This is our first, of hopefully many, in a series of interviews with independent film companies. Our hope is to bring greater attention to films that might otherwise go under the radar and the people who are making them.
We recently had the opportunity to have a lengthy conversation with the folks at Sunset Studios, in sunny Florida, about their operations and upcoming projects. We sincerely encourage you to check out what they have going on as they were a great interview and have a lot coming out in the next few months.
You’re located in Florida. What makes this a good place for film work?
We are proud to call Florida our home and excited to see the continued growth in the state. The state provides for great infrastructure for filmmakers and is constantly reinventing itself. Additionally the state offers many unique filming locations for a variety of motion pictures. Our timezone and location of our studio offices make it convenient to have the flexibility to work with our partners and affiliates in California, Canada, Brazil, the UK and Europe including travel.
How did these worldwide relationships come about?
A few years back we noticed that we were getting more content coming in from a growing number of international partners. We thought the stories these filmmakers, actors, and producers were telling were fresh and very relatable to both domestic and international audiences. We developed a recipe for titles that we thought had depth and stories that we thought would relate to a growing number of audiences with greater access to content and began to accept more acquisitions with such criteria. Our current project THE SÃO PAULO SERIES will highlight many of the changes in the booming culture of São Paulo and Brazil. We are excited to see this branch of Sunset continue to grow.
What can you tell us about The São Paulo series? Maybe more importantly, what can you tell us about the city and why this project was intriguing?
São Paulo is a beautiful city, larger than both Los Angeles or New York. Friendly people, great food, and always something to do. We decided the time was right to bring this amazing locale to the mainstream audiences. There has been an explosion of culture and growth in São Paulo and we are excited to share this documentary with the world following the World Cup and with the Olympics on the horizon.
The other projects you are currently a part of (namely Kruel and Abduct) seem to be primarily in the horror genre. Is this by design or coincidence? Do you want to specialize in horror?
Funny that you asked, we’ve gotten this recently. No, we do not specialize in horror. We look to diversify our catalog to cover a wide range of storytelling. As with any Distributor we see ebbs and flows in the genres that come and go with season, demand, and what is current in the market. We are constantly reviewing many screenplays and acquisitions at the Studios and sometimes the best ones just happen in a similar genre. For us it comes back to elements of good story.
The trailer for Kruel looks pretty sinister. How did this film come to your attention?
Kruel came to us through professionals that we had worked with before. They brought the same exemplary work ethic and professionalism to the picture which is what got us interested in the title.
I read in YouTube comments it is expected in May of this year. Is that correct? If so how we will be able to see it and what should we expect?
Yes, Kruel will be in select theaters May 29. As for what to expect, you can watch the trailer, but you’ll have to watch it and find out!
What do you look for in a script or from talent that makes you want to sign onto a production?
Usually when it comes to selecting scripts the first thing we always consider is, are there any named talent attached. If there isn’t then are second focus would be if the film tells a good story. We usually sign on actors that have a well known name attached to them or have a substantial following. However that doesn’t mean we will only consider actor with a well known name. It just depends on the role and if you are perfect for the part.
What do you provide actors, filmmakers, and financiers that makes your production company a good fit for a production?
We are a Distributor and Sales Agent for motion pictures and are able to connect filmmakers with outlets to get their titles seen and available to the public. We take time to ensure that the title is a good fit for our catalog as well as a title that we feel confident in taking to markets before we accept any title. This ensures our commitment to a filmmaker as well as our pictures. In addition to acquisitions, work on filming productions are closed to outside financiers. However, occasionally, opportunities may be available for those interested in venturing into film. Such opportunities are extremely limited and our producers are very selective in who is permitted come join their pictures production team.
So would you consider yourself more of a distribution, sales, marketing outfit, more so than a production company or do you have your hands in all aspects of film development?
Our main focus is a distributor and sales agent, however we also handle production with some pictures as well.
How do you go about trying to sell a film? Do your films generally have theatrical releases? Or are your films trying to find homes on streaming networks (i.e. Netflix, Hulu) or marketplaces for digital content (i.e. iTunes, Amazon)?
We always look for films that are marketable and have a good story first in order to be able to sell to them. Theatrical release and other release depends on a lot of factors; who the players are and the filmmakers are looking for are important considerations. Some titles are made for better success through different distribution strategies. It is up to us to work with the filmmakers and our partners to strategically position a title to perform at its best.
What challenges do you face working in independent cinema?
When you look at the landscape of motion pictures and the how they are produced, it is constantly changing. We do not differentiate anyone by “Indie” or “Majors,” we are all looking to bring good cinema to audiences.
Do you have any other projects (other than those already discussed) in the works you are able to tell us about?
We are also looking forward to the 2015 release of ABDUCT. This sci-fi thriller has a strong cast with Mhairi Calvey, Sienna Guillory, William B. Davis, Mark Arnold, Andrei Claude, and Petra Bryant. You can see more on ABDUCT at www.abduct-movie.com
Do you accept project submissions, headshots, resumes?
We do not. Simply put, there are certain concerns that come from such policies. It is common practice for most entertainment companies to either return unopened or dispose of such materials without ever looking at them. There are proper channels for doing business in the industry and we adhere to these practices.
I won’t lie, the Abduct website is pretty creepy and the fact there isn’t much information about the plot line makes it even more so. Can you give us any information about this film?
Sure thing! It definitely gets the curiosity going. Abduct delves into the underground of Ancient Aliens and conspiracies centralized around a young woman who has been plagued by them her entire life. The picture stars the talents of Mhairi Calvey, Mark Arnold, Petra Bryant; and already well loved in the sci-fi genre Sienna Guillory and William B. Davis.
We appreciate the time Sunset Studios was able to provide us and look forward to more conversations in the future. If you’d like to find out more about them and their upcoming projects, check out their website: www.sunsetstudios.co
If your studio is currently involved in film projects, we would like to hear from you for a future interview. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.