s festival will take place the 8-19th of October. As you may recall, last year’s fall erupted with excitement, as incredible film after incredible film picked up steam at Tiff, and other fall festivals, before opening to eager audiences around the world. That’s why LFF believes it can play an even bigger role come autumn. From projects with large movie budgets, to smaller ones with independent film budgets, 2014 promises to showcase a wide range of pictures.

Though October may seem a ways away, submission deadlines are creeping in like a London fog. The deadline for short films (40 minutes or less) is listed for 13th of June, while features (more than 40 minutes) have until the 20th. For more info, including the submission regulations, click here.

bfi-london-film-festivalThe best news, if you’re a UK filmmaker, is that it’s free. As for foreign films, there is a fee, but if you act fast – submit by 5pm, Friday May 5th – it’s only £45.

Stay updated on all the latest LFF news by subscribing to our blog and LIKE our Facebook page.

Have a script, project, etc. you need financed? A professional budget is the first step. Visit our website for more information!

Have a short movie budget question? Tweet us: @FilmBudget

Sundance Follow-Up | Film Budget Inc. | Filmbudget.com

2014 Sundance Film Festival

Another year, another exciting festival. As the catalyst of the independent film world ends, industry insiders, fans, distributors, and, of course, sponsors, brush the snow of their jackets as they now prepare for Europe. So, what’s the condition of the indie-movie world? Is there a new ‘Fruitivale Station’ on the map? Damien Chazelle would certainly like to think so. As his film gave audiences and distributors alike a welcomed ‘whiplash’ of creativity, many other movies followed suit – wrapping up tons of deals. That being said, here’s a rundown of Robert Redford’s brilliant festival.

Park-City-Sundance-2014Damien Chazelle’s Incredible Debut

If you aren’t familiar with the name Damien Chazelle, then you may want to reconsider. His first feature, ‘Whiplash’, just took home the Grand Jury and Top audience awards in the U.S. dramatic competition. The film, about an aspiring jazz drummer, opened the festival with rave reviews. Though a movie about Jazz may seem appealing to only a niche audience, many claim it strikes chord with the human spirit, though be it, a painful one.

“Anyone who’s ever had a high school or college teacher make it a point to manipulate or mess with students’ lives will no doubt have relatable, and possibly painful, memories revived by this vivid portrait of a music school at which the program, run by its star instructor, closely resembles the boot camp presided over by R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket.” – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

The top two prizes weren’t the only thing the Film took away from Sundance. After its successful debut, ‘Whiplash’, made with an indie movie budget of $3.3 Million, was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. The deal included the rights for North America, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.

Whiplash-2014-3Based on a Damien Chazelle’s own short film by the same name, ‘Whiplash’ delves deep into the struggles of an artists, and lets his stellar cast come alive. The stand out performances by J. K. Simmons and Miles Teller are what made this film a favorite. For instance, in a review on The Daily Beast, Marlow Stern claims, “In the case of Chazelle’s film, it’s best to throw logic out the door and give in to the riveting performances and compelling underdog story.” It should be interesting to see if Damien’s talented directorship, and the casts’ brilliant performances, are enough to sell jazz to major audiences.

Other Winners

‘Rich Hill,’ a documentary about a family from Missouri hit hard by poor financial times, took home Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary. The film was directed by Tracy Droz Tragos & Andrew Droz Palermo.

Upstart Brooklyn Media company, Vice Media, made waves at the festival with its film ‘Fishing Without Nets.’ The director of the Somali Highjacking movie, Cutter Hodierne, won the directing award in U.S. Dramatic.

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Collecting the World Cinema dramatic grand jury prize was director Alejandro Fernandez Almendras’ ‘To Kill a Man.’ As for world cinema documentary grand jury prize went to Talal Derki’s tale about a soccer star and activist – ‘Return to Homs.’

A final thought, an article in the LA Times on  Sundance Winners claims success at Sundance, particularly in the awards department, does not always spell box-office gold. The article mentioned past winners, ‘Fruitival Station’ and ‘Beast of the Southern Wild,’ as being large critical hits, while only creating minor stirs at the box office.

