The UPSTART That Is Off To A Great Start: A Conversation with Broad Green Pictures Pictures

A few weeks back Film Club 3.0 screened Eden, the first of what looks to be many Film Club offerings from Broad Green Pictures.  Coming up this weekend: A Walk in the Woods and Samba; the former, the film adaptation of travel writer Bill Bryson’s 1998 book of the same title, is a release so eagerly anticipated that even the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is planning for its potential impact.  ATC Executive Director, Ron Tipton, is quoted here saying that the ATC is “planning for how to manage the surge of new hikers” they expect will be inspired by the film.

Founded in 2014 Broad Green Pictures has an impressive slate of movies due for release between now and the end of the year – look for I Smile Back in October, The Dark Horse in early December, and of course our early screening of 99 Homes, which will kick off Lost Weekend IV on September 24th.  By the looks and sounds of it Broad Green is as passionate about independent and creative filmmaking as we are, and lucky for us, Film Club 3.0, it’s quickly earned itself the street credibility and reputation to bring those films to a theater near us.

I had the opportunity to email chat with Christina Lee, Director, Corporate Communications | Publicity for Broad Green Pictures.  Here’s how our conversation went:

Broad Green Pictures has quite a few releases for 2015 for a production company just founded in 2014. The successful bid for the U.S. distribution rights 99 Homes got a lot of attention in the film industry, and the word ‘upstart’ seems to come up in every article and online blurb about that and the slew of films Broad Green acquired in Toronto in 2014.  What led up to Toronto?

Broad Green began its life as a production company. After exploring the business and reading several dozen scripts, Gabriel and Daniel Hammond fell in love with two films – Learning to Drive and Break Point, and stepped in to both finance and produce them, getting the chance to experience film production from the ground up. And that’s how they found themselves producing their first films, Learning to Drive, directed by the unerring hand of Isabel Coixet, starring Sir Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson.

How did Broad Green Pictures convince seasoned and prolific filmmakers like Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes) and the aforementioned Isabel Coixet that it was the right partner for U.S. distribution?

As they witnessed the tremendous reception Learning to Drive received at Toronto in 2014 they realized that no one else could put the care, resources, or time into releasing that movie, or others like it, as they would themselves and they began to build Broad Green Pictures.  Last year, the team went to Toronto with a passion and commitment to bring films to the audiences they deserved.  The team’s dedication made all the difference when it came time to sit down with filmmakers like Ramin Bahrani, who took a chance on Broad Green.

Tell us about the partnership with veteran filmmaker Terrence Malick (Badlands, Days of Heaven).  Knight of Cups is tentatively scheduled for release in 2016 and is the first of a 3 picture ‘deal’ between Malick and Broad Green. What about Malick’s vision and work feels right for Broad Green Pictures?

The Broad Green Pictures team has long been fans of Terrence Malick and fell in love with footage from Voyage of Time in Cannes 2014.  That was the beginning of the studio’s professional relationship with Malick. Upon seeing Knight of Cups the team knew it had to be a Broad Green Pictures movie. Malick is an extraordinary filmmaker whose generosity and kindness both as a man and an artist continue to astound us.  We feel it is the greatest honor and pleasure to work with him in this extraordinarily prolific period of his career, and bring those films to the world.

Sounds like Broad Green Pictures was so-named for the street where the founders, brothers Gabriel and Daniel Hammond, lived when they were kids.  Both were successful business men with money to invest in ‘something’ — – what led them to Broad Green Pictures?  Were they avid movie-lovers growing up?  What inspired them to get involved in the film industry?

Growing up the Hammond household was tremendously committed to the arts, be it theater on Broadway, the symphony in the Kennedy Center, watching foreign films or the classics with their mother or diving deep in the oeuvre of Woody Allen with their father. After building two successful financial businesses, they fell in love with the chance to create something lasting, not just a business. They looked forward to creating a culture of mutual admiration and respect and brand a brand that would endure. Daniel and Gabriel now have the chance to apply everything they learned from their earlier business experience to something nearer and dearer to their hearts: building a home for filmmakers.

Lastly, I posed this question to Ms. Lee:  Broad Green Pictures seems to be very committed to honoring filmmakers’ vision, process and creative freedom.  Why is this so important?

Great films come from great filmmakers, and lasting partnerships can only be built on trust and collaboration. At Broad Green Pictures we want to build a home where filmmakers want to come back again and again.

Many thanks to Ms. Lee and the team at Broad Green Pictures.  If the 2015 releases are any indication, film lovers will want to “come back again and again” to see what Broad Green Pictures has in store.  Due in 2016 – Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, currently slated for release March 4, 2016.  For additional information and title release date announcements:

The UPSTART That Is Off To A Great Start: A Conversation with Broad Green Pictures Pictures

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