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BN Films Launches Operations in U.S. and Latin America
New Film Company Headed by Alex Garcia and Lucas Akoskin To Self-finance Features with $150-Million Production Fund
By: PR Newswire
Dec. 5, 2012 02:57 PM
SANTA MONICA, Calif. and MEXICO CITY, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Alex Garcia and Lucas Akoskin, two of Latin America's most prolific young producers, announced today the formation of BN Films, a well-funded international production company based in Santa Monica, CA and Mexico City. Offering a slate of films in all languages, aimed at both the domestic U.S. and international markets, BN Films will self-finance six to twelve films per year, working initially off of a $150-million production fund. The $150-million is intended to be used over five to six years.
Garcia, a well-known Mexican banker turned film financier and producer (Elite Squad, The Burning Plain, The House of My Father), and Argentinian producer Akoskin (The Doorman, The Second Bakery Attack) also announced the hiring of industry veteran Katrina Wolfe as BN Films' President of Production. A longtime casting chief and production executive for Dimension Films, Wolfe will be based in Santa Monica and focus on the development and production of BN's English-language features.
Garcia and Akoskin stated, "Our goal is to transcend race, culture and geography through passionate storytelling and compelling entertainment, and speak to essential truths common among all of us. We are fortunate to be working with some of the top international filmmakers in the world, and we look forward to sharing our multilingual films with audiences worldwide."
Oscar nominee and acclaimed writer, director and producer, Guillermo Arriaga (21 Grams, Babel, Amores Perros,) stated, "I'm producing 'The Heartbeat of the World' concept with Alex and Lucas, both of which have shown immense taste and talent as producers, as well as a lot of guts. They're incredibly hardworking and it's been a true pleasure collaborating with them. I'm certain that BN Films will enjoy a tremendous level of success. In the end, producing requires a combination of talent and hard work; both of which Alex and Lucas possess a great deal of."
BN Films comes out of the gate with twenty-three feature projects in the pipeline. Seven of its films are already completed, including El Cartel de los Sapos (The Snitch Cartel), Colombia's official entry for the 2013 Best Foreign Film Oscar; and Words With Gods, the first installment in BN's groundbreaking The Heartbeat of the World series. The Heartbeat of the World series will include four feature-length anthologies, each consisting of several short films on a unifying theme -- religion, sex, politics, drugs -- by some of the world's most exciting directors, among them: Mexico's Guillermo Arriaga (also producer of The Heartbeat of the World), Iran's Bahman Ghobadi, Israel's Amos Gitai, Japan's Hideo Nakata, Australia's Warwick Thorton, Serbia's Emir Kusturica, India's Mira Nair and more. The Jesuit, written by Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) is currently in production in Mexico.
In addition to its own deep pockets, the unparalleled expertise and contacts of BN's founders give it unique access to production subsidies throughout Latin America. A portion of the company's films will be shot in Mexico to utilize the Mexican government's Article 226 tax initiative program, which provides generous incentives to Mexican companies that invest in locally-produced films.
Described as "one of the busiest dealmakers coming out of Latin America today," Alex Garcia has financed or produced more than thirty films over the last five years. A highly successful international banker for 16 years before entering the film business, Garcia inherited his love for film from his grandfather, Mexican film legend Arturo de Cordova, who appeared in 102 U.S. and Mexican films from 1936 to 1971, including co-starring alongside Gary Cooper in Sam Wood's classic 1943 adaptation of Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. In addition to frequent collaborations with Warner Bros. and Lionsgate, Garcia has been a principal in NALA Film Partners, Costa Films and Lemon Films and has also worked with many of the top production and distribution companies in Latin America. His film credits include Tropa de Elite (Elite Squad), winner of more than 30 awards, including the prestigious Berlinale Golden Bear; Guillermo Arriaga's acclaimed The Burning Plain, starring Charlize Theron, and Kim Basinger; Shelter, starring Julianne Moore; Ceremony, starring Uma Thurman; The House of My Father, starring Will Ferrell, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal; and Saluda al Diablo, starring Édgar Ramirez.
Argentinian producer Lucas Akoskin has made films and television programs in both North and South America, including the critically acclaimed feature comedy The Doorman, The Second Bakery Attack, with Kirsten Dunst and based on a story by Haruki Murakami who is critically acclaimed as one of the world's greatest living novelists; and the Latin American version of the TV series Iconoclasts. In 2005, he and Garcia were instrumental in creating the Latin American Film Co. with Bob and Harvey Weinstein – a fund that has brought relevant Latin American films to new audiences worldwide. More recently, Akoskin founded Surdream Productions, which created TerraShorts – an innovative shorts package for Terra Networks comprised of films by top Latin American filmmakers.
Katrina Wolfe is a film industry veteran who worked for Bob and Harvey Weinstein for over a decade and served as Senior Vice President of Production and Casting for the Dimension Films division of The Weinstein Company (formerly Miramax), reporting directly to Bob Weinstein. While at Dimension, Wolfe worked on a wide variety of films including Bad Santa, 1408, the Scary Movie series, Frank Darabont's The Mist, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grind House, Robert Rodriguez's Sin City, Rob Zombie's Halloween, Todd Phillips' School For Scoundrels, The Road, Youth In Revolt, and many others.
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