'Steve is the creative genius and I'm the deal maker,' said Adams, who is American. Asked whether the move was motivated by the 40 per cent offset that is now available to producers of Australian films, he said: 'I'm interested in making movies that will be financed at a studio level because they are so good they will be made regardless.'
The pair first met in the early 1990s when Kearney, half of the one-time Australian comedy duo Los Trios Ringbarkus, had development deals with various studios and was living in the US; this new venture represents a revitalisation of their friendship. Adams is expected to announce deals on several projects when he addresses delegates at the annual conference of the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA), which is being held in about six weeks in Queensland.
The pair are operating under Adams's Orbit Media Group in the US and Kearney and partner Leanne Tonkes's Mini Studios, which has a range of projects in development including teen revenge, zombie and other genre films, and several biopics, including one about the controversial politician Pauline Hanson, which is being written by Stephen Sewell.
'My guidance to Steve (Kearney) is that I don't care if it is a movie about Australia, for Australians, or by Australians,' said Adams, 'but it has got to be a movie that stands in its own right, a movie that anybody would see, and that's what he has been delivering me.'
Adams is involved in a range of companies, many in new media. The common factor, he says, is that they all attempt to expand the reach of great storytelling whether it is 90 seconds in length or 90 minutes. It is his worldwide business interests that are the core reason for the move to Australia in late 2009: he travels for up to half the year and his Australian wife, Sharon Adams, and young son will now be among family and friends when he is absent.
Adams was senior vice president of business development and chief vision officer from day one at Participant, the film investor with the social conscience, and left in February 2006, soon after the company's films, including An Inconvenient Truth, won four Academy Awards.
'It is one of those decisions that no-one no-one understands but I understand it perfectly: the decision was because I had fulfilled my job,' he said. 'I'm a guy who starts with the blank piece of paper, that loves the unknown and loves to create companies.'
Many of the sessions at the three-day SPAA Conference relate to Australia's new feature film landscape: emerging business models will be analysed, lenders will discuss what they require before agreeing to cashflow the offset, speakers will delve into how to create scripts of broader appeal and, in a session chaired by former Film Finance Corporation chief executive Brian Rosen, several producers will discuss why and how they are setting up permanent alliances with overseas players.