Gary Smith of Intandem Films takes a three-pronged approach to the film business. 'Our take is very simple - you've got to have a relationship with producers for quality, commercial source material, a relationship with a wide range of financiers for our executive production and financing, and good relationships with distributors so that we sell the films. Throughout any film, we're working with all three sources.'
The strategy is showing results, as Intandem enters a period of ramped-up activity. For instance, its biggest film so far, How To Lose Friends & Alienate People, is finished and sold to MGM for the US and Paramount for other English-speaking territories.
The $27m How To Lose Friends, starring Simon Pegg and Kirsten Dunst, was developed out of Number 9's Super-Slate consortium (with the UK Film Council, Intandem, Film4 and the Irish Film Board). Those slate partnerships have recently been dissolved but Intandem plans to continue with a number of projects with Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen's Number 9, including junior Eurovision documentary Starstruck and Julian Schnabel's The Lonely Doll.
After leaving Winchester Entertainment, Smith set up Intandem in late 2003 and was joined by other Winchester veterans Andrew Brown and Billy Hurman (the company has since listed on London's Alternative Investment Market). Past projects include Irresistible starring Susan Sarandon, and Anand Tucker's And When Did You Last See Your Father' with Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent; and the now-completed Wesley Snipes feature GallowWalker, which Lionsgate will release.
Intandem also has a pivotal new deal (including a 10% equity stake) with Barry Levine's Los Angeles-based comic-book company Radical Publishing, with Intandem handling sales and executive producing for Radical's film material. 'That (partnership) has gone absolutely gangbusters so far,' says Smith. Radical is developing its up-to-$100m Hercules project (now set up at Spyglass/Universal) and that leaves Intandem well-positioned to set up John Woo's $60m-$80m Caliber with Johnny Depp and Sam Sarkar's Infinitum Nihil; a live-action Aladdin; Khrome (written by 30 Days Of Night's Steve Niles); Freedom Formula (likely with a studio partner); and other Radical projects.
Apart from that deal, Intandem's average budgets are capped at around $15m-$20m. Plans are underway for Simon West's $24m heist film Let It Ride (to shoot in New Orleans in May/June); Rob Prior and Paul Jenkins' $25m sci-fi thriller Tatua, casting now; and Martha Fiennes' espionage thriller Blown to star Thandie Newton and Guy Pearce . The company rarely picks up finished films, but one on its slate is Dan Ireland's Jolene, with Jessica Chastain and Dermot Mulroney. A new project with Tommy Lee Jones will be announced in Cannes.
Smith says Intandem fills a niche, especially after the disappearance of companies such as New Line: 'There aren't that many companies doing what we're doing. We see ourselves as professional executive producers, not just a sales company. We don't like to call ourselves a sales agent; we're more like a studio in that we get involved with producers right from the start.'
Intandem's financial sources include funds such as London-based Aramid, various equity sources, mezzanine financiers in Los Angeles, and the US state tax credits. For the right films, Smith sees no lack of funding. 'Our belief is that we concentrate on good material and the money will follow. People aren't wasting their money like they used to on B-list, C-list, average material. So they've got the money for the bigger titles. We've recognised that before, that's why we're doing what we're doing.'