A group of industry veteransincluding former Robert Redford producing partners Leslie Urdang and MichaelNozik have launched the low budget video production house Serenade Films, based in Los Angeles.
Urdang willspearhead the team along with Nozik, One Fine Day director Michael Hoffman and AfterHours producer AmyRobinson. Co-producer Nick Goodwin Self and production executive Ami Armstrongcomplete the line-up.
The partnershave already secured funding from private investors and plan to make five filmsin 2004, each budgeted in the low six-figures range. All titles will be shot ondigital or high definition video for theatrical distribution. The model echoes the New York-based InDiGent collective formed by Gary Winick, John Sloss and IFC Entertainment and responsible for Pieces Of April, Tadpole and Personal Velocity.
The first titlewill be The Great New Wonderful, a post-9/11 drama that is due to begin shooting in New York inearly 2004. The deal is being packaged with the help of Jeremy Barber, DavidKramer and UTA.
Serenade will produce withMatt Tauber, director Danny Leiner's partner at Sly Dogs Films. Tony Shalhouband Eddie Falco are already attached to the ensemble cast.
Serenade'sbusiness model dictates that film-makers will work for low but equal fees andparticipate in the first dollar adjusted gross from all revenues derived fromthe film's sale and distribution.
"We are like theJet Blue of the film industry - no frills, but we offer film-makers anopportunity to make movies they are passionate about - and we have theflexibility to move quickly when all the elements come together," Urdang saidin a statement. "There's no bureaucracy - we are truly independent."
Urdangpreviously had a producing deal with Twentieth Century Fox and her creditsinclude Hoffman's A Midsummer Night's Dream. She also worked as a producer atRedford's Wildwood Enterprises and is currently working on the romantic comedy WendyAnd The Lost Boys forFox Searchlight.
Nozik alsoworked at Wildwood and received an Academy Award nomination for Quiz Show. His recent producing credits includethe upcoming The Motorcycle Diaries, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal, and People I Know with Al Pacino.
Hoffman'sdirecting credits include One Fine Day, A Midsummer Night's Dream and he recently collaborated with KevinKline on The Emperor's Club.
Robinson startedout as an actress before turning to producing, where credits include AfterHours, From Hell and TomCairns' upcoming black comedy Marie And Bruce, which will premiere at Sundance inJanuary.
Self trained asa BBC editor and moved into development and line producing, where his creditsinclude The Omega Code.
Armstrongfounded the Malaparte Theatre Company and has produced and developed a numberof films and plays.