EXCLUSIVE: Drew Houpt, Lucas Joaquin and Alex Scharfman are teaming to launch Secret Engine, a New York-based indie production company. Beach Rats, the Eliza Hittman pic that bows later today in the U.S Dramatic Competition lineup at the Sundance Film Festival, will be the first film under the collaboration.
Other upcoming projects under the new banner include Russell Harbaugh’s Love After Love starring Andie MacDowell and Chris O’Dowd and now in post; Stewart Thorndike’s The Stay; and Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy’s Blow The Man Down being exec produced by Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, with Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor attached. Two TV series are also in development, and the team also is behind The Sky Is A Gap, a virtual reality experience bowing in the fest’s New Frontiers section.
Cinereach and Animal Kingdom are also producing Beach Rats.
Houpt previously worked for the Coen brothers and met Scharfman and Joaquin (who worked together at production outfit Parts & Labor) through the Sundance Creative Producing Labs. Individually, Joaquin’s producer credits include Ira Sachs’ Little Men and Josh Marston’s Complete Unknown; Sharfman’s includes Women Who Kill; and Haupt’s include ESPN’s 30 For 30 docus Hit It Hard and Every Day.
“We’re calling the company Secret Engine with the belief that, though not often in the spotlight, producers can be the driving force behind getting great films and television series made,” the trio said. “We’re excited to continue supporting the filmmakers we love, and finding new voices to champion.”