Grant Hardie and Chris Brown.
Monster Pictures’ Grant Hardie and Pictures in Paradise’s Chris Brown have formed a genre film investment and production company in partnership with new international financier Fairvale Entertainment.
They plan to launch with a slate of five films budgeted at $2.5 million – $3 million to be produced in Australia and New Zealand, and aim to have all released by 2023.
Today the Monsters in Paradise partners called for projects from Australian and New Zealand writers, producers, directors and creative teams. There will be a strong focus on inclusivity including female, Indigenous and LGTBI filmmakers.
“We intend to create a mini-studio with a pool of talent, like the Blumhouse model, with the add-on of distribution in Australia,” Hardie tells IF.
“As Australia and New Zealand are among the first countries to come out of COVID-19, we want to be there supporting filmmakers.”
Brown, whose credits include Bait, Daybreakers and The Proposition, says: “We want to stand up and be counted in the genre space. We have the funding, the ability, the expertise and distribution. We expect amazing talent will come to us; they will have a lot of creative freedom.”
Hardie, who got to know a lot of female and Indigenous practitioners through screening their works at MonsterFest, says: “We want to help that kind of emerging talent bring their films to market.”
Named after the fictional town in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Fairvale Entertainment was formed last month by London-based Nicolas Levene and LA-based Toby Louie.
A former head of development and production for Los Angeles Media Fund, Levene later worked as US rep for HanWay Films, handling dozens of films including Ralph Fiennes’ The White Crow, Ron Howard’s Pavarotti, Viggo Mortensen’s Falling and Simon Barrett’s Seance.
Louie started out producing documentaries for National Geographic Television in Washington before moving to LA to produce TVCs, promos, and music videos for David Fincher’s production company.
His credits include the Charles Hood-directed feature Night Owls and the Netflix series Sneakerheads, produced with Olive Bridge Entertainment.
Fairvale Entertainment will cash flow what would have been the money raised through pre-sales, giving the producers the opportunity to fetch higher prices for completed films. As Hardie observes: “A good US deal can put your film into profit.”
Brown met Levene when the latter worked at HanWay Films. “With Nicolas in London and Toby in LA, that gives us a broad reach,” he says.
The producers believe their production model of using small crews in a limited number of locations, combined with high-concept, character-driven subjects, will be ideally suited to the post COVID-19 era.
Their preference is to work with Australian creatives, taking advantage of the Producer Offset, but they do not rule out collaborating with a US writer if warranted.
One benefit of the era of travel restrictions, Brown expects, will be removing the need to cast a US actor to help make films salable.
While Monster Pictures will be the primary outlet in Australia, the producers have the flexibility of co-distributing on occasions, as Monster has done with Madman Entertainment.