Coming into its second Cannes Film Festival since Micah Green left his post as CAA Film Finance and Sales Group co-head to partner with Texas-based Dan Friedkin in 30WEST, the company has lived up to its promise as a disruptive force in the indie film space.
If it was initially hard to figure out 30WEST’s place in the ecosystem, the plan is now becoming clear: Simply put, the company is something of a gas station, fueling the tanks of progressive companies, film and TV projects. Their focus is split between three main disciplines: single picture financing, P&A funding with some direct investment, and some investment from third parties.
The third concentration is in the corporate investments area, and the company’s first deal came with the acquisition of a majority stake in NEON after teaming with Tom Quinn’s distribution company on the successful I, Tonya. Then the companies teamed up again, this time with Joe and Anthony Russo’s AGBO on Assassination Nation, the big Sundance deal for the subversive Sam Levinson-directed film. Upcoming investments could land anywhere from traditional film to technology or real estate. The company also has an affiliation with Friedkin’s Imperative Entertainment—it brokered the domestic deal with Sony, and the STX foreign deal on Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World—but 30WEST is freestanding, and nimble enough to embrace different strategies to make films happen.
After naming former CAA agent Dan Steinman as a partner running the New York office, along with CAA colleagues Tristen Tuckfield, Adam Paulsen and Katie Anderson, 30WEST is leaning into its third party sales, and introduced the Ed Sheeran film Songwriter in Berlin before a sale in Tribeca.
It took another different strategy with the Karyn Kusama-directed Destroyer, which recently completed shooting with Nicole Kidman starring. The film had a tangled financing structure based on limited equity and pre-sales funding, but no clear path to greenlight. Then 30WEST came in and greenlit the stalled movie, cash-flowing the picture with an equity investment. That is one of three films creating buzz at Cannes; the Peter Hedges-directed Ben is Back with Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges, and the Nisha Ganatra-directed Late Night starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling are the others. Each picture has a different structure, and 30WEST works with numerous co-financiers and sales companies, as well as all the major agencies. Whatever it takes to get films made.