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News
Indy films look for money
September 18, 1996: 8:51 p.m. ET

Low budgets, new talent lure Hollywood and gutsy investors
From Correspondent Beverly Schuch
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - At the Independent Feature Film Market in New York, small filmmakers are networking with producers, distributors, and investors.
     The talk at the festival deals less with shot selection and more with money. Films are known to be risky investments, and raising capital is often one of the main challenges for these filmmakers.
     When Ed Burns, producer of The Brothers Mcmullen, took his father's $25,000 investment and turned it into a $10 million blockbuster hit, Hollywood sat up and took notice.
     At the Independent Feature Film Market, held at New York's Angelika Theater, producers, directors, and investors are reviewing 111 feature films, 105 works in progress, 50 short films, and 98 scripts.
     With less than five percent of these projects expected to gain national attention, small filmmakers have had to become savvy at raising money.
     The market in independent films has evolved over the past ten years, and investors like Jon Ein, managing partner at Foundry Film Partners, look at the movies with a cold business eye.
     "We take that market information, we value the rights that we invest against, we apply a big discount to those rights to give us protection and we put up the money. It's very simple."
     One of the movies showcased at this conference, Ratchet, was financed by outside investors.
     Producer George Belshaw said luring investors for his low budget movie required answering basic, though fair, questions.(123K WAV) or (123K AIFF)
     For Hollywood, the attraction of independent films is the low budgets and new talent that they often feature.
     Marketing and development costs, said Herbert Beigel, president of Forensic Films, ensure that some studios don't produce films -- "not because they are not worthwhile projects, but just the economics and the dynamics don't permit it."
     The potential payoff Hollywood can offer is painfully evident to the struggling filmmakers gathered at the festival. As they look around at each other, they wonder who might become the next Ed Burns or Spike Lee. Back to top

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