Other Notable Sales

Focus Features: Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ sells for $2.75 million despite its flat reception and “stale jokes.” The film was made on a movie budget of $3.1 million, raised on Kickstarter.

‘Happy Christmas’, starring Lena Dunham and Anna Kendrick sells to Magnolia and Paramount. According to TheWrap.com, “Under the pact, Magnolia Pictures is handling U.S. theatrical and VOD distribution, while Paramount Home Media Distribution will manage U.S. physical home entertainment and all international rights. Magnolia is planning a summer 2014 release.”

‘Dinosaur 13’ – CNN Films and Lionsgate purchased this documentary about a lost T Rex Skeleton. The deal was for $1 million dollars, what Daniel Miller of the LA Times called, “a robust price for a festival documentary.”

‘Laggies’ – A much talked about performance by the lovely Keira Knightley sells this film’s North American rights to A24 for $2 million.

Parties and Events

“An Artist at the Table” held at the stein Erikson Lodge, saw a  320-person dinner of donors, celebrities, and board members. In attendance was Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, promoting his new film “Hellion”

AATTBlog_3Grey Goose was the sponsor of choice for premiere parties, playing host to “Wish I were Here” and “Laggies” events.

Amongst the many film parties, tailgaters for the NFL playoffs, including the cast of ‘Cooties,’ cheered on their favorite teams.

A more interesting celebration was for Perri Peltz and Geeta Gandbhir’s new documentary ‘Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro Sr.’ The doc captures the life of legendary actor Robert De Niro’s father, who was a figurative painter. Bradley Cooper and De Niro were in attendance.

Corporate sponsors, including SoulCycle and Eddie Bauer, offered a chance for fitness between the eating and drinking. It wasn’t uncommon to see a celebrity taking on the Eddie Bauer Adventure House’s rock climbing wall.

Crowd-funding the Future of Indie Cinema

445510006_640Zach Braff wasn’t the only product of Kickstarter and Indiegogo. In The Hollywood Reporter’s Sundance Trend: Kickstarting the Homestretch the struggle for up-and-coming filmmakers wasn’t just getting into the festival, it was finishing their project in time for Sundance. Many films, including ‘The Foxy Merkins’, relied on crowd funding to cover expensive post-production costs in order to complete their films. “Twenty selections for this year’s festival raised money on Kickstarter, the largest number to date.” – Chris O’Falt. Crowd-funding is the more attractive alternative to bringing in another equity investor. It seems movies made on an indie film budget are getting back to the roots of what being independent is all about.

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Sundance Film Festival | Film Budget Inc. | Filmbudget.com

Sundance Film Festival 2014

2014 will mark the 30th year for the Sundance Film Festival; a festival known as an integral stepping stone for brilliant independent projects to reach global audiences. But as technologies in production, distribution, and exhibition rapidly change independent cinema, will the festival follow suit?  Nate von Zumwalt, editorial manager at Sundance.org, thinks not:

“As independent film has evolved from its renegade-spirited roots to an “accepted form of creative expression,” the tenets of the Sundance Film Festival remain unaffected.”

As the snow descends on Park City, Utah, so will the industry, with hopes of discovering the next great movie, director, and star. Last year’s festival introduced the world to Ryan Coogler, writer & director of the poignant film Fruitvale Station. With his directorial debut, Coogler used the Sundance institute (the film first made its presence at 2012s screenwriter’s lab) to show the world the story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old man from the Bay Area who was tragically shot and killed by BART officers. The story, film, and acting moved the audience, as well as the institute, so much that it went on to win the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Drama. Arguably, if it weren’t for its attention at Sundance, the film may not have earned as big of an applause at Cannes, or gone on to gross over $16 million on a indie film budget of less than a million dollars.

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As a tremendously exciting fall comes to a close, the movie industry eagerly awaits an even more tremendous start to 2014. As a result, this year’s Sundance Festival is guaranteed to be as important, exciting, and moving as years past.

