For anyone putting money into independent film these days, the question is: How do you compete with the Avengers?
In a global film landscape dominated by tentpoles, the need for risk takers in the indie space has never been greater. "The risk to us if we miss the mark is higher than ever," says Glen Basner of FilmNation. "So we spend more and more time nurturing, curating and evaluating projects to decide what is a proper theatrical film for the current market." The 25 players on THR's annual list of leading indie film financiers each has his or her own strategy for dealing with such high stakes. A few are copying the studios, backing big-budget features — like Men in Black: International or The Joker — for the majors to market and release worldwide. Others act as curators, looking to pick the next Green Book or The Favourite. Many take a portfolio strategy, rolling the dice on a slate of mid-budget features and counting on one big winner to cover the losses of the rest.
All are united in their focus on making the right movie for the right price. As the global market tightens — and even the Chinese box office has been rocky of late — a budget of just $5 million to $10 million can be a questionable proposition. For the projects that have what it takes to stand out from the crowd, these are the folks who can get those movies made.
Ashley Cullins, Mia Galuppo, Natalie Jarvey and Rebecca Keegan contributed to this report.