Pound Pictures and Oliwood Films, LLC Present:

Princess and Buddha
A sexy tale of desire and betrayal


Contact: Laura Jean Cronin, 206/323-0557


Pound Pictures and Oliwood Films, LLC, a limited liability motion picture production company in Washington State, is seeking to raise $1,000,000 over the next 1-24 months in order to finance the production and marketing of the original feature film, Princess and Buddha, to be filmed in Seattle in August-September of 2004 and distributed throughout specialty film markets in 2005-2006. Princess & Buddha is a sexy tale of desire and betrayal as college professor, Victoria Neve, steps out of the comfort of her academic world and into the Seattle grunge music scene in pursuit of Billy Fields, a charming yet volatile young grunge girl with a sordid past.

Set in the Seattle grunge era, Billy Fields embodies the conflicted grunge movement: carefree and self-destructive. When she meets the striking Victoria, she sees in her an opportunity to improve her life, and places her faith and dreams in this new relationship. Victoria, on the other hand, finds in Billy a world of passion and personal freedom that she has never experienced. The pair is swept up into a world of desire that effaces their differences in class and education. Soon, however, the pressures from Billy’s substance abuse past and Victoria’s upper-class mindset break into both of their fantasies. Billy’s love for life and living for the moment is overshadowed by her inner turmoil and haunting demons of the past. Victoria uses Billy’s past transgressions as a means of escape when she is faced with issues of commitment to Billy and the relationship they have formed. When Billy experiences the backlash of Victoria’s emotional openness she spirals into an abyss of drugs and crime. Victoria, retreats into the familiarity of her career and a safe, yet passionless, relationship with an admiring colleague.

From Billy’s climatic arrest the story jumps forward two years when Billy is released from prison and decides to take another chance on Victoria. It initially appears that history is to repeat itself, but Victoria soon learns that the emotional dynamics have shifted. The new Billy is someone to be reckoned with and Victoria’s old habits of deception and emotional detachment have run their course. Victoria and Billy are given another chance to find out what is true and what is love. A modern lesbian drama, Princess and Buddha combines confidence with courage and a groundbreaking degree of originality. Targeted at the rapidly growing specialty film audience, the film holds strong potential to break out to a mainstream audience.

Pound Pictures and Oliwood Films is powerfully positioned to achieve success with this film. The founders Laura Jean Cronin and Shon Kayli are an experienced management and creative team whose combined work has put them in direct contact with the specialty film audience and given them strong personal connections throughout the distribution and exhibition communities. In addition, Cronin is a prolific and successful film writer/producer/director. Finally, the combination of strong artistic and production talent with an extremely favorable local production climate ensures that we can maximize our artistic capital and offer tremendous value for each production dollar.

While the specialty film marketplace is known to be quite volatile, the upside potential for breakout films is extraordinarily large. Pound Pictures and Oliwood Films aim to create a film of great distinction and broad appeal at an exceptionally modest budget. Dependent on domestic box office grosses, we project ROI from 16% to 288% and up.

The film industry is one of the largest, most complex, most mature industries in the nation. However, we are concerned here with a specific small but growing niche market within the larger film industry: The so-called “specialty film” market (also known variously as the “independent,” “Niche,” or “Arthouse” market)

The specialty film market is a loose alliance of independently owned production and distribution entities specializing in more challenging, more explicitly artistic film production than what is pursued by the major Hollywood studios. This market is defined by smaller budgets (up to maximum of $10 million vs. the national average of $38 million ), more focused and concentrated theatrical play (specialty films see 600 theatrical engagements or less, vs. upwards of 10,000 engagements for the average Hollywood blockbuster ), and a greater dependence on and cultivation of critical response than is seen with the typical studio release.

Market Size and Trends
The specialty film market is a comparatively young and rapidly developing niche in the larger film industry. Indeed, this is a market that has seen 20% annual growth over the past decade to become a $600 million operation unto itself , comprising some 338 releases in 2000, up from just 165 a in 1991 . Attendance at specialty cinemas has increased 16.6% over the past 3 years , while specialty cable subscriptions (e.g. Independent Film Channel, the Sundance Channel) are up 35% in the same period, to constitute a 40 million household penetration . Likewise, there has been a minor explosion in specialty distribution over the past 5 years, prompting Sundance film festival director Geoffery Gilmore earlier this year to predict that, “a far greater number of films will find theatrical release,” over the next 5 years.

