$1 Million Indie Movie Film Opportunity

By Dr. Iris Mohr, Chief Editor and Founder, Marketing Fashionista  

Insp iring news! If you’ve decided you want to make a movie: a short, feature or documentary, here’s a $1 million indie opportunity for film funding

Thunder Studios, an upstart West Coast studio, is offering independent filmmakers $1 million in services to produce their projects on its lot.  Australian businessman , wants to use the Long Beach facility (about 45 minutes south of Los Angeles), six-acre facility, to fill its 20 soundstages with indie films. Its funding offer is attractive, and offers filmmakers something more: a partner.

“We are, for all intents and purposes, a studio,” David tells Backstage during a recent tour of the lot. “Everyone talks about investing in indie film; no one’s actually doing it, so we then thought there was an opportunity for us to become a significant partner in the indie film world.”

The studio recently launched Thunder Funder, an initiative that will provide $12 million in production services to 12 independent film projects each year for the foreseeable future. Selected projects get access to the studio’s facilities; Thunder Studios gets tenants and, subsequently, content that it can sell to distributors.

“Whether it’s color mixing, sound editing, the actual editing work, camera rental, setting up the permits—we’ve got all of that,” says David. “We are writing physical checks to those people and those parties. We will control the process of payments.”

Submitting a project to the program costs $300. While not cheap by industry standards, the high price is designed to filter out weak submissions and give those who do submit the attention deserved.

“I want to ensure that every project that gets submitted to us, we provide some quantitative feedback,” he says. “We just don’t want the submission to end up in oblivion.”

Thunder plans to accept 500 submissions—which should consist of a sizzle reel, script, treatment, and, if possible, budget—per six-month period, of which 12 will be shortlisted. The studio’s lofty goal is to produce 12 of its 24 shortlisted projects each year.

Independent films typically face three hurdles: financing, production, and distribution. David says Thunder can help with all three thanks to its relationships with financial institutions to provide additional financing, its production facilities, and its partnership with Cassian Elwes, CEO of distributor Elevated Film Sales.

“We have the ability to negotiate broad-range foreign distribution deals without necessarily even knowing what the projects are at this point, because we’re going to have a pipeline of 12 projects a year,” David says. “That gives us enormous opportunity to minimize costs to the filmmaker and the project.”

 Adding his business background to Thunder, David’s focus is on helping filmmakers maximize the financial potential of their projects. “We will try and take advantage of every monetization opportunity that each piece of content we create provides the possibility for,” he says.

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Alon Livne: An Inspiration to New Designers

 By Dr. Iris Mohr, Chief Editor and Founder, Marketing Fashionista 


Here’s a true success story, and an inspiration to new designers. 

From intern and to a contestant of Israel’s version of “Project Runway,” 

Alon Livne has climbed the fashion ladder to dressing celebrities such as Beyonce and Lady Gaga.  

INSPIRATION: George Melford’s 1921 silent film The Sheik, and the romantic tale it told of  “early imperialism in Morocco, when the privileged of the world—and their beautiful daughters—journeyed across the sea.” Livné’s gentle, graceful, sincere, and curious muse was brought to life on a journey of “self-discovery into womanhood” with the help of exquisite jewels and head pieces from Efrat Casuto. Perhaps he took a “Grown Woman” cue from Mrs. Carter World Tour client Beyoncé.

TRENDS: Embroidery, beading, Swarovski crystals galore, head pieces, silk, floor-grazing gowns, kaftans

PALETTE: Black, blue, silver, blush, copper, gold

WHO WAS THEREParis HiltonBarron HiltonMarissa MontgomeryPeyton List

WHO SHOULD WEAR IT: Regal A-listers like Cate Blanchett, a Great Gatsby-era Carey MulliganLéa Seydoux

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Jack Reynor: A Young Star is Born

By Anna Spiewak, Contributing Entertainment Editor

Jack Reynor

If you haven’t heard of Jack Reynor yet, don’t worry. You will in due time.

He may have just starred in an Irish indie flick “What Richard Did,” showcased most recently at the Tribeca Film Festival. But it was his leading performance that got him cast in the fourth installment of Michael Bay’s Transformers. Reynor will be starring in the blockbuster hit in the nearest future opposite Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz. All three of the actors are contracted for three films, beginning a new Transformers trilogy. And from the looks of things, it seems to be just the beginning for the Irish-American actor.



Prior to Lenny Abrahamson’s flick, 21-year-old Reynor also gave a head-turning performance in Dollhouse, directed by Oscar-nominated Kirsten Sheridan. Most recently, Reynor wrapped up a DreamWorks picture Delivery Man opposite Vince Vaughn, a gig he booked just a couple of days after arriving in L.A. from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

The young handsome star could not hide his excitement during our chat at his interview alongside Abrahamson for their dramatic film “What David Did,” based on Irish author Kevin Power’s award-winning book Bad Day in Blackrock.

Richard’s done great things for me. I was fortunate enough to land a role in Delivery Man after that, and DreamWorks took great care of me,” Reynor explained in how he eventually landed the role that will make his career. “When Hurricane Sandy happened, I went and spent a month in LA, I was shooting that movie here, so I went off during that hiatus, and it landed me enough time to get into the Transformers race, and after a meeting or two with Michael (Bay) and a couple of leads, I came out on top of it, it was great.”

Since Transformers 4 just started filming recently, coming to theaters June 2014, audiences, in the meantime, can catch the young Irish actor starring in the title role of “What Richard Did,” where he portrays golden boy rugby player Richard Karlsen who is part of Dublin suburbia’s privileged class and whose future is bright. It’s his last summer before he goes off to college. He’s an alpha male who saves girls form boy predators, peers look up to him, and elders adore him.

“He’s just about harmony and what’s right. He’s just a really good guy in every way,” said Reynor of his Richard character.

But all of that is set to change during a night when Richard makes one deadly mistake, and his life suddenly takes an unexpected turn, where he is close to losing everything. His life’s fate causes Richard to go through a slight identity crisis, questioning who he is and what he has done.

“He’s literally on his own, facing his own demons,” Reynor added.

Although born in Colorado, Reynor moved back to Ireland at age 2. He speaks in a clean Irish accent when explaining that he has read Power’s book, on which the film was based, as part of his school’s curriculum.

“I knew what the material was and I was incredibly excited about it from the moment I knew it was going to be made into a film,” he said. “Then when they told me Lenny (Abrahamson, the director) was doing it, I was like ‘I have to get this one.’”

The young actor grew up in a similar setting outside of Dublin, in the countryside, having an “insider’s perspective” on the character of Richard and his surroundings.

For more information on the film, visit: http://whatricharddid.ie/

For more information on Transformers 4, go to: http://www.transformers.com 




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