This year the Austin Film Festival added a new category sponsored by a growing company, Latitude Productions. We thought we would take some time to learn a little more about Latitude by asking the President of the company, Curtis Burch to share with us his background and to discuss what Latitude Productions is all about.
Mary: What is Latitude Productions?
Curtis: Latitude Productions was created to provide an experience for writers and filmmakers different than the one most often provided by the studio-based system that I have observed first hand for the last twenty years. What the studios do clearly works on it’s own terms and the studios are powerfully successful entities. Latitude exists, however, as a place where smart, creative people who love and know movies can work in a climate of trust and dignity, where there is no attention given to power politics or to what’s “hot” and what’s not “hot”. It’s the kind of place that I imagined existed when I was a kid and I dreamed about being in the movie business. I was disillusioned when I finally got into it and now I’m trying to rectify the situation for myself and for others whose work I admire. Already, having just gotten started putting together my first slate of development projects, I have found that I am able to create a different relationship with writers than I was able to create when I worked in the system. By that I mean direct and honest “one-on-one” communication, without any attention to how it’s going to play to some kind of higher corporate entity.
Mary: What are you looking for in a script/and or writer?
Curtis: I’m interested in writers who would never think to write something just to sell it. I’m looking for writers who love story and who haven’t been overly influenced by other movies that are currently being produced by the system. I respond to writers that have respect for the great stories that have come before them and who care about character and theme over structural paradigms. As for the type of script, I have no preconceived notions, and certainly not any particular genres in mind. Whatever it is, it must be smart and have about it a joyful expression of the form.
Mary: Your website discusses a "void that exists in today's movie business." What is this void and how does Latitude Productions hope to fill it?
Curtis: I have this belief, which is by no means original, that when the “American Independent” movie was created in the early Eighties, as a response to the “Popcorn/Comic Book/Exploitation” trend that the studios adopted in the late seventies, that it ended up being an over-correction. And that what it left was a state of polarization. Practically everything that is made today is considered either “commerce” or “art”. The void I refer to is that state in the middle, the kind of movies the studios used to make that were both artistic and commercial. Occasionally, the system will make something that falls in between, but it’s often by accident. I’m interested in filling that void with movies that are the best of both worlds.
For more information about Curtis Burch and Latitude Productions visit www.latitudeproductions.com. The Latitude Productions award Looking for adult/character driven scripts with a budget of under 10 million dollars. For a list of this year's complete Screenplay and Teleplay Competition rules please visit our website at www.austinfilmfestival.com. Early deadline is May 15th and late deadline is June 1st.
We are looking forward to another year of inspiring entries!