10 people to know in Toronto

Essential movers and shakers north of the border

Arianna Bocco
Senior vp acquisitions and productions, IFC Films

Recent Projects: "The Housemaid," "We Are What We Are," "Certified Copy," "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work"
Money to Spend: "It just depends on the film. I don't care what budgets the films are made for -- we can spend upward of seven figures to acquire. I don't have a set acquisition budget; it depends on the film."
Business Philosophy: "Filmmakers really need to think about who their audience is and be realistic about reaching them. There is so much content out there and I think IFC Films really stands above the pack in offering interesting and unique films to our audience. We have really managed to not only weather the radical changes in the marketplace, but create a different distribution model that makes us a stronger player and advocate for independent film and filmmakers."

Sturla Gunnarsson
Canadian movie and TV director (president, Directors Guild of Canada)


Recent Projects: "Force of Nature," "Beowulf & Grendel," "Rookie Blue"
Business Philosophy: "I'm often described as an 'eclectic' filmmaker, I suppose because of the broad range of themes, interests, genres and platforms my work encompasses. I make dramatic films that are rooted in the real world and documentaries that feel dramatic. I'm fascinated by the intersection of history and biography and the dance between politics and poetry. The common thread is a humanist approach to the real world, which is pretty much what led me to a leadership role at the Directors Guild -- my belief in the moral, creative and economic rights of artists."

Peter Finestone
Toronto film commissioner


Recent Projects: "Devil," "Drew Dowdie," "Dream House," "Red"
Business Philosophy: "The Toronto Film and Television Office offers filmmakers one-stop shopping for filming in Toronto, cutting red tape, coordinating city services and ensuring a positive experience. We want to be a leader among film jurisdictions in developing an excellent infrastructure, skilled crews, seasoned and creative actors, producers, directors, designers and other professionals, as well as multiple suppliers to support filming from pre- to postproduction."

Stuart Ford
CEO of IM Global


Recent Projects:
"Safe," "Protection," "Everything Must Go," "Bunraku"
Money to Spend: Besides backing from Reliance Big Pictures, IM Global has secured a $60 million senior credit facility from Comerica Bank.
Business Philosophy: "Despite the recent acquisition by a huge corporation like Reliance, we're continuing to focus on the same core principles that we preached in our sales agency days: backing commercially driven films budgeted at the right level and with story and talent components that can be monetized globally."

Norton Herrick
Chairman and CEO of Herrick Entertainment


Recent Projects: "My One and Only," "Vanishing on 7th Street"
Money to Spend: "I get involved with projects that I feel I want to get behind based on the merit of each project."
Business Philosophy: "Having made my money outside of the movie business, I don't feel burdened by having to make deals using the traditional Hollywood business paradigm which, like Las Vegas odds, stacks the deck against an investor willing to put his money at risk in a movie. I evaluate movie deals based on what makes sense to me economically and not based on how others have done their deals in Hollywood in the past. I'm guided by basic common sense and I'm not at all impressed by empirical models."

Berry Meyerowitz
President and CEO of Phase 4 Films


Recent Projects: "The Freebie," "Brotherhood," "Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel"
Business Philosophy: "We have flexibility to distribute content only in the U.S. market, or only in Canada, depending on rights availability. Over the past year the supply of high-quality finished films has diminished, so we're pursuing projects at an earlier stage to secure the best genres, actors and producing and directing teams. We also provide finishing funds for projects in production, and are looking to become more involved with Canadian and Telefilm funded projects."

Michel Pradier
Director of project financing, Telefilm Canada


Recent Projects: "Barney's Version," "Splice," "Incendies"
Money to Spend: $100 million annually through the Canadian Feature Film Fund.
Business Philosophy: "Telefilm Canada supports the industry by funding a diverse portfolio of film projects, and through a host of business and professional development initiatives. Telefilm partners with the industry during all stages of project development, production, postproduction and, finally, getting to market. We focus on building a portfolio of successful projects and helping connect with audiences."

Celine Rattray
President, Mandalay Vision


Recent Projects:
"The Kids Are All Right," "The Whistleblower," "Salvation Boulevard," "Soul Surfer"
Money to Spend: Fully or partially films with budgets up to $16 million, as well as soft money, foreign sales and equity for a range of projects.
Business Philosophy: "We support filmmakers that make self-distinguished, independent films that can find audiences with multiple demos. We help filmmakers develop and make films that stand out and define the ever-changing landscape of independent cinema."

Peter Raymont
Canadian documentary director-producer, White Pine Pictures


Recent Projects:
"Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould," "A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman"
Business Philosophy: "We're producing films as enlightening as they're entertaining, films that challenge convention, probe the complacent and shine a bright light into dark corners -- around the world and within ourselves. We work with the most creative film and television craftspeople and the best broadcasters and distributors to create meaningful entertainment with the very highest production values."

Stewart Till
CEO of Icon U.K.


Recent Projects:
"West Is West," "The Tempest," "Buried"
Money to Spend: Significant financial involvement in films with budgets up to $40 million.
Business Philosophy: "Icon currently has two roles -- U.K. distribution and worldwide sales. We are committed in the longer term to becoming a pan-European mini-studio with our own distribution in several of the key markets. We are looking for projects that have very strong elements that will attract the attention of and appeal to both the international buyers and the consumers."

Compiled by Etan Vlessing
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