Monday, February 27, 2006

 

Interview With: Page Ostrow, Producer's Rep

Producer's representative Page Ostrow -- founder and president of the Ostrow and Co. rep firm -- has negotiated funds and distribution for more than 125 feature films and documentaries to date. Recent films repped by Ostrow include Heaven's Falls, starring Oscar nominee David Strathairn (and on which Ostrow has an executive producer credit); the documentary Stolen Childhoods, narrated by two-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep; the timely Inside Iraq: The Untold Stories; Sweat, Colorblind; and the romantic comedy Dating Games People Play. The eclectic mix seems to be part of what draws Ostrow, who has built a sizeable reputation for herself as a get-it-done type of person, "a filmmaker's friend," and "the darling of producers' reps." Ostrow believes that the commercial viability of film projects has shifted in recent years from being "star-centric" to "director-centric" (along with the desire for a well-told story). She has called it "a healthy trend." In April, Ostrow will receive the "Wave of Excellence" Award from Garden State Film Festival, in recognition of her contribution to the cinematic arts. Recently, she took the time to talk with "Movies on My Mind" about her career and where she sees the industry headed. To learn more about Ostrow and her services, visit www.ostrowandco.com.

Movies on My Mind: When and how did your interest in film begin?
Page Ostrow: When I saw Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey perform in Cabaret as a kid.
Movies on My Mind: Why did you become a producer's representative? What particular satisfaction does it give you to obtain funding or distribution for a film?
Ostrow: My father always used to say, "People enjoy doing things they are good at." I identified a need within an area of our industry where I thought I could be of maximum service. I like protecting and looking after the creative team.
Movies on My Mind: How did you develop your contacts for film funding?
Ostrow: I have a hectic schedule that includes speaking engagements at festivals and industry panels all over the world. I'm on the radio a lot, as are my filmmaking clients. So, the investors hear about us, and come to me.
Movies on My Mind: What's your typical day like?
Ostrow: Work work work...Negotiating, managing my team, lunch with execs from studios and/or Indies, going over contracts, booking out on hourly conference calls about new projects, reviewing materials, speaking with my current clients and determining who we are going to represent next.
Movies on My Mind: How do you select the films you will represent?
Ostrow: I have to like the film, and the people behind the film.
Movies on My Mind: Do you find these films primarily through festival screenings?
Ostrow: We get hundreds of submissions from everywhere. Most filmmakers find us either over the Internet, by referral, or they meet someone who works for me at a festival.
Movies on My Mind: The business model for the industry has certainly evolved in the wake of growing ancillary opportunities (such as DVD) and emerging technologies (i.e. podcasting). What is your view on the where the film industry might be five years from now?
Ostrow: I think the audiences are demanding and will continue to require better and more compelling subject matter and stories that make people think about what's really going on in the world and within us.
Movies on My Mind: Congratulations on receiving the "Wave of Excellence" award.
Ostrow: Thanks. It's nice to be acknowledged. I'm proud of this one.
Movies on My Mind: Are there any particular challenges to being a woman in the film industry?
Ostrow: Being a woman, in general, is challenging...
Movies on My Mind: What advice, if any, do you give to women who would like to follow your path?
Ostrow: My advice about being a woman in business is to leave the part of your womanhood that men complain about at home. Learn to compartmentalize -- get to work, and get the job done.

Comments:
Nice interview. Who's next, and when?
 
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