Ed Pressman and JohnSchmidt's New York-based production outfit ContentFilm has formed atwo-year strategic alliance with LA-based producer Sean Furst and his FurstFilms. And in an unusual angle to the deal, Rena Ronson and Cassian Elwes ofWilliam Morris Agency division WMA Independent will provide "strategicsupport" by sharing its resources with the alliance.
The alliance plans tojumpstart development and production of a number of films to be shot partiallyor wholly on digital video which will then be distributed by ContentFilm. Thefirst film to be greenlit by Content is The Cooler, a comedy starring William H Macy and Alec Baldwinwhich is set to begin production in May. Furst is producing the film alongsideMichael Pierce of Pierce-Williams.
Under the terms of the newalliance, ContentFilm will work closely with Furst Films and WMA Independent toidentify a wide range of projects, film-makers and other talent represented byWMA that are suited to the DV medium. Those projects will be evaluated and broughtto Pressman and Schmidt by Furst, who will then develop and produce thoseprojects which ContentFilm agrees to finance. Development will be headed byBryan Furst of Furst Film, who will serve as co-producer as the films are shot.Pressman and Schmidt will act as executive producers.
Furst's creditsinclude Marc Forster's highly acclaimed feature Everything PutTogether which played in dramaticcompetition at the Sundance Film Festival 2000. He also co-executive produced OwningMahowney, Richard Kwietniowski'slatest picture, with Pressman and the two developed a friendship on that film.It stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Minnie Driver and John Hurt. Furst iscurrently producing Marlene King's Rain Falls for Myriad Pictures with Christian Slater and PatriciaArquette starring.
WMA Independent may alsohelp identify additional financing for a Furst Films/ ContentFilm production,may assist in packaging the projects and may, on a case-by-case basis, assistin the project's possible sale.
"I am excited thatContentFilm and WMA Independent are among the first major industry players torecognize that films shot on Digital Video can garner both critical acclaim andsuccess at the specialised boxoffice," said Furst in a statement."They are the wave of the future."
"Soon after Sean cameto WMA Independent for representation of his first digital production, EverythingPut Together, we began discussingdigital filmmaking and the idea of creating a greater avenue for writers,directors and actors to explore this medium," said Rena Ronson."We're thrilled that our strategy has now come to fruition withContentFilm, which not only gives our clients a direct outlet to financing, butalso provides them with the ability to work with a group of producerswell-versed in the new digital medium."