Independent Film Acquisitions - How to Get Your Film U.S. Theatrical Distribution

Hosted by Jason Resnick

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Jason Resnick

Webinar hosted by: Jason Resnick

EVP, Acquisitions at Aviron Pictures

Jason Resnick is the EVP of Acquisitions for Aviron Pictures. He has been a consultant and executive producer advising organizations and filmmakers on the opportunities for production, financing and distribution in the independent film marketplace. His current clients include MGM Studios; Proimagenes Colombia, the audiovisual arm of the government of Colombia; Seven Stars Film Studios, a Chinese production and distribution company; Twin, a Japanese distribution company; Score Revolution, a new film music company and the Riki Group, a Russian animation studio. He has previously worked with SkyItalia, an Italian TV channel; the Canadian Film Centre and Script East, an Eastern European script development program. From 1998 to 2008, Mr. Resnick served as an executive for Universal Pictures and Focus Features. His most recent title was Senior Vice President and General Manager, Worldwide Acquisitions for the Universal Pictures Group. Mr. Resnick was in charge of all acquisitions and co-productions for all of Universal's distribution platforms worldwide: Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures and Universal Home Entertainment. His acquisitions for Focus included The Motorcycle Diaries, Lost in Translation, Swimming Pool, Brick, Mean Creek and My Summer of Love. His Rogue acquisitions included Jet Li’s Fearless, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party and Unleashed. For Universal his acquisitions included Ray, Drag Me to Hell, Step Up 2, Land of the Dead, Mulholland Drive, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Gosford Park and In the Bedroom. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Resnick was also in charge of Universal's local language productions in Latin America and Asia. In Latin America, this included overseeing Universal's production deal in Brazil with Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener, City of God); bringing in and overseeing Elite Squad, winner of the Golden Bear at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival and among the ten most successful Brazilian films of all time, and overseeing the production of the Mexican film, Sin Nombre, which won the Directing and Cinematography Awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. In Asia this included two major Japanese productions, Dororo and Midnight Eagle, overseeing Universal's production deal with Hong Kong-based producer, Bill Kong, which yielded master fight choreographer, Yuen Wo Ping's martial arts epic: True Legend, and Universal's co-production with CJ Entertainment of Thirst, Korean director Park Chan-wook's vampire film which won the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Resnick is fluent in French and Spanish, proficient in Italian and Portuguese and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

With more and more content being created and more avenues for films to be seen, the overall distribution market is changing at a rapid pace. But, the classic in-theater experience is still alive and well – if you have the right type of film and you understand how tailor your approach to the market. Don't think for a second that your film is not a fit for theatrical distribution or that all theaters and screens are controlled by the studios. There still IS an opportunity for a film to be distributed to the US market in theaters.

Independent film acquisitions with the intent to distribute in the US theatrical market still make up a profitable part of today’s film business. Unfortunately, many filmmakers aren’t aware of the elements a film must have to be considered for theatrical distribution. Understanding everything from where your content fits to how to put your film in the best position to be acquired is absolutely necessary in order for you to give your project the best chance to attract a buyer and give you the opportunity to have your masterpiece, the film you worked so hard to make, seen in a theater.

Jason Resnick is the Executive Vice President of Acquisitions for Aviron Pictures and has had decades of experience in theatrical distribution on films of all budget levels. He Jason was formerly the GM of Worldwide Acquisitions for the Universal Pictures Group and in charge of all acquisitions for Universal, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures and Universal Home Entertainment. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, he'll go over what the current US theatrical market looks like for film acquisitions. And, it's more accessible than you think!

To fully understand how the market has shifted and how the old thinking has become obsolete, Jason will break down the last 10 years of theatrical distribution to show you what's still working and what has dramatically changed. This information alone will give you a competitive advantage in the space and make you more attractive to buyers. He will also make you understand limited, wide, and day-and-date releases and identify the key players in each. He will show you the proper way to approach these reps and buyers so you stand out in a competitive market. Most importantly you will learn how a film is acquired for US theatrical release and what can hurt and help your chances of getting acquired.

You will walk away knowing exactly makes your film look attractive for an acquisition for the US theatrical market.

 

"I learned a lot. Really appreciate Jason's experience and expertise. Jason's presentation was considered, articulate, to the point and very informative. Was well worth the class fee."

- Rebecca D.

 

What You'll Learn

A look at theatrical distribution from 10 years ago to today

  • Where we were then, where are we now?
  • How does that impact you as a filmmaker?

Defining domestic distribution for the US market

  • Limited release
  • Wide release
  • Day and date release

Who are the key players in a release, how can you get to them?

How is a film acquired for domestic theatrical distribution?

  • 3 key points you need to consider if angling for an acquisition for theatrical release
  • What you need to have in order to qualify
  • Typical film budgets acquired
  • Festivals and Markets
  • Sales Representation
  • Publicists

What can hurt your chances of getting acquired a theatrical release?

  • 3 obstacles you need to consider
  • The #1 mistake people make that causes them not to get acquired

Deal structures

  • MG (Minimum Guarantee)
  • No advance
  • Back-End

Q&A with Jason

About Your Instructor

Jason Resnick is the EVP of Acquisitions for Aviron Pictures. He has been a consultant and executive producer advising organizations and filmmakers on the opportunities for production, financing and distribution in the independent film marketplace.

His current clients include MGM Studios; Proimagenes Colombia, the audiovisual arm of the government of Colombia; Seven Stars Film Studios, a Chinese production and distribution company; Twin, a Japanese distribution company; Score Revolution, a new film music company and the Riki Group, a Russian animation studio. He has previously worked with SkyItalia, an Italian TV channel; the Canadian Film Centre and Script East, an Eastern European script development program. From 1998 to 2008, Mr. Resnick served as an executive for Universal Pictures and Focus Features.

His most recent title was Senior Vice President and General Manager, Worldwide Acquisitions for the Universal Pictures Group. Mr. Resnick was in charge of all acquisitions and co-productions for all of Universal's distribution platforms worldwide: Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures and Universal Home Entertainment. His acquisitions for Focus included The Motorcycle Diaries, Lost in Translation, Swimming Pool, Brick, Mean Creek and My Summer of Love. His Rogue acquisitions included Jet Li’s Fearless, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party and Unleashed. For Universal his acquisitions included Ray, Drag Me to Hell, Step Up 2, Land of the Dead, Mulholland Drive, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Gosford Park and In the Bedroom. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Resnick was also in charge of Universal's local language productions in Latin America and Asia. In Latin America, this included overseeing Universal's production deal in Brazil with Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener, City of God); bringing in and overseeing Elite Squad, winner of the Golden Bear at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival and among the ten most successful Brazilian films of all time, and overseeing the production of the Mexican film, Sin Nombre, which won the Directing and Cinematography Awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

In Asia this included two major Japanese productions, Dororo and Midnight Eagle, overseeing Universal's production deal with Hong Kong-based producer, Bill Kong, which yielded master fight choreographer, Yuen Wo Ping's martial arts epic: True Legend, and Universal's co-production with CJ Entertainment of Thirst, Korean director Park Chan-wook's vampire film which won the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Resnick is fluent in French and Spanish, proficient in Italian and Portuguese and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

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