Cannes: Meet 5 Lawyers Who Can Seal the Deal

6:00 AM 5/8/2018

by Ashley Cullins

These top reps and their teams handle film finance for such projects as 'Peter Rabbit' and Matthew McConaughey's 'Serenity'— on and off the Croisette.

Robbert Aarts, Oliver Tisseraud and Burke at the boules tournament in Cannes in 2014.
Robbert Aarts, Oliver Tisseraud and Burke at the boules tournament in Cannes in 2014.
Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

  • John Burke

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

    Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

    Burke’s team reps just about every bank backing indie projects, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Union Bank. They’ll all be on the Riviera, as will clients Ingenious Media and Fyzz Facility. “It’s still a great place to connect with business relationships from all over the world,” says Burke, whose firm boasts one of the longest-running Cannes events, its annual boules tournament, now in its 17th year. In non-festival business, the team in 2017 represented China Media Capital in a $100 million TV joint venture with Imagine Entertainment and advised Media Rights Capital on its financing of projects like Peter Rabbit and Ozark.

  • Joseph Calabrese

    Latham & Watkins

    Courtesy of subject

    In Cannes, Calabrese and colleagues Robert Haymer and Ken Deutsch will rendezvous with U.K.- and Paris-based partners on behalf of an impressive roster of clients across production, distribution and finance. A24, Alcon Entertainment, Film Finances and Macro are just a few of the companies on whose behalf they’ll be working. Stateside, the team recently led a deal in which China’s Tencent Holdings bought a stake in client Skydance Media and advised EuropaCorp in its distribution pact with STX.

  • Mickey Mayerson

    Paul Hastings

    Courtesy of subject

    Earlier this year, Mayerson and some top colleagues made waves when they jumped ship from one mega-law firm (Loeb) to another (Hastings). The veteran attorney — who’s in Cannes with partners Stephen Saltzman and Susan Zuckerman Williams — leads the industry in complex deals and cross-border partnerships, His group recently repped Annapurna Pictures in its distribution joint venture with MGM; Aviron Pictures in its acquisition of Serenity (starring Matthew McConaughey) and A Private War (starring Rosamund Pike); and Vine Alternative Investments in its purchase of a controlling stake in Village Roadshow Entertainment.

  • Schuyler Moore

    Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger

    Courtesy of subject

    Moore, a prolific cross-Pacific deal-maker — and frequent pundit about the business — acknowledges that Cannes is no longer the “center of the universe” because so many indies are forgoing theatrical distribution in favor of digital. But he still has many clients looking to pick up rights at the fest — like Germany’s Tele Munchen and Japan’s Toho-Towa — and others shopping them. The War With Grandpa, starring Robert De Niro, and the Boies/ Schiller-produced Midnight Sun are among his clients’ films in the market. Last year, client Globalgate launched a $30 million fund for local-language productions, and Fabrica de Cine sold Martin Scorsese’s $100 million feature The Irishman to Netflix.

  • Matthew Thompson

    Sidley Austin

    Courtesy of subject

    Thompson’s team reps some of the most active companies in independent film, including eOne. “Many have suggested that, in the age of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others, the viability of festivals/markets like Cannes is in question,” he notes. “They are wrong. While these platforms are important additions to the film ecosystem, there will always be a need for a place where quality filmmaking is celebrated and fostered.” The firm also reps Len Blavatnik’s Access Entertainment and recently advised Neon in an eightfigure investment from 30West.

    This story first appeared in the May 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.