We were invited by Fox studios, in West LA, to attend a screening of a Fox film, “La Misma Luna”, and a lunch with the writer/producer Ligiah Villalobos and Fox’s Programming Vice president, Gabriel Marano. The event was organised by Fox Diversity.
Usually, when I get invited to Fox studios as an MPAA member for preview screenings, I get to park inside Fox’s lot. This time, coming as a fimmaker, I was redirected to the visitors’ parking outside the lot!
We assembled in a conference room, where we watched “La Misma Luna”, a film about a 9-years-old Mexican kid, who crosses the border into the US looking for his mother. After lunch, we were joined by the writer/Producer, Ligiah Villalobos, who talked about the process of making this film.
Ligiah wrote the script back in 2001 and left it on the shelve until 2006, when somebody expressed interest in it. She met the director, Patricia, after seeing her thesis short film at a film festival. What attracted her to Patricia’s film was not the photography or the sound design, which lacked the slickness you find in high- budget movies, but the effective story telling.
In spite of her backer’s reluctance to hire a first-time director, Ligiah insisted on having Patricia as the director. It paid off. Patricia’s Agent’s father, a billionaire who was looking to get into the film business, provided half the budget. The rest of the money came from Mexico.
The film was made for less than $2 million, sold in 2007 Sundance Film Festival for $5 Million and grossed so far over $23 million worldwide.
After an hour chat with Ligiah, Gabriel Marano showed up, wielding a script in his hand. “I’ve got so many scripts to read, that I seize every opportunity to read them. I read this one as I walked here,” he remarked. He pointed out later that he reads only scripts that are submitted by agents.
Gabriel talked about Fox’s new philosophy that was brought in by their new president, Amiliano Calemzuk, an Argentine who looked beyond the US and began internationalising Fox’s productions. Since he took over, they produced several projects in collaboration with international entities, like “Mental”, which was co produced with Fox Columbia, “Persons Unknown”, which was produced with Mexico’s Televisia,. They also have 10-12 projects in developments with companies from around the world.
He also said that they always on the look out for new talent. They usually find them on the web. If they like somebody’s work on the web and see that it attracted big audience and good feedback, then they will contact him, offer him money to go and make something else. If they like what they see, they will consider it for TV development. In other words, the web is becoming the incubator for new talent and new TV programs.
They also seek talent in Film festivals, but they won’t accept scripts from other than talent agents. So if you have an idea, then shoot it, put it on the web, attract attention and then contact FOX.