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RISK TAKERS - Loan Ranger: Why Be A Bully When You Can Be A Partner?

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 9, 2018

JOHN HADITY
ENTERTAINMENT PARTNERS, NEW YORK, NY

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
'MASTER HAROLD'...AND THE BOYS
BURNING BLUE

FINANCIER
SNOWDEN
AMERICAN MADE

Every producer has at least one “movie that changed my life.” What’s yours, and why? 

Definitely two of the films I did with director/screenwriter Anthony Minghella, The English Patient and The Talented Mr. Ripley. On both projects, there was so much that Anthony wanted to do but funds were limited. In every instance he sat down with the producers and financiers to work out alternative solutions that fit within what we could afford but preserved his vision on the projects. It was a lesson in how financiers can be thought of as partners instead of bullies. 

But I’m proud of all the projects we have financed, because completing a film is an achievement in and of itself. Since Entertainment Partners only provides loans (not equity), we don’t take performance risk, and we build in ample protection so that we’re not left at the altar, and the producer isn’t vulnerable should the film not perform well.


There are easier and more reliable ways to make a living than by financing films. What draws you to film as a business opportunity?

We lend money to productions because we understand the space, have a good grasp on the risks and how to mitigate them. Most lenders tend to be impatient and not very tolerable of production exigencies, but my production experience enables me to work with producers to help solve their problems and successfully complete their projects while all the while protecting our investment.


What’s the most recent project you’ve backed? What got you excited about it?

Doug Liman’s American Made. I was excited over the size and scope of the production and felt confident we could manage the multiple-jurisdiction tax credit loan we were providing. I’m not shy around a challenge.

What are the essential qualities you look for in a producing partner? What flaws are you willing to overlook?

I look at his/her track record of bringing films in on time and on budget, and I ask around to hear people’s thoughts on his/her ability to collaborate and create an inspirational work environment. I’m willing to overlook going over budget because I build in protections for us on that front, but no one wants to work in a toxic environment. 

What’s a story you backed recently that really connected with you on a personal level?

It was very exciting for me to finance the narrative feature Freeheld, because years earlier I played a role in promoting Cynthia Wade’s doc that inspired it, and which went on to win the Oscar. And it brought me great joy to finance Paterson, because I worked with director Jim Jarmusch 25 years earlier on Mystery Train and it was so nice to collaborate again. 

What’s the quickest way to make sure you will NEVER back the project I’m pitching you?

Send me your budget in Excel. To me, that’s a sure sign that you have no idea what you’re doing!

  

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