As the AFM draws closer, the sense of alarm surrounding the escalating crisis at The Weinstein Company (TWC) has thrown into question the prospect of relations with international film buyers.
While nobody from the space had gone on the record at time of writing, those who spoke to Screen painted a picture of disgust among male and female international acquisition executives in light of rape and sexual harassment allegations concerning Harvey Weinstein that have come to light in the past week.
Weinstein himself did not play a prominent role in the sales operation run by TWC president and COO David Glasser and his head of sales, a position held since 2015 by president of international sales and distribution Ennis Hensley. However Weinstein had been known to attend presentations and meet key buyers at festivals and markets in support of big titles.
Despite years of rumours about Weinstein’s behavior, Miramax International and TWC built a reputation as a reliable purveyor of prestige, commercial fare and occupied the upper echelons of the sales community.
Recently the pipeline has dried up a little and now, as outrage mounts, the question is how can Glasser and Hensley placate longtime partners who will be reviewing their association with a tainted brand. It is understood there will be a TWC sales presence at the AFM.
“It all depends on who will be there,” one source who asked to remain anonymous said on the morning The New Yorker article broke. “It’s good that this finally came out. I can’t believe the article. He’s much creepier than I thought.
“There is no new product there right now. They have been slow for a while. Let’s see who will take over the reins. Harvey was the company. A company without him is a whole other ball game. This ‘new TWC’ will have to establish and prove themselves. Companies are about the people; they are nothing but an empty name after the principal leaves. So it all depends who will take over the ship and if they will be able to deliver quality films.”
Benedict Cumberbatch historical drama The Current War earned a lukewarm reception in Toronto and has mostly sold out, while it is understood Glasser and Hensley are working on deals on Michael Moore’s Donald Trump doc Fahrenheit 11/9, which they brought to market in Cannes.
The sales team is also trying to sell Intouchables remake The Upside starring Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman.
Damián Szifron’s Six Billion Dollar Man ‘reboot’ of the TV series to star Mark Wahlberg remains unsold and sources said Glasser and Hensley may be looking to sell the expensive project to a studio or streaming platform.
The AFM runs from November 1-8 in Santa Monica.