Phil Hunt, Diana Williams, Karin Chien at San Sebastian Investors Conference

Phil Hunt, Diana Williams, Karin Chien at San Sebastian Investors Conference

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The inaugural Creative Investors Conference in San Sebastian featured a panel discussion on Storytelling’s New Horizons with Phil Hunt of Head Gear Films, Bankside Films and Bohemia Media; Karin Chien of Louverture Films and dGenerate; and Diana Williams of Kinetic Energy Entertainment.

How to navigate new technologies, new ways of thinking and how to broaden storytelling to include diversity and different communities were some of the questions posed by moderator Wendy Mitchell.

“We’re looking at new ways of thinking: how storytellers and businesses can use new technologies, how to look at an industry that is more sustainable and also more reflective of today’s society,” Mitchell said.

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Williams’ company trades in both traditional media and the Internet. Her company embraces change by “trying to get creators where their creative economy is. It’s a common expression, but it’s a real expression,” she said. “There are now several tools that enable creators to create their product. and bring it to an audience or a community in ways that weren’t there when I first started producing, so we’re trying to make sure that these creators are part of the business and that we can approach the market, including investors and It’s an entrepreneurial spirit. You’re still dealing with contracts and a system that wasn’t built for this new maker community.”

Hunt definitely wears multiple hats. Between his various entities, he said, “We fund about 50 films a year and have funded over 500 films. Meanwhile, Bohemia targets marginalized voices.”

Both Chien and Hunt thrive on being outsiders. “I’m a white straight guy,” Hunt said, “but I’m more at home with people who aren’t like me. We do a lot of things on the sex-positive side. That’s fascinating. I don’t really care if anyone identifies with them.” as male, female or non-binary, it’s more about their stories and where they come from.”

Chien added: “I’m used to feeling like an outsider as the child of Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles. If I’m in a room where I also feel at home, I’d probably change the room.”

The US is home but, she said, “The US is really just another country for our company, but that’s really rare for an American company. It’s really hard for something that’s artist-driven in the US right now, but there’s another model here in Europe with co-productions. The market for equity-funded US independent functions is super tough right now.”

Each panelist had the opportunity to talk extensively about their company and activities.

Said Chien: “Louverture originally attracted me to expand the business into fiction. It is a company really known for its documentary and international arthouse. That was February 18, 2020. So really good timing, a month before the pandemic started. When we could not yet develop into fiction at that time. Instead, we’ve spent the pandemic re-strategizing the business.

She continued: “My job is to help Louverture move from what was essentially a venture philanthropy model to a venture capital model. So what does that actually mean? It means a lot of bets, but in a very diversified way. So the best way I can say it is that our strategy, which we announced in January of this year, has a strong focus on diversification.

“So we really looked at ways to do that, even starting a cash flow facility to help fund the riskier projects we wanted to do,” Chien recalls. “In January we announced that we were going to expand to multiple spaces. Scripted series is probably the hardest space we’re trying to move into. But we have some very strong partnerships there.”

Louverture has raised both an independent overhead fund and a growing independent development operation. “You have a lot of companies in LA that have overhead deals, but no development money. So they come to us because they know our taste and what kind of artists we like to work with.”

The Metaverse also made the call. Williams said: “Where Kinetic got into something from Metaverse is that we’re just looking at stories. We look at images. Where does the story want to live? Where does the narrator want to tell the story? And where is that community then?”

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