Cinequest, 2008—“How to Wrangle a Star…” like pulling teeth…

“It’s a Saturday afternoon and everybody’s hung over…” – Jens Hussey

Such was the general malaise of the crowd and presenters at Cinequest’s March 1 panel “How to Wrangle a Star…and the Money” at the San Jose Repertory Theatre.

Walden Media Business Affairs head Jim Meenaghan and Comerica Entertainment Group vice president Jeff Colvin looked and sounded like they rather be getting a root canal then sitting in front of a bunch of surly filmmakers, chatting about how bleak their chances are.

The panel was touted as a chance to delve into the minds of two industry insiders, but the event appeared to be more of a dry run-through on the catch-22 of independent filmmaking: you can’t get funding without an known actor, but you can’t get a known actor without funding. Other than a large amount of financial support, there is no real way to get a known actor’s attention other then a extraordinarily great script, but even a great script with limited money guarantee has little chance of getting through an actor’s agent.

The uninspired Q&A session that followed the “discussion” didn’t seem to offer any unique or original insights into the financial aspects of moviemaking either, with advice to questions being of the “Well, it’s tough” variety. Cinequest director of public relations and panel moderator Jens Hussey did his best to keep the conversation going, but in the end the session was pretty bleak. (JF)

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