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Nick Taussig, Paul Van Carter set up UK production company

EXCLUSIVE: The pair, which had been at Revolver/Gunslinger, kick off Salon Pictures with slate including James Nunn LA-set thriller, Churchill project, teen thriller and bare-knuckle fighting biopic.

Producers Nick Taussig and Paul Van Carter are leaving Revolver Entertainment to set up their own finance and production outfit, Salon Pictures.

The new London-based company is backed by private equity. The aim is to work on films budgeted at $1m to $10m that have international reach. They plan to work with some EIS funding for productions, as well as accessing public funding and tax rebates in the UK or abroad.

The initial slate of projects includes:

Warlord, a “ticking-clock” story of Winston Churchill during the 24 hours before D-Day (at script stage with Casarotto helping to package it)

Lenny, a character study of the bare-knuckle fighter Lenny McLean (aka The Guv’nor), set in 1976. (That project had been previously announced as a Gunslinger property in summer 2011.)

The Confession, a Hitchcock-ian teen thriller set in the Austrian Alps to be written and directed by Paul Angunawela (a former Screen International Star of Tomorrow). Dev Patel is in talks to star.

A Los Angeles-set cop thriller to be directed by Tower Block’s James Nunn.

A literary adaptation that will mark Ian Bonhote’s feature directorial debut. Bonhote is a commercials veteran who is a founder of Pulse Films.

Taussig said that the Nunn thriller will likely shoot by the end of 2013. The others will be readied for shoots in 2014 and beyond.

Taussig and Van Carter will produce all films together and serve as joint MDs of Salon. Taussig will be in Berlin to discuss the slate.

Van Carter notes they will focus on “making films that matter but that also see a return for our investors.”

Taussig says that he and Van Carter started planning the new outfit several months ago.

“We’ve spent three years trying to build up the production capacity of Revolver, and we found in that period that’s where our passions lay, that’s what we want to pursue,” Taussig told Screen. “We wanted to create something that’s more about the filmmakers than working in distribution. Gunslinger was great but we were making a certain type of film and now we want to do something slightly different.”

Taussig adds, “Coming from over a decade in distribution I repeatedly saw films designed for a domestic market consistently over-budgeted, or films designed for an international market often too poor in quality to have any reach in the market. To perform for investors, while at the same time delivering product for intelligent audiences and product there is an appetite for, is key to us.”  

Salon has no plans to be involved in distribution, but the partners say their distribution experience from Revolver is invaluable.

Van Carter says, “Our focus is purely on production. Nurturing our relationships with talent and creatives will be at the core of what we do – that is the key to our business model. We started Salon inspired by the old Paris Salon, a place for artists to develop ideas. From our background in distribution we feel well placed, having an understanding of the realities of the market from both the sharp end to the final product.”

While at Revolver and its in-house production arm Gunslinger Films, Taussig and Van Carter produced four features in four years: Anuvahood, Offender, Sket and Shank. The projects were notable for engaging with youth audiences underserved in the UK.

Van Carter noted:  “Our departure marks a clear change in direction for the projects we develop – they will serve the vision of new talent, and see our relationships with a new generation of British filmmaking talent burgeon. Together we are developing films for an intelligent international audience.”

Taussig, who was MD of Revolver and director of production at Gunslinger and Van Carter, who headed development for Gunslinger (and also wrote screenplays for Offender and Shank) , are the latest staffers to leave Revolver. As Screen reported in January, more than a dozen others have recently left the company.

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