By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

A24 OPENS DOORS FOR FILM DISTRIBUTION, FINANCE AND PRODUCTION

Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, John Hodges launch Company 

NEW YORK, NY (August 20, 2012) — Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges today announced the formation of A24, a New York-based film company focused on distribution, financing and production. A24 will acquire finished films, and also finance and produce its own content.  The company plans to distribute eight to ten titles per year, several of which will have wide theatrical releases.

Commented Katz, Fenkel, and Hodges: “We see an exciting opportunity right now for movies in the domestic space especially given all the new ways to target moviegoers and the changes that are happening in the marketplace. We are looking forward to working with great storytellers to bring their films to audiences.”

Katz led the film finance group at Guggenheim Partners where he participated in over $500 million of film, TV and digital financing transactions, including THE SOCIAL NETWORK, ZOMBIELAND, the TWILIGHT franchise and TENDERNESS.

Fenkel was formerly President and Partner of NYC-based Oscilloscope Laboratories, Adam Yauch’s film distribution and production company.  Fenkel and Yauch co-founded the company in 2008, and Fenkel maintained oversight of all aspects of the company including theatrical, in-house DVD, and direct digital distribution, acquisitions, marketing, and operations.  In its first four years, Oscilloscope’s films received six Oscar nominations.  Fenkel spearheaded releases for Lynne Ramsay’s Golden Globenominated WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN starring Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, and Ezra Miller, Oren Moverman’s Oscar-nominated THE MESSENGER starring Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton and Kelly Reichardt’s WENDY & LUCY, both starring Michelle Williams.

Hodges previously served as Head of Production & Development at Big Beach Films (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, SUNSHINE CLEANING, AWAY WE GO, OUR IDIOT BROTHER).  Hodges executive produced the Jesse Peretz’s OUR IDIOT BROTHER starring Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Banks; and Colin Trevorrow’s SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED starring Aubrey Plaza and Jake M. Johnson.  He also produced the just completed Jordan Vogt-Roberts TOY’S HOUSE, based on Chris Gulletta’s Black List script. Prior to joining Big Beach, Hodges was a Production Executive at Lorne Michaels and John Goldwyn’s Paramount-based production company, and previously was an Acquisitions Executive at both Focus Features and USA Films.

A24 headquarters will be in NYC.

Facebook.com/A24Films

A24Films.com

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2 Responses to “A24 OPENS DOORS FOR FILM DISTRIBUTION, FINANCE AND PRODUCTION”

  1. Paul Friedman says:

    TO: Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges
    at A24

    Dear Mr. Kata, Fenkel and Hodges,

    I am aware that A24 often produces its own content. Below, I seek your company’s interest in producing my spec comedy “MOB CAMP”.

    “MOB CAMP”
    – A coming-of-age satirical black comedy –

    LOGLINE: Rebellious teens of Mafia dons are packed off to ‘Mob Camp’ to learn the tools-of-the-trade, but the choice of camp-location has dislodged the brutal Spanish-Harlem Mafia: Big Mistakesy!

    ****

    A Teensy-Weensy More Story: The young hero of our story, never interested in the ‘family business’, wants to be a writer. His first book, a sex manual for teenagers titled: “DOING IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME” is a New York Times Best Seller! — Near the end of camp training, our young hero’s father (a Mafia don) is seriously wounded and the youngster returns home to destroy his father’s enemies.

    Nothing wrong with that, but the kid has fallen in love with the daughter of his father’s most dreaded enemy, a don of the ruthless Spanish Mafia!

    May I send you a copy of Mob Camp?

    Paul L. Friedman
    Adjunct Professor, USC Cinema
    Screenwriting Div.
    friedmac3@gmail.com
    310-433-3436 Cell

  2. Paul Friedman says:

    TO: Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges
    at A24

    Dear Mr. Kata, Fenkel and Hodges,

    I am aware that A24 often produces its own content. Below, I seek your company’s interest in producing my spec comedy “MOB CAMP”.

    “MOB CAMP”
    – A coming-of-age satirical black comedy –

    LOGLINE: Rebellious teens of Mafia dons are packed off to ‘Mob Camp’ to learn the tools-of-the-trade, but the choice of camp-location has dislodged the brutal Spanish-Harlem Mafia: Big Mistakesy!

    ****

    A Teensy-Weensy More Story: The young hero of our story, never interested in the ‘family business’, wants to be a writer. His first book, a sex manual for teenagers titled: “DOING IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME” is a New York Times Best Seller! — Near the end of camp training, our young hero’s father (a Mafia don) is seriously wounded and the youngster returns home to destroy his father’s enemies.

    Nothing wrong with that, but the kid has fallen in love with the daughter of his father’s most dreaded enemy — a don of the ruthless Spanish Mafia!

    May I send you a copy of Mob Camp?

    Paul L. Friedman
    Adjunct Professor
    USC Cinema – Screenwriting Div.
    friedmac3@gmail.com
    310-433-3436 Cell

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin