Special to the Journal
After spending many years in finance with a number of firms in Boston and New York including Fidelity, Warburg Pincus and Legg Mason, Todd Remis entered the film business. Remis, a Swampscott native, was introduced to a producer who explained the finance and economics behind "Magic Magic," a film written and directed by Sebastián Silva that needed some additional capital.
"While I was a very good consumer of movies and watched a lot of them, I never really thought too much about the financing and investment side of them," Remis said. "There is obviously a lot of opportunity for one to get involved with financing film projects because there are so many out there. "The key, like any investment, is choosing the right ones," Remis said.
There are a variety of factors to consider before financing a film. For Remis, these are the "same things the movie stars are looking for … a good story with a good opportunity." He added that a big name star usually translates into wider distribution and acclaim, improving the financial outlook of a film.
Believing that "Magic Magic" fit the characteristics of a good investment, Remis raised the final funding for it. In January, the film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and made its international debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
The movie is a psychological thriller about Alicia (Juno Temple), a young American woman who visits her cousin Sarah (Emily Browning) in Chile. Alicia suffers a nervous breakdown and also meets the particularly unsettling character Brink (Michael Cera). The film has garnered attention for the performances of Temple, a recent recipient of the BAFTA Rising Star Award, and Cera, who is best known for his comedic roles in "Arrested Development," "Superbad" and "Juno."
For Remis, an executive producer of the film, the project was an exciting change from his previous line of work. After raising the final capital necessary, Remis flew to southern Chile to watch the filming of the movie, a new experience for him.
"Magic Magic" has also been an educational experience for Remis, who has devoted the past year and a half to learning about the film business. He has attended 10 major film festivals and has spent three of the last six months in Los Angeles networking and talking to potential investors.
Remis next hopes to enter the filmmaking process at an earlier stage than he did with "Magic Magic," so that he can help search for a director and cast. Remis will be attending classes at the UCLA Film School this summer to learn more about producing films.
Unlike his previous work, Remis’s film career offers him the chance to create lasting and meaningful works of art.
"It is a creative process, and in the end you have something that people can experience and watch and benefit from," Remis said.
"Magic Magic" is coming out in DVD format on August 6.
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Todd Remis attended the Cannes Film Festival in May