Issue 94 | November 2012

* Director's Notes
* Message from Allison
* Pencil Me In:

LA EVENTS

  • TONIGHT!! Harvardwood Film Festival & the LA Film School present: THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES w/ Q&A, Thurs., Nov. 1
  • Harvardwood Heads To...SHATTERED GLASS feat. Kelley Nicole, Fri., Nov. 2
  • GSD Alumni invite Harvardwood to Harvard Design: Los Angeles, Fri., Nov. 9 & Sat., Nov. 10
  • Harvardwood Heads To...INTIMATE APPAREL feat. Kristy Johnson! (Discount available) Sat., Nov. 10
  • Harvardwood Heads To..."Cocktails & Camouflage" A Veteran's Day Comedy Benefit, Sun., Nov. 11
  • Brown U Entertainment Group invites Harvardwood to: (Mostly) Ivy Comedy Night (feat. Harvardwood members!), Wed., Nov. 14
  • Harvardwood Presents: A Visit to the Jeff Probst Show! Fri., Nov. 30

SF EVENTS

  • Harvardwood SF presents: Social & Idea Gathering, Wed., Nov. 7

NY EVENTS

  • Harvardwood Heads To...(un)common threads: Blurring Genres in the 21st Century, Mon., Nov. 5
  • NYIT invites Harvardwood to PENTIMENTI, Fri., Nov. 9

Mankoff.jpg* Seeking band/artist submissions for Harvard ROCKS! (Deadline Nov. 7)
* Seeking items for Holiday Silent Auction
* Announcing the launch of the new Harvardwood Resource Directory!
* Join the Features Screenwriting group in Boston (Deadline - TODAY, Nov. 1)
* Seeking company hosts and J-termship providers for Harvardwood 101
* Seeking contacts at Southern California universities
* Seeking marketing contacts at IMDb
* Industry Successes
* Artist Showcase
* DEAL OF THE MONTH!
* Featured Member Posting: Film Finance Internships - LA
* Member Profile: Doug Mankoff HBS '95

Director's Notes

Tonight, those in LA should make sure not to miss Harvardwood’s screening of THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, featuring a Q&A with award-winning director, Lauren Greenfield ’87! This film has garnered much critical acclaim and I’ve heard through the grapevine that it’s on its way to a few award noms...don't miss out! And this month, a program that’s near and dear to my heart, Harvard ROCKS, has begun accepting submissions!! Musicians, bandleaders, singer/songwriters, and more, get your SoundCloud and YouTube links ready for scrutiny! Learn more about the showcase and submit here. And finally, our heartfelt prayers go out to those that have weathered Hurricane Sandy. For those affected - don’t hesitate to reach out to your fellow community members if there's anything we can do to help get you back on your feet.

-- Kelley

Message from Allison

Happy November! This month I want to pass along a great, totally free, resource that I recently learned about. The Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab at the SAG Foundation is a free, open to the public, fully-equipped sound studio (with sound engineer!) at the SAG Foundation. A great resource for actors (or those thinking of dabbling in the world of voice over) to work on craft, demos and auditions. Check it out!
http://www.sagfoundation.org/actorscenter/lafontaine

And looking forward to seeing you all at SHATTERED GLASS on Friday night!

-- Allison

Pencil Me In...

LA - TONIGHT!! Harvardwood Film Festival & the LA Film School present: THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES w/ Q&A, Thurs., Nov. 1

Harvardwood is excited to support the critically lauded Sundance documentary, THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, directed by acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Lauren Greenfield '87 - who won Best Director at Sundance 2012 for this work. With the epic dimensions of a Shakespearean tragedy, THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES follows billionaires Jackie and David’s rags-to-riches story to uncover the innate virtues and flaws of the American dream. We open on the triumphant construction of the biggest house in America, a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles. Since a booming time-share business built on the real-estate bubble is financing it, the economic crisis brings progress to a halt and seals the fate of its owners. We witness the impact of this turn of fortune over the next two years in a riveting film fraught with delusion, denial, and self-effacing humor... Join us for a Q&A following the screening... To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=251037

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...SHATTERED GLASS feat. Kelley Nicole, Fri., Nov. 2

