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AFM: Bron’s Aaron Gilbert Emphasizes Diversity and ‘Joker’

Variety — Dave McNary
On the heels seeing “Joker” becoming a mega-hit, Bron Studios founder and chairman Aaron Gilbert has stressed the importance of focusing on diversity and inclusion.
“Diversity is in the DNA of our company,” he said during the opening of the American Film Market’s Finance Conference on Friday morning, dubbed The Future of Film, at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, Ca.
Gilbert noted that nine-year-old Bron saw its profile rise in 2016 with the release of “Birth of a Nation,” which fetched a record price at the Sundance Film Festival, and “Fences,” which received six Oscar nominations.
“It’s in my DNA to make small films based on something culturally important,” he added. “Birth of a Nation’ and ‘Fences’ put us on the map. We have to tell important stories. We won’t stop doing that. We know that there are important stories and we know there’s an audience for them. Inclusion does have a marketplace.”
Joker” is part of a six-picture financing deal that Creative Wealth and Bron Studios closed at the end of 2018. Earlier this year, the two companies closed a nine-picture financing deal with MGM, which included “The Addams Family.”
“I never had the aspiration to do what we’re doing now,” Gilbert admitted. “We understand the studios’ business and our directive is to be a good partner to them. Our job is to work with them and support them any way we can.”
Gilbert also stressed the importance of filmmaker relationships: “There’s a lot of easier industries to be in. We want to be good partners to filmmakers. That really does pay off over time.”
After the Bron Studios conversation, Millennium Media president Jeffrey Greenstein and Gerard Bulter’s manager Alan Siegel discussed the import of franchises such as Butler’s three-picture “Fallen” series — which saw “Angel Has Fallen” take in $133 million worldwide to date. Siegel said the theatrical business remains viable.
“The market demands theatrical,” he added. “I believe people still want to go to the cinema. People want to see something that is very different from their lives. It gives us a rest from our boring lives to see others on screen.”
Greenstein stressed the importance of concept and script: “Making movies is about three things … story, story, and story.”
He also said the explosion of TV and streaming platforms has led to a crunch for recognizable actors in indepedendent projects.
“Talent may have only one time slot a year to film a film that is independent,” Greenstein added. “The idea from a content creator standpoint is that you must have something that will stand out.”

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