FishbowlLA was in attendance Thursday as Whitewater Films kicked off its third year of bi-monthly back patio panels in Santa Monica with a sunny lunch hour discussion of “The Shifting Landscape of Independent Film.” Manning the barbecue as usual was company founder Rick Rosenthal, while Indiewire editor-in-chief Dana Harris returned for another rotating stint as panel moderator.
Dustin Smith, vp of acquisitions and business affairs for Roadside Attractions, kept things lively with a number of jokes and direct exchanges with the other panelists. He recalled for example that by flying in Jennifer Lawrence from London for a Q&A, he was able to keep Winter’s Bone screening at the Arclight Cinemas Hollywood for a critical early third week. He also had lots to say about the state of “S-VOD” dealmaking with Netlifx; as the streaming service focuses more on episodic TV assets, he recently encountered his first outright rights renewal rejection (Goodbye Solo).
Deborah McIntosh, a member of William Morris Endeavor’s global finance and distribution group, addressed the exciting new distribution arm of client Tim League, co-founder of Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse. She also touched on the agency’s imminent plans to release an independent feature exclusively on Facebook.