Hello Harvardwood! I'd like to invite you all to my next show, which is not just any normal show. This is a performance of the multi-media stage presentation I've been working on entitled SHATTERED GLASS. Combining original poetry, music, dramatization and artwork, this presentation chronicles the journey of a character that disentangles herself from a toxic relationship and transcends from a state of victim to victory. You'll hear new & favorite Kelley Nicole tunes in a brand new light! …To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=269764

LA - GSD Alumni invite Harvardwood to Harvard Design: Los Angeles, Fri., Nov. 9 & Sat., Nov. 10

The GSD is going to LA November 9-10 for a very special program! Program highlights include: A Welcome Reception at the trendy Skybar in the Mondrian Hotel; A Tour of Downtown LA led by alumni Scott Johnson, MArch '75, Bill Fain, MArch and MAUD '75 and Alumni Council Chair-Elect Michael Lehrer, MArch '78; Private Dining Experiences at top West Hollywood culinary destinations Comme Ca and Jar; A day of panel discussions featuring GSD Faculty and Alumni on the Santa Monica beach at the Annenberg Beach House, landscape architecture by Mia Lehrer, MLA '79. Topics are the Future of Design Technology and the Future of Cities; A Big Bash on Saturday night hosted by Dean Mostafavi in the outdoor courtyard at The Hammer Museum. This party will be a celebration of the school, and how far we’ve come in 75 years. We hear that a special presentation of the new GSD publication INSTIGATIONS will be shown at this party…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=270426

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...INTIMATE APPAREL feat. Kristy Johnson! (Discount available) Sat., Nov. 10

Join us as Harvardwood Heads To...INTIMATE APPAREL feat. Kristy Johnson! (Starring Vanessa Williams & Dawnn Lewis)…Discount available for Harvardwood members…In INTIMATE APPAREL, the time is 1905 in New York City and Esther (Vanessa Williams), a middle-aged, black seamstress, has learned to make ends meet by teaching herself to sew beautiful and delicate lingerie for her uptown and downtown clientele. After nearly two decades of loneliness and watching the younger and prettier girls come and go in the boarding house she rents from, Esther finds solace and possible romance in letters from George, a handsome, young Caribbean man working on the Panama Canal. Re-energized by his affectionate words, but hindered by illiteracy, Esther confides in two of her patrons, Mrs. Van Buren, a rich white socialite, and Mayme (KRISTY JOHNSON), a prostitute, to pen her letters back to George. Meanwhile, Esther’s heart also seems to lie with Mr. Marks, the Hasidic shopkeeper who relishes in sharing his exquisite finds of satins and silks. Esther must reconcile her dreams with a harsh reality, as she learns that all choices come with a price…INTIMATE APPAREL is the winner of the 2004 New York Drama Critics Circle Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=269180

LA - Harvardwood Heads To..."Cocktails & Camouflage" A Veteran's Day Comedy Benefit, Sun., Nov. 11

On Sunday, November 11th James P. Connolly '88 presents the 3rd Annual Veteran’s Day Benefit Comedy Show, "Cocktails & Camouflage”, at Flappers Comedy Club, in Burbank CA. The event will raise funds for the Veterans in Film & Television. VFT is a networking organization that unites current and former members of the military working in film and television and offers the entertainment industry the opportunity to connect with and hire veterans. The show features some of the funniest comedians in Southern California, many of whom served in the US forces: Greg Hahn (Comedy Central, Conan O'Brien. USMC), 2 Emmy winning Conan writers: Laurie Kilmartin (Last Comic Standing, Conan) & Brian Kiley (Letterman, Conan), plus Mark Valley (Boston Legal, Body of Proof, Army), PJ Walsh (Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Navy), Byron Bowers (Comedy Central, Adult Swim), Dana Eagle (Craig Ferguson), & hosted by James P. Connolly '88 (Sirius/XM Radio, USMC)…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=269178

LA - Brown U Entertainment Group invites Harvardwood to: (Mostly) Ivy Comedy Night (feat. Harvardwood members!), Wed., Nov. 14

The Brown University Entertainment Group (BUEG) is excited to announce its second (Mostly) Ivy Comedy Night at 8p on November 14 at the world-famous LAUGH FACTORY! We've got a great lineup of hilarious Ivy stand-up comics who mingled with the best and brightest... before throwing it all away to come to Hollywood. This year's performers include: Nick Malis (Harvard, Head Writer Tosh.0), Kiran Deol (Harvard), Matt Goldich (Brown, The Ellen Degeneres Show), Alex Barnett (Penn), Toby Muresianu (Brown), Nikki Muller (Princeton, Harvard). Hosted By: Nina Daniels (Brown)…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=269882

