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It's just the type of business a couple of Israeli media magnates would dream up. Two-and-a-half years ago Ehud Bleiberg and Yitzhak Ginsberg and a former partner set up Dream Entertainment, Inc. to produce two to three $1 to $2 million films per year and acquire six more for international sales. Lynn Mooney, Los Angeles based V.P. of Sales & Acquisitions, enjoys running operations in the United States for the two principals who seek hands-on producing credits on their films instead of the "executive producer" credits more frequently claimed by those who provide financing. Mooney says that Bleiberg had for years produced and sold his own films and television products in the Hebrew language in Israel and decided to expand operations into international sales. Even though separated by half the globe, the principals keep close tabs on operations, leading to exorbitant fax and phone bills. Mooney and her assistant, Elizabeth Carr, will soon be online and communicate with Israel via the Internet. Don't get the impression though that the two spend all their time in the office. They keep a busy travel schedule by hitting the Sundance Film Festival and NATPE in January, AFM in February/March, MIPTV in April, Cannes in May, Toronto Film Festival and IFFM in New York in September, and MIPCON and MIFED in October.
Mooney also spends a lot of time helping producers understand the pace of international sales. It's easy for producers to get discouraged "because they don't understand how long it takes some titles to recoup." At this AFM, Dream is debuting Amnesia, a drama in pre-production it is producing, with Kurt Voss directing and starring Ally Sheedy, John Savage and Sally Kirkland. It is one of six of the eight projects offered at the AFM that were financed and produced by Dream. The next logical step for the company may be co-productions where it holds all foreign rights. The principals have already written and are planning to produce a $5 to $8 million feature geared toward North American theatrical release.
Mooney believes in leaving no stones unturned in the search for great, new product because you never know where you'll find that next diamond in the rough. In January, she even checked out the Slamdance Film Market, a computer database maintained at the Yarrow Hotel in Park City, Utah, during the alternative film festival's concurrent run with the mainstream Sundance. One filmmaker whose 23-minute short The Turnaround caught Mooney's attention was trolling the Loew's lobby during the AFM and talking up the reputation of the acquisition exec he had yet to meet. Ross Harper said "the great thing about Dream, or at least Lynn Mooney, is that someone really sat down and checked out the trailer to my short." He continued: "There were about one-hundred films on the Slamdance market that didn't make it into the Slamdance competition or the Sundance competition. That means that my trailer was essentially competing for a buyer's attention amidst the hype surrounding hundreds of other films at both festivals and on the Slamdance computer database. It gives me faith that people love searching in the nooks and crannies for good films. Even though everyone is so cynical in this business, every once in awhile you get pumped up a little bit by actions like Mooney's. It's very cool. It's part of the dream, isn't it?" Yes Ross, maybe that's how they got their name.