HBO, Sundance, Netflix discussed on The Business


Flicks is called American factory. It premiered this year at Sundance. And it follows what happens when a Chinese auto glass company buys a shuttered. Former GM plant in Dayton, Ohio at first it seems like everything's getting a facelift, including the factory street address. Join me. We out. Just before the factory opens under new management, a fool Yao, vice president olds and upbeat press jobs, give a future to your kids, and my kids that that did for those trucks back there when our parents and grandparents worked on refrigerators and cars and the future is bright votes. The future is bright. Spoiler alert. The future turns out to be complicated. When Pearlstine I started working at participant in two thousand thirteen streaming companies like Netflix were just dipping its toe into creating its own content. Now, of course, it's a very different story who are this dreamers to you. I mean, in a way, they're a distribution partner, in a way, they're a competitor. Because they're producing so many documentaries, right? I think that's the pendulum that were all watching. There's a swing back and forth between the streamers acquiring finished films, and then kind of stepping back closing their wallets and just. Financing the creation of their own content. And just in the last couple years we've seen that change. If you look at Sundance this last Sundance this dreamers were spending money again on both documentary and narrative film, acquisitions, and there's just increasing competition. You have apple streaming coming online Disney, plus Hulu is becoming more robust. Amazon is back in the game. There's a lot of competition. So so that's a good thing for documentaries documentaries, and hopefully for content in general, but there's always going to be a question about whether it makes more sense for them to invest in their own content or acquire finished content. You haven't done a ton with net. Flicks. I know you're producing with Eva Duve Rene a series about the central park five. But you haven't done a ton with net. Flicks. Do you have a kind of attitude about the streamers, and general and Netflix in particular, we've done more on the narrative side with net flicks. So Roma beasts of no nation. The different series that you're talking about which is actually a a narrative version of the central park five story. But we're having our first experience on the documentary side. But we've known that people over there for a long time. They're great they're real, you know, original documentary people who understand the genre. And they're looking for quality too. So this dreamers are our friends the more distribution options. There are for documentaries. The better it is for us as finances of documentaries, and the better it is for the filmmakers and the better it is for the audiences. But you haven't cut any kind of deal. It seems like with every film, you're deciding what is the best path for this film. I mean, we're we're platform agnostic when it comes to distribution, we're trying to find the best platform for that particular film in terms of both audience and impact. So we've been talking a lot about American factory partially because it's a great example of what we've been talking about. When you go to Sundance and you try to sell. A film is the biggest price is what they promise in Princeton advertising. Is it what are the, you know, the variables that go into deciding who is going to distribute at home when we go to Sundance or any other festival with a film that we're trying to sell to a distributor. We do our homework. And we think about who the possible buyers are, but then we have to see who comes to the table and what they're offering. So it's a combination of obviously, we're trying to be sustainable. We're trying to at least hopefully get the budget of the film back. But we're also looking for the greatest reach and the greatest distribution eyeballs and impact why did you go with net flicks? To to stream American factory we had fantastic options for American factory bit. You did we really did. And it was very difficult choice because you know, you you you hope to be in the position that that we were in with American factory. Where we had honestly incredible options and ultimately the net flicks platform really did provide the biggest reach in terms of the potential audience. So that was really the decision just reach an audience. Can they promise you that? It will be on the suggested for you or on the top of the front page, or is that part of the deal, you can make this really we we didn't. There were no promises made about particular placement foster is a film. That's coming out is a very affecting film about kids and their experience in the foster care system, and the HBO will be distributing that film and HBO has just been sold to a big conglomerate AT and T, and I wonder if that gives you pause if you think how you think that's gonna play out for HBO, documentaries, which has been such a respectable part of their business. I don't really think I can speak for HBO. I. But you as a person who sells films to them does. I mean for for us HBO is a is a perfect home for foster why because they respect the filmmakers, they're respecting. And allowing us to do the impact work around the film that happens off of HBO, it's a very collaborative relationship, and we have a long standing relationship with HBO. I hope that HBO doesn't lessen its commitments to documentaries because I'd say as much as net flex is. Today. HBO has been a stalwart of documentaries and Sheila Nevins, and it's always been a place to find really high quality film. So I think given how popular documentaries all right now. I can't see them moving away from it. But for our sake, I hope that it continues to be a really strong distribution option. He spent twenty years making documentaries. As they should be reaping the benefits of it. Now. So this is a this is a big broad question. What do you think the future of documentaries is John as an opportunity for social change? But also as a business, I think the future of documentaries is awesome. And I've been in business for a long time. And I was joking. The other day that when I go through old notebooks from notes from films. I kept finding lists of other jobs. I can do. I'd never felt like documentary filmmaking was a sustainable viable long term career path. And I think that's really changed. It's never going to be easy. I mean, if you it's not documentary filmmaking and documentary financing documentary distribution is not a get rich quick scheme. But it's incredible work. It's meaningful work, it's creatively fulfilling, and I really think that there's a the market has matured for documentaries. I don't think that it's just a passing fad? So I'm very encouraged will at least Pearlstine is the senior vice president of documentary at participant media. Thanks for.

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