LA - Harvardwood Presents: A Visit to the Jeff Probst Show! Fri., Nov. 30

Join Harvardwood at the first season of the Jeff Probst Show on November 30! See daytime television up close and personal at the studio of the Jeff Probst Show. The legendary host of the long-running reality series SURVIVOR is now a talk show host and has invited a Harvardwood group to join the audience at a double feature taping on November 30. This will be a rare opportunity to see how a television pioneer is creating a new format and listen to intriguing guests while you are on the set. In between tapings, our group can mingle in the show’s party room, with access to makeover stations, massage chairs, a photo booth, snacks and music! Enjoy the tapings and socialize with other friends from Harvardwood and the HAA. There is no charge for this special event, but attendance will be limited to 20, so it is a good idea to sign up as soon as possible. We will maintain a waiting list, and may schedule a second event next year to accommodate the waiting list…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=269896

SF - Harvardwood SF presents: Social & Idea Gathering, Wed., Nov. 7

Join us for a casual opportunity to mingle and brainstorm. Meet other artists, actors, writers, and musicians from our SF Harvardwood community. Bring your ideas and dreams for Bay Area events and collaborations…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=270583

NY - Harvardwood Heads To...(un)common threads: Blurring Genres in the 21st Century, Mon., Nov. 5

Harvardwood members are invited to Carnegie Hall for (un)common threads: Blurring genres in the 21st century, a performance with Gabriel Kahane and friends exploring the ties between distinctive musical styles. The event features songs by Kahane including excerpts from Craigslistlieder, his 2012 musical February House, and collaborations with special guests Aoife O'Donovan, Julian Lage and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. The performance is followed by an after-party at the Empire Hotel Rooftop (includes a 2-hour premium open bar). The event is taking place on Monday, November 5, at 7pm. Harvardwood members receive a 50% discount - the ticket price would come to $40…About the Carnegie Hall Notables: A membership and ticket program for music enthusiasts in their 20's and 30's. Donations from the Notables support the music education and community programs of Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=271076

NY - NYIT invites Harvardwood to PENTIMENTI, Fri., Nov. 9

Our friends at the New York Institute of Technology have graciously invited all Harvardwood members (and their guests) to this special presentation and FREE artists' reception – PENTIMENTI: The Past Emerging…This event is a mixed media presentation involving the reading of the initial chapters of THE MEMORY PALACE CHAMBER, a magical realist novel that tells the tale of Muirgen, the twin-taled Irish mermaid that transforms into a woman…featuring poet Judith Vollmer and art historian Danielle Oteri…FREE for Harvardwood members but RSVP is required…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=270484

Seeking band/artist submissions for Harvard ROCKS! (Deadline Nov. 7)

That's right. We're back. And ready to get our ROCK on. The musical showcase with both brains and brawn -- Harvard ROCKS -- is BACK! Started in New York in 2009, Harvard ROCKS brings out the best of the best in Harvard’s undiscovered musical talent. The performing acts will be chosen by a group of top tier industry judges including Robert Kraft (President of Fox Music), Tom Morello (guitarist for RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and AUDIOSLAVE), Eddie Dalva (Executive Vice President, Content and Program Enterprises, Entertainment and Music Groups at Viacom Media Networks), Anne Preven (academy-award winning songwriter), Ben Weeden (COO of North American Music for Live Nation), DA Wallach of CHESTER FRENCH, and more! The performing acts will then compete for a career-boosting music industry prize package which includes: Performance consideration from LIVE NATION courtesy of Ben Weeden; A listening session with hit songwriter Anne Preven ("Listen" from DREAMGIRLS) and acclaimed vocal producer David "DQ" Quiñones of The Writing Camp (Beyonce, Pussycat Dolls), providing creative advice and guidance to the winner; A brand new track from producers C-Aye Purcell of PrazimProductions (Jodeci, Nate Dogg) and Skye Lewin (CSI: Miami, The Karate Kid); and, hot off the presses - a new Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar!! …Deadline for submissions is Wed., Nov. 7…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/106719/Seeking-bandartist-submissions-for-Harvard-ROCKS.htm

