FilmNation Entertainment Hits 15th Anniversary With Bustling AFM Slate & Growth Ambitions Under Glen Basner

November 02, 2023

As the FilmNation Entertainment team gethers in Santa Monica this week for the American Film Market, it's a moment for reflection. It's been a remarkable 15 years since Glen Basner embarked on this venture. In spite of the challenges that have gripped AFM, including strikes and general uncertainty, it's astonishing how much can change in a decade and a half. The company was founded in 2008, a time that was far from ideal for launching an independent film finance and production company with global aspirations.

“Back then, Summit and Mandate were the two top companies in the space,” Basner recalled when assessing the opportunity to launch a company back then. “Mandate was sold to Lionsgate and became a U.S. distributor, and Summit started their own U.S. distribution company. There was a hole in the marketplace we thought we could fill, and become that leading American international sales agent for feature films that had no connection to the U.S. distribution world. The idea made sense, but looking back, we started in September of 2008, and FilmNation was literally born into the biggest global financial crisis in a hundred years. Since then, we’ve survived the biggest healthcare crisis in 100 years and now through two different guild strikes.”

While the strikes and the ever-evolving film industry landscape may have given cause for some to be cautious, Glen Basner and his seasoned FilmNation team are experiencing remarkable growth.

"I’m always a combination of being extraordinarily optimistic and extraordinarily fearful at the same time,” Basner told Deadline. “I think it’s that balance, that anxiety, that always drives us to look at things differently. I have never lost my faith in the fact that people all around the world love feature films. Now there are so many different ways for people to be watching them both in the theater — which is coming back quite strongly and will continue to grow as the supply improves and increases. People then get to watch movies on all these wonderful streaming services and platforms that make accessibility so exciting. Our job is not to question whether people want to see movies or television series going forward. Our job is to find and collaborate with great artists, find something that feels inspired and then nurture that inspired creative choice into something that becomes undeniable and compelling for everybody. That’s a tall order, but the excitement of setting out to do something aspirational, lasting and memorable, that’s what makes this job so fantastic.”

The results have been nothing short of extraordinary. FilmNation's films have collectively earned over $3.4 billion worldwide. They clinched an Emmy right from the start with their first TV series, "I Know This Much Is True," and added another Emmy for "The Band's Visit," which also secured a Grammy. Moreover, they've accumulated an impressive 50 Oscar nominations, including five for Best Picture, with nine wins. Additionally, they've notched 17 Tony Award nominations and secured 12 wins, including 10 for "The Band's Visit."

Read the whole article on Deadline.