Where: Park City, Utah

When: Jan 16-26

Tickets: There are many ways to obtain a ticket to the festival. Festival passes are a great way to ensure access to the best stuff. Further, the two passes that are still available include: Eccles Pass B ($1,500), and Express Pass B ($3,000). All of the ticket packages are currently SOLD OUT, but individual tickets for access to a single screening will be on sale for $20. Open tickets sales begin January 14th.

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Lodging: Make sure you plan and book your hotel rooms early. The official website offers an easy way to see what types of lodgings are available. Hotels include:

The Caledonian **** $2,999 avg/night

Best Western Plus Landmark Inn & Pancake House *** $369 avg/night

Sundance Mountain Resort **** $482 avg/night

Transportation: Info on ground and air transportation can be acquired here.

Program: The festival is composed of fourteen different film categories, including Sundance Kids, Midnight, U.S. Doc, World Doc, Next, Premieres, Shorts, Shorts Programs, Spotlight, Sundance Collection, U.S. Dramatic, and World Dramatic. In addition, panels, music, and media installations enrich the already dynamic festival.

2014 Screenwriters Lab

Recently, the Sundance Institute released the twelve projects that will be taking part in their annual Screenwriters Lab. From the tenth to the fifteenth, established advisors, new talent, and industry professionals will assemble at the Sundance Resort, with hopes of developing the next Grand Jury Prize winner. Nigel M. Smith of IndieWire.com describes the advantage as, “The annual workshops give selected films a leg up in the independent film community in terms of financing and representation.” With Quentin Tarantino, Naomi Foner, and Patty Jenkins, among others, working as creative advisors, this year’s screenwriters lab is much anticipated. Below are just a few of the projects, for the full list click here.

The Father’s Shadow – Written/Directed by Gabriela Amaral Almeida (Brazil)

Lynch – Written by Nicole Riegel (U.S.A)

The Buried Life – Co-writers/Co-directors Averie Storck & Joan Stein Schimke

Manchild – Written/Directed by Ryan Koo (U.S.A)

Stranger With a Camera – Written/Directed by Oorlagh George (Northern Ireland/U.S.A)

Movies

After much anticipation, the world premiere of director Zach Braff’s follow up film to his insanely successful Garden State, will take place at the Sundance Film Festival. Inspired by Veronica Mars‘ crowdfunding campaign, Braff used Kickstarter to raise the $2 million movie budget for his latest project, Wish I Was Here. On top of co-writing (with the help of his brother Adam) and directing the film, Zach will play the protagonist, a 35-year-old father struggling to find himself. The film will also star Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, and Kate Hudson.

Wish I was Here isn’t the only Sundance film with a unique movie budget. Also making its world premiere is director Tim Sutton’s feature film Memphis. Created on a film budget of only 150,000 euros, the movie is one of three projects made possible by the Biennale College – Cinema, a workshop intended to create mini-budgeted films.

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On top of all the new talent, this year’s festival will be composed of many seasoned directors and actors pushing the boundaries of storytelling. For instance, God’s Pocket, starring veteran actors Richard Jenkins and Philip Seymour Hoffman, will compete in this year’s competition. Other stars with projects competing in Sundance include, Anne Hathaway in Song One, Kristen Stewart in the Guantanamo Bay drama Camp X-Ray, and Jason Schwartzman in Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip. For a full list of this year’s line-up, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Toronto International Film Festival 2013 | Film Budget Inc. | filmbudget.com

 Compiled by:   FilmBudget.com  – the global leader in worldwide film budget and schedule production services for the motion picture industry. By Jack Binder

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Toronto International Film Festival | TIFF 2013

As any good Indie/Holllywood filmmaker should know, the Toronto International Film Festival is an incredibly important event in the world of cinema. As the summer blockbusters wind down, TIFF works as a solid launching pad for fall release, big budget and independent alike. If successful, good press garnered at TIFF vitalizes a film’s momentum into awards season. Here’s a preview/guide to TIFF 2013.

