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NEWS                                                                                                Thursday 16 May 2019
                                                                                                                                   DAY 3

                 CANNES Q&A:

                 ALI AFSHAR


                Tell us about your company.    Toronto, Sundance, Telluride and SXSW
                What do you do?                where we expect to have films premiere,
                Forrest Films is a vertically integrated   and also discover hot new movies to add
                entertainment company that releases,   to our release slate.
                produces, finances and develops feature
                films that tell inspiring and purpose-  What type of product is
                driven stories for global audiences. The   in demand currently?
                name is derived from my longtime   Our model is largely predicated on filling
                business partner, Forrest Lucas, the   the void for inspiring ‘heartland’ films for
                founder and owner of Lucas Oil. We   families. There is a sizeable market,
                fund and orchestrate theatrical release   worldwide, that is being under-served
                campaigns tailored and scoped   here, and this is a market of active
                individually for each film, fully supported  moviegoers who will go to theatres when
                with the marketing, advertising and   they see a movie for them. With the
                publicity needed to open the film. Our   major studios focusing more on the
                media fund allows the company to not   broader four-quadrant tentpoles and
                only finance the production of feature   franchises (which we acknowledge has
                films, but also provide P&A funding for   very high demand of course), we see an                                     Ali Afshar  © DR
                theatrical releases.           opening to deliver smaller, more targeted
                                               films to audiences who may want   so we’re still a company in its infancy.   action/drama American Fighter;  the
                How important is the Cannes    something different.            That said, we launched with a slate of   thriller The Stand at Paxton County and
                market for you and your                                        seven films, all of which we produced   comedy Wheels of Fortune. The focus is to
                company?                       What is your mission in Cannes?  through our own ESX Productions label   deliver what a certain audience segment
                Cannes is a major platform for global   We have four films being sold here in   over the last year and a half, so I think   wants — to cater to them. Forrest entered
                deal-making on all levels and given the   Cannes; Bennett’s War and Ride by   we’d all agree the last year has been a   the movie industry with a commitment
                multi-disciplinary functions of Forrest   Radiant, and Lady Driver and American   whirlwind — very busy, very stressful and   to bringing inspirational, hopeful content
                Films (developing, financing, producing,   Fighter by Arclight. Forrest Films is   very exciting at the same time.  to the marketplace. Putting these movies
                distributing, etc.), we look at Cannes as   releasing all of these theatrically in the        in theatres is an extension of this mission.
                one of the few industry events where we   US, starting with Bennett’s War on 30   What are your goals for the   Being in the US theatrical distribution
                can cross-pollinate our efforts very   August. Our mission is to come away   coming year?  What is the focus   business allows for a direct connection to
                effectively over the course of a week. In   with great international distribution deals   of your company?  filmgoers and a way to build our purpose-
                short, its vital.              and forge mutually beneficial long-lasting   Our company will release three to four   driven brand.
                                               partnerships with our distribution   films this year from a current seven
                What other markets do you      partners globally.              picture slate that includes drama Bennett’s   How many Cannes have you
                attend?                                                        War starring Trace Adkins; the action/  attended?
                Forrest Films will have a presence at all   How was the past year in business   drama The Ride starring Chris ‘Ludacris’   This is the debut Cannes for Forrest
                the major markets — Cannes, AFM,   for you?                    Bridges; sports-themed Lady Driver;  the   Films. ✦
                EFM in Berlin, as well as festivals like   We launched Forrest Films in December   romantic drama Roped; inspirational      Liza Foreman

                 Tanović is in town to showcase early

                 footage of The Postcard Killings

                 THE ACADEMY Award-winning Bosnian   daughter. Across Europe, newlywed couples   read one of the previous versions of the   as there are many films I would like to see,
                 film director and screenwriter Danis   are being targeted in a string of murders that   screenplay a couple of years ago when I was   but I am eager to start editing The Postcard
                 Tanović is visiting Cannes to debut footage   leave the young victims’ bodies mimicking   developing another project with the   Killings as soon as possible,” he said.
                 from his latest film The Postcard Killings,   famous works of art. Connie Nielsen stars   producers, but I came pretty much fresh   Recently Tanović has joined the long line of
                 from the book by James Patterson and Liza   alongside Morgan as his wife Valerie Kanon;   when I came on board,” he said. “Jeffrey   cinema talents who have crossed the divide to
                 Marklund.                      Naomi Battrick plays Sylvia, a journalist who   Dean Morgan was already attached and I   series television. “Working on Success was a
                 It’s Tanović’s first feature since 2017’s Death   travels with Kanon on his search.  thought he was the right man for the part. I   great experience and HBO is developing the
                 in Sarajevo. His most recent work is the four-  Tanović came late to the project as the film   cast the other parts in collaboration with the   second season,” he said. On returning to TV,
                 part original drama series Success for HBO   experienced early problems, including the   producers and casting director.”  he added: “As always, it will all depend on the
                 Europe.                        departure of Poland’s Janusz Kamiński, who   Principal photography began in March 2019   quality of the storytelling.”
                 In The Postcard Killings, Jeffrey Dean Morgan   Tanović replaced. Actors Patrick Dempsey   and the film shot on location in London,   The Postcard Killings is from Good Films in
                 plays Jacob Kanon, a tough New York   and Dakota Fanning also left the original   Norway and Stockholm. Tanović is making a   LA and producers Miriam Segal and Paul
                 detective who is searching for the person   project.          lightning visit to Cannes to show footage that   Brennan. Capstone Group is handling
                 responsible for the murder of his only   And Tanović was new to the story. “I had   is ready so far. “I wish I had more time to stay   sales.✦    Julian Newby

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