Seeking Items for Holiday Silent Auction

This year, in conjunction with our annual holiday party, Harvardwood will host a silent auction in support of the Harvardwood Fund! We invite all Harvardwood members and their contacts to participate. Donate an item from your business or service in support of Harvardwood's educational events and programs. We are currently seeking tax-deductible items to be donated for the auction. Items may include things like: gift certificates (spas, yoga, stores, restaurants, etc.), recording or editing time in a professional studio (audio or video), gift baskets, a walk-on role on a film or TV show, lessons in your area of expertise (golf, tennis, yoga, voice, acting, etc.), a visit to a set or studio, and more…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/107291/Seeking-items-for-holiday-silent-auction.htm

Announcing the launch of the new Harvardwood Resource Directory!

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Harvardwood Resource Directory, a great new resource for members of our community to find, connect, and work with other members! You'll notice that a link to the Directory can be found in the top right corner of the main Harvardwood website….If you signed up to be included, your company or service has been provided with a free basic listing with your name, address and phone number. If you did not sign up previously and would like to be included, visit the "Create a Listing" link at the top of the Directory. You can upgrade your basic listing to an enhanced listing at anytime…To celebrate the launch of the Directory, if you enhance your listing by November 16, 2012 you will receive $50 off when you use coupon "50OFFNOW" at checkout. And feel free to forward this note and coupon code to other contacts and friends - the guide is open to friends of our community as well! Visit the Directory here:
http://www.harvardwooddirectory.com

Join the Features Screenwriting group in Boston (Deadline - TODAY, Nov. 1)

Writing a new screenplay? Want to workshop an existing screenplay? Sign up to join the 2012-13 Boston feature screenwriting workshop. We will meet near Harvard Square every other Thursday evening from 7-9pm, Nov. 1 - Feb. 7 (holidays excluded). Full Members will get support and feedback from a friendly group of fellow Harvard writers, as well as the chance to submit a complete work to the 2013 Harvardwood Writers' Competition, Features Showcase and Script Menu next spring…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/105577/Join-the-Feature-Screenwriting-group-in-Boston.htm

Seeking company hosts and J-termship providers for Harvardwood 101

Harvardwood invites all Harvard alums and friends to get involved in the 11th annual Harvardwood 101 career exploration program, co-sponsored by Harvard’s Office of Career Services and Office for the Arts. Harvardwood 101 brings a group of Harvard undergraduates to Los Angeles during the January term (or "J-term”) and provides various career-related activities in an attempt to demystify "the biz" and educate current students about opportunities in the arts/media/entertainment industries.

There are two segments of the Harvardwood 101 program:

  • The Harvardwood 101 "Boot Camp" program takes place during the first full week of J-term, this year from January 7th - 11th, 2013. The entire group of about two-dozen students participates in office visits, panels, tours, and other activities sponsored by alums and friends working in the arts/media/entertainment industries.
  • The Harvardwood 101 "J-Term-Ship" program provides opportunities for the duration of the J-term (this year from Jan. 12th - 27th, or a portion thereof) for individual students to further explore their area(s) of professional interest. J-term-ship opportunities might include such experiences as shadowing an alum, doing an intensive 2-week "internship” at one or more companies, observing on a film or TV set, assisting with project research, etc. PLEASE NOTE: "J-term-ship" opportunities do not have to be LA-based.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have questions or are interested in any/all of the following:

  • Providing a "J-term-ship” opportunity for an individual student (or students)
  • Hosting all of the students for an office/set visit and/or participating in a panel discussion

For more information on Harvardwood 101, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/?Harvardwood101

Thanks for your support!

Seeking contacts at Southern California universities

Harvardwood is looking to connect with local universities to identify possible housing options for our students. Please respond to Kelley Purcell ([email protected]) if you have any leads. Thank you!

Seeking marketing contacts at IMDb

Harvardwood is seeking marketing contacts at IMDb. We are interested to form a mutually beneficial relationship with this company. If you know anyone you can connect us to please be in touch with Kelley Purcell, [email protected]

Industry Successes...

