In Features, Issues

It takes more than money to make a film. In the case of November, it also took the growing power of the InDigEnt brand.

Producer Danielle Renfrew says that even if she and director Greg Harrison had personally had the $300,000 it ultimately took to make November, it still “would have been close to impossible” for them to make the film on their own. She credits InDigEnt with drawing the film’s high-profile talent and giving its filmmakers the room and incentive to create.

InDigEnt, Renfrew says, has evolved into a “brand,” one that’s associated with “creating high-quality products.” This, she says, gave comfort to the film’s established actors, like Courteney Cox, who, with the backing of the brand, were willing to “cut their rates dramatically” in order to foray into the indie world.

She also credits InDigEnt with aiding the film’s creative process. November, she says, began partly out of frustration with the plodding pace of studio development. She, Harrison and the film’s writer Benjamin Brand all had projects languishing at established studios and production companies. They began collaborating on November as an attempt to “take back control” of their careers. Of InDigEnt she says, “Basically, they do not develop. If they’re behind the project, they’re behind it. You can shoot in one month or six months or whenever you can get ready.” In the case of November, it premiered at Sundance a scant year after Renfrew first saw the script.

And when the film is done, she says, the director gets final cut.

Cast and crew get a fair cut of revenue, too. InDigEnt offers “gross profit participation” as opposed to the dreaded “net points,” which means, explains Renfrew, that you can “read in Variety that the film sold for x and literally calculate what your check will be.”

Sounds fantastic, you say. What are they looking for? Material that “pushes the form,” says Gary Winick, who co-produced November and co-founded InDigEnt in 1999 as a kind of salon for experienced filmmakers to experiment with the emerging digital medium. He says he signed off on November, InDigEnt’s 10th film (others are on the way from Wim Wenders and Steve Buscemi), in part because he saw its “fragmented, nonlinear nature” as a good match for digital.

Other matches discovered thus far: theatrical, performance-oriented scripts that feature “intimate stories about characters” (read Chelsea Walls, Tape and others).

Go back to the main article: Lens Crafter.


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