EXCLUSIVE: Indie producer Cassian Elwes and The Black List chief Franklin Leonard have chosen screenwriter Matthew Hickman to attend the 2014 Sundance Film Festival as the recipient of the inaugural Cassian Elwes Screenwriting Fellow. Elwes, whose producing credits just this year include Dallas Buyers Club, All Is Lost, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Lee Daniels’ The Butler, hatched this plan in October for aspiring scribes who are agent-less and haven’t made more than $5000 writing. The scripts were chosen from among those displayed on the Black List service. The winner gets their trip paid for, and will be mentored by Elwes as he makes his way around the slopes for the films he will undoubtedly be talking up at Sundance. Hickman was chosen from among 10 finalists for his script An Elegy For Evelyn Francis. That work was described by the Black List’s evaluation as “a script that never lets up; it constantly plows through the consequences of every action, raising the dramatic tension and emotional stakes at every level.”
Elwes wants to make this an annual event. Who knows where Hickman ends up, but aspiring writers need a leg up and this seems a worthy gesture, as did the one I wrote about yesterday, in which neophyte scribe Tasha Huo got a blind script deal through a program initiated by Warner Bros’ movie chief Greg Silverman and The Black List. Hey, you never know. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: e2b Capital’s Robert Ogden Barnum and Cassian Elwes have teamed with Windy Hill Pictures’ Buddy Patrick to form Lifeboat Capital, a service that will provide bridge financing to makers of indie films. The trio will manage … Read More »
Producer Cassian Elwes and Black List founder Franklin Leonard have created the Cassian Elwes Independent Screenwriting Fellowship. They will send one writer who doesn’t have an agent and hasn’t made more than $,5000 from scribbling to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. They’ll cover the trip’s cost, and Elwes will mentor the scribe. The portal of entry is Leonard’s Black List. Writers with scripts on the service since October 15, 2012, can opt into consideration. They’ll tally a shortlist after December 1 and pick a winner. The plan is to make this an annual deal.
Related: Warners Turns To Black List To Find Scribes In Underserved Demos
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David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo so far have been only moderately useful for most independent filmmakers trying to finance their next movie, but that could change significantly under the federal JOBS Act passed earlier this year, said members of a panel at the Digital Hollywood conference, which wraps today in Marina del Rey.
Under previous rules, crowdsourcing sites couldn’t offer equity stakes to contributors. Instead they receive modest tokens of appreciation such as T-shirts or tickets to screenings — in other words, they get nothing more than the satisfaction of helping a movie get started. The new law will allow intermediaries such as crowdsourcing sites to sell members modest equity stakes in films, up to $10,000 or 10% of each user’s income. The project must set a fundraising goal and if it doesn’t raise at least 60% of that, no money would change hands. “There are many more opportunities to come and we’re just seeing the start of this,” said Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute, which has raised $3 million on behalf of 85 films through Kickstarter. The SEC is currently establishing regulations under the new law. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Wind and rain have been sweeping the Croisette but Cassian Elwes says, “I feel like I’m on fire.” The former WMA head of independent film who’s now producing and packaging indies has skin in the game in Cannes with … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Cassian Elwes, who two years ago transitioned from WMA independent film head to producer and packager of indies, has made a partnership deal with Evolution Entertainment. Elwes and Evolution principal Mark Burg will team for Evolution Independent. While Evolution … Read More »
Days before its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, Nick Broomfield’s hot-button expose documentary Sarah Palin: You Betcha! has been acquired by Freestyle Releasing. The plan is to open in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 30 and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company, already on a Cannes acquisition spree, has emerged as the clear frontrunner for domestic distribution rights on The Wettest County in the World, after another all-night bargaining session between Harvey Weinstein’s acquisition team and CAA. I’m … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the Dito Montiel-directed cop drama The Son Of No One, which was the 2011 Sundance Film Festival’s final premiere last Friday. I’m told the deal was in the $2 million minimum … Read More »
Cassian Elwes, who’s selling distribution rights to Dito Montiel’s The Son of No One, is crying foul over a barbed trade story about the film’s first Sundance screening. The piece reported that a multitude of buyers were in attendance, and … Read More »
The JC Chandor-directed drama Margin Call sold to Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate after an all night bargaining session. The film stars Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell and Stanley Tucci. That cast … Read More »