Revenue Streams for Independent Productions
Independent films typically make money by selling off numerous discrete distribution rights to various theatrical and non-theatrical distributors broken out by specific territories (i.e. North America, China, Continental Europe, England, etc.). Typically, theatrical distributors may purchase total or partial distribution rights to a given film for a given territory, at varying ratios of “front-end” (money up front) to “back-end” (Profit-sharing) distribution of profits. Theatrical distribution remains the single most important revenue stream for an independent production, both for its immediate returns, and for the immense value it adds to ancillary and foreign markets.

Wide vs. Limited Theatrical Distribution
Theatrical distribution follows one of two models, wide or limited distribution. Wide theatrical distribution to 250 or more screens at once offers the promise of large scale returns, but only when backed by significant marketing and advertising capital. Hence, wide theatrical distribution is typically only undertaken by the major studios, albeit through a specialty film oriented subsidiary such as Fox Searchlight Entertainment, Sony Pictures Classics, Fine Line Features, and Paramount Classics. Limited theatrical distribution delivers the film to fewer markets in a much more controlled, review-driven environment. Less capital-intensive and more flexible than wide distribution, limited theatrical is typically applied to specialty films with more challenging content and style (e.g. Careful, George Washington, Judy Berlin) and undertaken by smaller, more “hands on” distributors, such as Zeitgeist, Cowboy Booking, Strand Releasing, or Lot 47 Films.

Which is not to imply that limited theatrical distribution is necessarily less desirable than wide distribution. Indeed, many films are better served—in terms of finding a responsive audience, in terms of generating valuable critical response, in terms of establishing the filmmaker and company name—by limited theatrical. Moreover, on a screen-by-screen basis, limited theatrical often matches or exceeds the revenues generated by wide theatrical distribution, enabling distributors to respond to specific markets in a context of decreased fiscal risk, in turn allowing a film to “grow” over the course of its release.

Ancillary Markets
Ancillary markets for films include Cable and Broadcast TV, Video and DVD, Internet, and a host of lesser markets such as Pay-per-view and Domestic Airlines. Cable is the most important of these markets, with the Sundance and Independent Film channels together posting a 40 million household penetration. The $21 billion domestic Video and DVD market is a close second, with such chains as Hollywood and Blockbuster making significant commitments to specialty product over the last two years. Internet is emerging as a significant market, but has yet to establish key its key players.

Foreign Sales
Foreign sales, while more dependent on a successful US theatrical run than other secondary revenue sources, nonetheless offer great opportunity to the independent producer. Taken as a whole, US film rentals outside North America constitute an almost $3 Billion dollar market, with Japan remaining the most lucrative single territory . For films with a successful US showing, foreign gross may ranges anywhere from 50-100% of stateside grosses.

The Target Audience
A March 2001 article in American Demographics summarized the specialty film audience as, “younger, more urban and suburban (as opposed to rural), more likely to have Web access, more likely to buy things through the Internet, and more ethnically diverse than the average film viewer.” Viewers average between 25-34 years old. 30% are College graduates; 27% work in managerial or professional jobs, and 43% earn more than $60,000 per year. Moreover, as Sundance Channel’s VP of Programming Liz Manne’s states, these viewers are, “drawn to innovation—things that are new and challenging. They want to live life to the fullest.”

From our 10 years experience serving this audience through our two art studios in Seattle (Pound Gallery and Oliwood Films), as well as our experience producing and marketing independent features, Pound Pictures and Oliwood Films has come to know this audience intimately. This is an audience that wants to be questioned, that responds to artistic innovation, that wants a deeper, more challenging movie-going experience than that offered by the typical escapist thriller or romantic comedy. This is an audience that is in love with the past, present, and future of the Cinematic Art; that is as likely to see the re-release of the 1958 Hitchcock classic Vertigo (Re-released to outstanding box-office in 1998) as it is to see the current blockbuster. This is an audience that is fascinated by the diversity of world cinema; an audience that keeps French films popular on our screens; that brought the unlikely triumph of the Iranian Cinema to US shores with such critical and commercial successes as 1999’s The Color of Heaven. This is an audience that consumes the critical press and interacts with it; that responds more to word-of-mouth than to print and media commercials; that supports the ongoing explosion of film-festivals around the world. Most of all, this is the audience that made stateside hits out of such seemingly unlikely fare as this year’s Ghost World; last year’s You Can Count on Me; or 1999’s The Blair Witch Project. And this is the audience we intend to serve with Princess and Buddha.

