Filmmaker Friendly Philosophy Fuels HanWay's Success

By Barraclough, Leo | Variety, May 20, 2017 | Go to article overview

Filmmaker Friendly Philosophy Fuels HanWay's Success


Barraclough, Leo, Variety


CANNES TALK: GABRIELLE STEWART

LONDON-BASED SALES AND finance house HanWay Films, which was set up almost 20 years ago by Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas, and is aligned with Thomas' production company Recorded Picture Company, is in Cannes with four films in the festival's official selection, led by Yorgos Lanthimos' "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" and John Cameron Mitchell's "How to Talk to Girls at Parties." Variety spoke to HanWay's managing director, Gabrielle Stewart.

What sets HanWay apart from other film companies, and defines it?

It's a big company that is privately owned, and has never, in all its history, gone through a year without profit. Its taste has very much been defined by the fact it is headed up by a very successful filmmaker, Jeremy Thomas, and it has always been known as a filmmaker-friendly company. We have always followed certain filmmakers' work and been bold in our choices.

Hanway and RPC [Recorded Picture Company] bleed into each other, so you have an amazing financing team that is headed up by [HanWay's deputy chairman] Peter Watson, who has been working alongside Jeremy for so many years and was a co-founder of HanWay. So they have the expertise, because of setting up all of Jeremy's films, to help other producers navigate the murky waters of film finance, and help put together very creative finance plans across Europe.

How has the independent film market changed?

The very obvious, generic star packages [that look good] on paper no longer necessarily work at the box office; the generic is consumed online at home [on streaming platforms]. If you want to get people to go to a cinema, you really need to have something special, distinctive; it's got to be an event, something that people talk about.

So this could be a golden era for us, because we occupy that sweet spot. When you see films like "Moonlight," "Whiplash," "Brooklyn" and "Carol" doing so well - and two of those are ours - we are in that spot of making films for a price with great filmmakers; films that are bold and distinctive; and those are the films that are working. …

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