Tristan Whalley and Nicki Parfitt first met while working for Portman Entertainment on the comedy Saving Grace in 2000. Both saw the potential of the film, originally made for TV, to go larger. Of course, it did.
Whalley and Parfitt are now using that approach with their new company Goalpost Film. "What we're going to concentrate on is being a bespoke company for sales, marketing and financing, working with about five films a year, of budgets $10m and under," says Whalley, who has worked at Majestic. "What we've both got experience working on is the high-end crossover film."
Whalley and Parfitt started the London-based Goalpost Film in 2006 and launched officially at Sundance with their first film, the Australian coming-of-age comedy Clubland. That proved to be quite a successful start, as the film, which stars Brenda Blethyn, sold to Warner Independent (US, UK, Canada, Germany), Wild Bunch Distribution (France), Scanbox (Scandinavia), A-Film (Benelux), Rosebud (Greece) and EIM (for airlines). With Australia's RB Films, Goalpost had been involved for several years on the project, which it financed along with FFC Australia, Canada's Shaftesbury, and private equity funds.
Now Goalpost is hosting an official sales office in Cannes for the first time, continuing sales on Clubland and also on Rupert Wyatt's prison-escape thriller The Escapist (now in post), starring Brian Cox and Joseph Fiennes.
Goalpost also has four films at the financing/pre-production stage: James Bogle's Elise starring singer Natalie Imbruglia; China-set family drama Happy Ever After; Little Britain director Matt Lipsey's feature debut, the comedy The Climb; and Sex and Dogs, casting now in Toronto.
"We're trying to get under the skin of every film, every one needs that individual treatment," says Parfitt.
The slate is quite international with most projects financed outside the UK. "It's increasingly tough to finance British films out of Britain," Parfitt notes. "All companies at the moment are looking globally."
Whalley adds that Goalpost does not want to work with watered-down lowest-common-denominator films. "We have to take on films grounded in a specific world, but they also need a universality."
By getting involved at the financing stage, Goalpost also hopes to diversify its business, not just with sales but also with executive producing fees.