Gary Hamilton's Australian-US company Arclight Films is no stranger to the circuit but buyers may have detected a change in tone over recent months. Hamilton was at the AFM in Santa Monica this week with the first fruits of his new direction away from being primarily a financing and sales company.
'Basically we're moving more into production,' says Hamilton. 'There are a number of films we will always do as a sales agency but more and more we have been involved as executive producers over the years and we wanted to broaden that role.'
After international sales chief Jonathan Deckter departed for Lakeshore a while back and Liz Mackiewicz ended her brief stint overseeing the division, Hamilton acted swiftly to bring stability to his company.
Shortly before Cannes, Arclight acquired Conquistador Worldwide Media and installed Pascal Borno as the new president of sales and acquisitions. With Borno in place, Hamilton brought in Constantin Film production executive Mike Gabrawy last month to head up production in Los Angeles and oversee international productions in Europe, Australia and Asia.
The two appointments sent out a clear signal of intent. The goal is to develop and produce eight to 10 films a year and two projects are ready to go in January.
Russell Mulcahy will direct the $16m thriller The Courier from a screenplay by in-demand Wanted and 3:10 To Yuma writers Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. Adrien Brody stars and the film will shoot in Louisiana and Las Vegas.
The $5m supernatural thriller Altitude with production partners Escape Factory from Vancouver and Infinity Features will be directed by Kaare Andrews in Toronto.
'Pascal's definitely been instrumental in our growth, as has Mike,' Hamilton says. 'Increasing our production role is a natural progression, especially seeing as it's become harder to get films made in the current climate.'
Borno agrees: 'By producing our own movies, we guarantee product flow. We're controlling our own destiny.'
Destiny in this case includes the $22m comic book adaptation The Witchblade with Platinum Studios and Top Crow Productions which Queen Of The Damned director Michael Rymer will shoot in Australia next year.
As AFM approached, Borno was preparing to tempt buyers with the $30m Easternlight live-action adventure Mulan which is being produced with Steve Waterman and has been earmarked for a second-quarter 2009 shoot in China.
The roster also includes the Hong Kong martial arts tale Champions and thriller Long Weekend starring Jim Caviezel as well as third-party pick-ups such as the German wartime action title The Red Baron starring Joseph Fiennes, Australian ghost story Lake Mungo and South African comedy Mr Bones 2.