New York-based Visit Films has established itself as a growing boutique sales company for the kind of smaller-budget festival hits that can become lost in the international marketplace.
"In the environment we started the company in, we quickly filled a niche," says co-founder Ryan Kampe.
That niche, however, can be "hard to put a stamp on", says Visit's other partner, Sylvain Tron. "It's festival films, arthouse films. We're very film-maker driven, we work on films with a clear voice, not (films from) directors for hire. We need films that have a soul."
Those soulful titles have included Baghead, Berlin Teddy winner The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela and Cannes Directors' Fortnight hit The Pleasure Of Being Robbed.
New titles added include Toronto selections The Paranoids and Adela, The Higher Force featuring Michael Imperioli, Venice title Zero Bridge by Tariq Tapa, Ry Russo-Young's You Won't Miss Me, and Rotterdam festival-bound Helen by Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy.
Larger projects on the slate include Holly, starring Ron Livingston, and Sundance 2009 Spectrum selections The Missing Person and The Immaculate Conception Of Little Dizzle.
Kampe and Tron met several years ago through the New York production community. Tron had a development/production background, working on films including The Pink Panther and Fur, while Kampe had been in international distribution at Focus Features.
"We've got a very different approach to things, which converts to something good," Tron says of the partners' backgrounds and taste in films.
The international distribution community has started to learn about the kinds of smaller gems Visit can bring to the marketplace, mostly completed films from first and second-time film-makers. "As we become more familiar to buyers, they know what we're bringing them," Kampe says.
Tron and Kampe are also helping film-makers - among them Alistair Banks Griffin, who made New York Film Festival short Gauge, and Frownland director Ronald Bronstein - develop features. A Spanish-language family adventure is also in the works.
Although they may continue to produce, the "primary focus right now is the sales side," Tron notes.
Kampe explains that conducting sales allows the Visit partners to work with more film-makers - some of them familiar only with the US indie side of the business and therefore in need of help on international festival strategy - than if they were just producing. "It's a way to work with amazing film-makers," Kampe says, "and be involved in the whole process and build this library of titles."