Our International Sales Agent (Isa) of the Day coverage resumed for this year's Cannes Film Festival. We feature successful, upcoming, innovative and trailblazing agents from around the world (during and after the festival) and cover the latest trends in sales and distribution. Beyond the numbers and deals, this segment will also share inspirational and unique stories of how these individuals have evolved and paved their way in the industry, and what they envision for the new waves in global cinema.Angel Grace Productions
is based in Los Angeles, and was created with over night inspiration by Michael Fister
, who has 22 years of experience in the film industry. His interest in international film sales and distribution is also influenced by his experience growing up around the world.
The Angel Grace VP of Acquisitions Linda Posivak notes, "One thing that sets Michael apart from many, is that it's not just a job. It's his passion. He knows in his heart that this is where he should be. He feels and breathes it. It's more than just a job to him."
Michael has kicked off the Angel
Grace slate with the Nora Ephron
prizewinner "Farah Goes Bang
" by Meera Menon
, and "Conspiracy of Silence
" (by John Deery
) starring Academy Award winner Brenda Fricker
(My Left Foot
), and Golden Globe nominee Hugh Bonneville
(Downtown Abbey). Angel
Grace is quickly expanding and will go from acquisitions to productions later this year.
Michael talks about how he started Angel
Grace and more about his drive to share meaningful films:
How did you start Angel
I worked as an executive at ABC and Turner Pictures. I caught the festival and market bug back then, but went on a detour for several years, working on the creative agency side with the studios (doing one sheets and trailers). A few years ago, I realized I was really missing the craziness and excitement of festivals and markets, so I got my toes wet and came back to Cannes. I knew this was what I was supposed to be doing.
I've been doing this work through various ways and means, but it was really just less than a year ago when I woke up in the middle of the night and realized I needed to do this on my own. Then then one day I just said, "I'm going to Berlin!" Within 24 hours, I had both of my films; 24 hours, I'm not kidding! Obviously, I had met the filmmakers prior (and the films were on my radar) but I just picked up the phone, called them and it all fell into place. It's great, and I'm happy to be here.
Please talk about the Angel
I brought two films to Cannes. One is "Farah Goes Bang
", which had just won the Nora Ephron
prize at the Tribeca Film Festival. It's a fun and sweet "girl road comedy". The girls are best friends, and they're on the road campaigning for John Kerry
. Two of the girls are also trying to get the third girl to lose her virginity during the road trip. The fact that it won the esteemed Norah Ephron prize says a lot, and you immediately know that it's not tacky or sleazy. Instead, it's witty, funny and very sweet.
The second film is "Conspiracy of Silence
", with Academy Award winner Brenda Fricker
, and Hugh Bonneville
from Downtown Abbey. It was actually Chris O'Dowd
's film debut. It's an older thriller that never got the release it deserved. It partially deals with things that have gone on in the Catholic Church. I had been talking to the director about his newer projects, and then I saw this film as a sample of his work and fell in love with it. It won a National Board of Review Award, and a few nominations at the Irish Film and Television Awards including Best Director. It's a powerful movie that is actually more relevant in today's society than when it was made.
Clearly, I'm not afraid of difficult films!
What do you consider when choosing films for Angel
I go with my gut feeling when I choose films, and gravitate more toward festival films, which tend to be more director or cast driven. It's really the niche that we'll stay in.
I'm open to most genres; although I'm not interested in things like horror or slasher movies, especially with a name like Angel
Grace. I'm open to anything that's good, and I want to put positivity out there through the films that we choose.
Personally and professionally speaking, I tend to lean more towards drama, art house, and poignant films. There are a lot of movies out there at festivals that deserve to be seen. Hopefully, I can help those films that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle--that's when I really feel I’m accomplishing something.
Aside from the business, why do you do this work?
Other than Tribeca, "Farah Goes Bang
" has won several other festivals over the past few months. Women in the audience are actually saying they are finding their voice in this movie, and in this character of Farah. That means something, and I think it's important to share films that can impact people's lives like that.
Learn more about the Angel Grace Productions
More about Angel Grace Productions
Founded in 2013 by veteran film marketing executive Michael Fister
, Angel Grace Productions
(Agp) acquires and sells all rights with a focus on festival-driven feature films. Our business model is simple: “We only work on films we truly care about.”