GreeneStreet Films International (Gsfi) chief Ariel Veneziano's decision to move from New York to Los Angeles last October underscores the strides the division has taken.
In the last year or so Veneziano has worked furiously to beef up the sales arm of John Penotti and Fisher Stevens' New York-based GreeneStreet Films, and says Los Angeles is now the only place for him to be.
"On a practical level, there's a much wider choice of personnel to work with here and there's a bigger community," Veneziano says. "There are great people in New York but they're harder to find because the community is smaller. In the broader context, as GreeneStreet looks to expand its production slate, this is the place for Tim (Williams, GreeneStreet partner and production chief) to get projects."
Veneziano, who shares the Los Angeles office with Williams, West Coast director of development Melanie Shanley, and Gsfi co-ordinator Crystal Bourbeau, will be introducing the Plum Pictures drama Laws Of Motion to buyers at Cannes. He hopes to add a few more titles to a sales slate that includes the Russell Crowe thriller Tenderness which Lionsgate will release domestically, the Seann William Scott comedy Gary The Tennis Coach, and the comedy Wedding Daze, which MGM will release in North America in August.
Laws Of Motion stars Hilary Swank and is styled as a bittersweet drama from Kissing Jessica Stein director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld about a family reunion. This and the existing roster demonstrate a considerable leap in status over the last 18 months or so.
"We're part of a well-established company with an excellent track record of commercial and arthouse films such as Swimfan and In The Bedroom, and we want to build on that. Our acquisitions philosophy is to increase the volume of titles, maintain the quality, and offer a full service to the films we pick up.
"Through Tim, we offer experience in producing and financing movies to whomever we strike a deal with. We're very picky about what we work on. We want all our movies to be theatrical films in the US and international territories. We're very aggressive on pre-sales and start campaigns very early."
As far as Veneziano sees it, Gsfi's marketing nous is a crucial complement to the quality of the GreeneStreet titles and third-party acquisitions he sells. "Over the past couple of years, we've really started distinguishing ourselves with a very aggressive, hands-on approach to marketing with high-grade materials. Making the movie is half the battle - everything else is perception."