The nominees for the Darryl F. Zanuck Prize of the Producers Guild of America each struggled to fund their nominated films. They detailed their stories in a PGA panel on Saturday.
The sound of metal producer Sacha Ben Harroche said the funding had failed several times. Harroche said many financiers made unrealistic budgets for writer / director Darius Marder.
“He had a lot of financiers who promised him the moon and gave him a price for his project,” said Harroche. “I knew that no one would really fund this film at that price because we were used to the market and the reality of things.”
Harroche’s team helped Marder rewrite the script for a more conservative budget. However, funding fell through shortly before the main photography began.
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“Two and a half weeks before we started shooting, we got rid of the financiers we had,” said Harroche. “I had $ 500 in the bank [and] People who work in the production offices. “
Ultimately, a friend of Marder’s invested in the Sound of Metal.
Marc Platt, producer of The Trial of the Chicago 7, said Aaron Sorkin’s film has also suffered near-misses over the years and was nearly shot with producers Walter Parkes and Laurie McDonald. Platt said Steven Spielberg finally encouraged her to make it.
“When we finally did it, it was about six weeks before we started shooting,” said Platt. “Accelerating production with limited resources was the biggest challenge, especially the larger sequences. There really was no film without protests. “
Minari producer Christina Oh said she also tried hard to put the film together in a short amount of time.
“I read the script in February, we shot in June, and we premiered on Sundance the following January,” said Oh. “It was a challenge. But even if you have support from people, you can get through. “
Challenges on set included a broken air conditioner in the trailer where the film’s Korean-American family lives. Oklahoma was over 100 degrees.
“We were filming in a contemporary trailer that had very contemporary air conditioning that wasn’t working so we had to climb quickly,” said Oh. “Nothing really got us into phase because we all really believed in what we were doing.”
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom producer Todd Black said his biggest challenge was moving the studios with producer Denzel Washington. Washington originally set up the August Wilson adaptation on HBO. Netflix ultimately made the movie.
Nomadland producer Dan Janvey said director Chloe Zhao asked him to produce in places with limited resources because of his experience with nonactors. Janvey produced documentaries and short-story films such as Beasts of the Southern Wild and Wendy.
Nomadland filmed scenes in an Amazon warehouse and beet harvest, with Frances McDormand interacting with real nomads. In Janvey’s case, Searchlight Pictures supported her unorthodox plan.
“We suggested an approach or a process to filmmaking that is extremely risky,” said Janvey. “How risky it was for the studio to sign up for the project and how they didn’t seem to blink at what we were doing was really impressive. They said, “We trust Chloe and Frances and the production team to make a great movie.”
By comparison, Cean Chaffin’s experience with Mank was relatively smooth. Chaffin said Netflix simply said yes to director David Fincher’s film, based on his father’s script.
“I think, in a strange way, you’re more worried about someone showing up,” said Chaffin. “All the films here are not easy to finance. Perhaps we’re more inclined to be so grateful that it gets harder because you care more about it. “