Risk Analysis
Film is considered an extremely high-risk investment. However, it remains a very attractive investment to the venturesome investor because of its tremendous upside potential. Nonetheless, it is important to note that there is no guarantee of a return for an investment on an independent film. Indeed, against the heady theatrical returns of the above-listed blockbusters, there are numerous films that never see the light of the projector, and hence offer no returns whatsoever. Thus, independent film should be considered an extremely high-risk investment, and only those investors who can afford a total loss of their investment should consider joining such a venture.

Our production, Princess and Buddha, is a sexy tale of desire and betrayal as college professor, Victoria Neve, steps out of the comfort of her academic world and into the Seattle grunge music scene in pursuit of Billy Fields, a charming yet volatile young grunge girl with a sordid past. Conceived with both a high degree of artistic sophistication and a broad popular appeal, Princess and Buddha is designed to be produced on a modest budget in the Seattle area. Shooting is scheduled for 35 days in August, 2004. The film will be shot on Super 16mm color stock, blown up to 35mm, and edited digitally for a Sundance Film Festival 2006 deadline.

By limiting our operations to the low-budget realm, and working outside of the star-driven mainstream, we will be able to maximize our artistic capital. Princess and Buddha will trade on this artistic capital, standing out in the marketplace for originality of both theme and stylistic treatment. It is our experience that true artistic innovation is of tremendous value in the specialty film markets, where despite the profusion of independent productions over the past decade, a unique artistic voice remains a rare commodity.

Competitive Comparison
Pound Pictures and Oliwood Films have numerous competitive advantages in the field of independent productions. First, and most importantly, Seattle itself offers tremendous value as a production location. Competition—most specifically with Vancouver, BC—has driven the price of producing a film in Seattle down significantly, with the result that a single production dollar here goes much further in renting equipment, paying crew, securing permits, and more.

Second, we know our market and audience intimately. From our first-hand experience serving the film-going public, we have been able to put our finger on the pulse of the specialty audience, and are confident that we can play to this audience, delivering a sophisticated film to their tastes. We are also intimately acquainted with the personal mechanics of the market, having developed working relationships throughout a broad range of specialty distributors, the critical press, festival programming over the past decade. Third, we are strongly committed to and experienced in alternative marketing schemes. We are aware that a film’s popularity must to some extent be engineered, and we are committed to exploring the possibilities of grass-roots campaigns, strategic alliances, and event marketing. These methods, used so successfully in the marketing of such films as The Blair Witch Project and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (not to mention our own films), will be put to good use in marketing our production to cultural tastemakers, specialty distributors, and the general public.

Finally, we are well-versed in the artistic task at hand. If the art of filmmaking is the business of filmmaking, then we are well prepared to succeed in this business. We have devoted ourselves, for over a decade, to the study and exploration of the art and business of film, in the fields of production and exhibition. We take seriously the artistic challenge of film, the mandate to create great work. It is our intention to deliver a film of tremendous artistic conviction and outstanding originality; a film that is challenging and innovative and hugely entertaining; a film that everyone will want to see.

Financial Analysis of Comparable Films
Following are theatrical grosses for a selection of average-performing specialty films released in FY2000. Theatrical grosses are the only publicly available measures for a film’s profitability, and thus are used as a rough measure of a film’s total financial performance. Conservative estimates place distribution fees at 40% of the theatrical gross for a specialty film. Thus, we may presume that 60% of the total gross for a film returns to the producer. Note also that this graph represents only domestic theatrical gross: Gross income from ancillary markets and foreign sales for average-grossing specialty films may be anywhere from 50-150% of domestic theatrical.