John Sloss,the New York-based entertainment lawyer who brokered so many of the distribution deals at this year's Sundance Film Festival, is now wading fully into the project financing arena through a new standalone packaging operation known as Cinetic Media.
Cinetic, which will work in close co-ordination with his Sloss Law Office, will act essentially as a strategic go-between for both filmmakers and their potential end-usersaround the world.
Through Cinetic, independent-minded talents will see projects at all budget levels married up with any number of the myriad global financing avenues that are have now opened up to accommodate an increasingly entrepreneurial Hollywood; at the same time, international distributors and other interested film buyers will be introduced to Sloss' extensive client list and contacts within a US indie filmmaking community that has seemingly grown up around Sundance over the past decade.
Among the filmmakers that have associated repeatedly with Sloss, who is listed as executive producer on many of their projects, are Richard Linklater, VictorNunez, John Sayles, Ted Demme, Whit Stillman and Todd Haynes. Among hiscorporate clients are Christine Vachon's Killer Films, Paul Allen and Jody Allen Patton's Clear Blue Sky Productions and the Independent Film Channel's IFC Films.
Cinetic will subsume and expand upon the activities of Sloss Special Projects, the offshoot that has represented film producers in their dealings with financiers and distributors. In that capacity, Sloss enjoyed particular success this year at Sundance, defying a sobre buying atmosphere by rapidly closing deals on Super Troopers, Raw Deal, The Deep End and the entire slate of digital video productions made under the InDigEnt banner (in which he is partner alongside the IFC).
Tellingly, many of those deals have a global aspect to them. The Deep End, which arrived at the festival with a pre-sale to ARP of France, was sold worldwide to Fox Searchlight outside Italy, where Key Films made a pre-emptive bid during Sundance itself. A deal currently being negotiated with a studio-based distributor for Linklater's Sundance animated sensation Waking Life would also encompass the world.
This growing international expertise is a major plank of Sloss' new globe-spanningventure. "A significant initial focus ofCinetic will be providing consulting services to foreign end-users who have had the interest but not necessarily the access to get involved in upfront financing of US-based films," he explained this week. "In addition, Cinetic will help foreign end-users to understand the landscape of the US distribution market, and provide corporate business development for foreign companies seeking strategic partnerships with US entertainment companies."
Explaining the business rationale behind Cinetic's creation, Sloss added: "The service of packaging talent with worldwide financing is one that surprisingly few companies provide and one to which none dedicates its entire focus. This service is increasingly necessary, particularly in light of the spectre of the upcoming guild strikes that could shift the focus from studio financing to independentand off-shore sources."
Joining Sloss in Cinetic are his long-time senior Special Projects' colleagueMicah Green, together with two more recent hires, Matt Littin and Erin Heidenreich. Others will be drafted in shortly, says Sloss, who plans to use this year's Cannes Film Festival as Cinetic"s official baptism as a global financing specialist. The first funded projects to benefit from its services may also be unveiled on the Croisette.