 

When: Sept. 5th– 13th  2013 (Thursday through following Friday)

Registration: Visit TIFF’s official website to learn more about specific passes (Industry Pass, Conference Pass, etc.). Early Bird registration ends June 12.

Where: Toronto, Ontario Canada.

Toronto Film Festival Map - Film Budget Inc.

For a great interactive map of the ten venues, check out the Locations tab on the TIFF website.

Don’t go in unprepared! Here’s a great list of 51 Hot Spots come September:

http://www.torontolife.com/51-must-know-tiff-hotspots/

 

Programmes: From mainstream movies such as Looper (Director: Rian Johnson) to independent/art cinema, Laurence Anyways (Director: Xavier Dolan), 2012 saw some incredible films. With just announced film Visitors by renowned Koyaanisqatsi director Godfrey Reggio, featuring a score by Philip Glass, 2013 promises to be no different. Also, notable directors and actors such as Paul Thomas Anderson and Ryan Gosling have new projects in production; it should be interesting to see what is ready in time for the festival.

How are they chosen? This year, the eighteen programmers that chose the films represent six continents.

Awards: Last year ten films received awards, including Silver Linings Playbook (Directed by David O. Russell) that won BlackBerry People’s Choice Award.

17 Progammes: Seventeen different programmes will make up the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

TIFF Programs - Film Budget Inc

Read: http://tiff.net/thefestival/filmprogramming/programmes to see the other nine programmes.

Can’t stand the wait? Luckily, TIFF offers year round events and screenings. If you find yourself in Toronto before September, make sure you allow some time to see a film from their summer series A Century of Chinese Cinema with many films including a special introduction. In addition, many other films are released or screened through tiff. all summer long.

toronto film festival

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Produced By Conference 2012

The Produced By Conference 2012 kicks of this weekend June 8-10 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, CA

When:  Friday June 8, 2012 Kickoff Pre-Event

Where:   Sony Pictures Entertainment 10202 W. Washington Blvd.  Culvery City, CA 90232    Click here for a Map

Moving over from the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank to the westside lot of Columbia Pictures, Tristar Pictures and all the Sony Pictures Entertainment divisions (the famed MGM studios) the conference has grown to be the largest collection of film producers under one roof.   The weekend boasts the biggest name producers and studio executives.

Last years event attracted 1200 participants  The CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is a major supporter this time out.

Speakers and panelists for the Produced By event, which is put on by the PGA (Producers Guild of America) include:

Produced By Conference 2012

Nina Jacobson (‘Hunger Games’)

Brian Grazer (‘A Beautiful Mind’, ‘Apollo 13’)

Graham King (‘Hugo’, ‘The Aviator’)

Mark Cuban (Partner ASX TV

Michael Burns (Vice Chairman, Lionsgate)

Michael De Luca (‘Moneyball’)

Lorenzo di Bonaventura

 

Mentor sessions included small groups with such high profile producers, directors and executives as:  Tim Shey (Youtube), Tracy Edmonds, Mark Gordon (Criminal Minds), Michael Shamberg, Jason Katims and many more.

Speakers also include:  Chris Nolan, Emma Thomas, Doug Wick, Shonda Rhimes, Walter Parkes and Chris McGurk

 

Nina Jacobson

 

Emma Thomas

Michael De Luca

Tracey Edmonds

James Cameron @ 2009 Produced By Conference

 

Topics will include the challenges of global film production, growing a new film company, creating tentpole movies, working within your film budget and getting independent films made.   A conversation with Chris Nolan will draw the Batman fans as well as big budget minded producers and directors.   The event is a major networking opportunity to rub elbows and actually have conversations and pitches with the movers and shakers in the film and television industry.

 

Visit the Produced By Conference website

 

Video Highlights from last years Produced By Conference

Produced By Conference video highlights from last year

 

Additional sponsors of the esteemed event include: Entertainment Partners, Quebec Film & Television Council, Raleigh Studios, Cinedigm, Dreamworks, Hulu,Youtube and Kodak.

 

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FilmBudget.com | Film Budget Inc.