James P. Connolly '88 presents the 3rd Annual Veteran’s Day Benefit Comedy Show, "Cocktails & Camouflage,” at Flappers Comedy Club, in Burbank CA. Sunday, Nov. 11th. The event will raise funds for the Veterans in Film & Television. VFT is a networking organization that unites current and former members of the military working in film and television and offers the entertainment industry the opportunity to connect with and hire veterans. The show features some of the top comedians in Southern California, (many of whom served in the US forces) including 2 current Emmy winning Conan staff writers. Another way you can help is to Buy a Ticket For a Veteran to Attend for only $20. Click here: http://h2f.net/h2fnew/index.php?pg=promotion_page&id5064954c78572&pid4e1a36b15bfde

Alum singer-songwriter Sara Melson's new EP, THE BEACHWOOD CANYON SESSIONS, was featured up on the iTunes homepage in October!! Learn more and support the record at www.saramelson.com.

Harvardwood Artist Showcase

Each month the Highlights is proud to feature one or two artists from some of our various programs in the Harvardwood Artist Showcase. Click below to learn more about what they do!

john_piscitello_artistshowca.jpgJohn Piscitello HBS '98 completed the orchestral film score for the documentary NO PLACE ON EARTH, which brings to light a story of thirty-eight Ukrainian Jews who survived World War II by living in caves for eighteen months. NO PLACE ON EARTH premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and Magnolia Pictures will release the film theatrically in the US in early 2013.

Music from the score is online at: http://soundcloud.com/jpiscitello/sets/no-place-on-earth/

NO PLACE ON EARTH official web site: http://www.noplaceonearthfilm.com

DEAL OF THE MONTH!

Harvardwood's Deal of the Month features a product or service that one of our members would like to promote to the broader Harvardwood community. In addition to providing a special promotional discount or offer to our community, proceeds from this Deal will also support Harvardwood and other community service organizations of note.

cranecanopy.jpgKarin Shieh ’05, MBA ’10, a Harvardwood 101 alum (’04) recently co-founded and launched her company, Crane & Canopy. Crane & Canopy is an innovative online home goods company that offers beautifully designed, high-quality bedding at an innovative price point. Armed with a team of talented designers, Crane & Canopy works directly with premium manufacturers to deliver customers a continuous new selection of on-trend, premium designer bedding without the department store markup.

From Nov. 5th to Nov. 19th, Crane & Canopy will be offering an exclusive 10% discount on all bedding to Harvardwood members! Utilize promo code "HARVARDWOOD10" between Nov. 5th and Nov. 19th at http://www.craneandcanopy.com/ to take advantage!

Featured Member Posting: Film Finance Internships - LA

The Exchange (2 GUNS, SPECTACULAR NOW, UNTITLED SEBASTIAN SILVA THRILLER, SOUND OF MY VOICE), an international sales agency and film financier, is seeking interns to work in their AFM suite and Hancock Park office. The internship includes a full immersion experience at the American Film Market...in addition to exposure to the business of film finance and distribution for the length of the internship. The intern will be required to help with scheduling/follow-up, errands, preparation for AFM and other miscellaneous intern tasks. Looking for an intern to start IMMEDIATELY. Interns should be prepared to commit 2/3 days per week for 3 months for this unpaid internship with a possibility of full 7 days while at AFM…To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/networking/opening.asp?id=140480

Member Profile: Doug Mankoff HBS '95

Mankoff.jpgby Cristina Slattery

In the final scene of the 2006 film, WATER, a train filled with supporters of change agent and political leader, Mahatma Gandhi, pulls out of a crowded station. A seven-year-old child, Chuyia, is handed to an educated young man who has decided to leave his own city and follow Gandhi. An adult widow who shares her living space with Chuyia – who, despite being only seven, is also a widow after a childhood marriage – desperately hands her to the man on the train in order to free Chuyia from a life of poverty and prostitution. This final scene offers a glimpse of hope for the child’s future and for the future of Indian society, and exemplifies the theme of redemption that is prevalent in many of the movies that Doug Mankoff, (HBS ‘95), has helped to bring to audiences worldwide.

Films such as THIRTEEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING, (2002), TWELVE AND HOLDING, (2006), TSOTSI, (2006), and AWAY FROM HER, (2007), also show how unexpected situations often end up transforming characters’ lives for the better while depicting how human relationships can transform individuals’ views of the world in ways that they themselves may not have anticipated. Mankoff explains that "the best drama comes from when people who we can really feel for and relate to are in jeopardy,” and these particular films all depict situations in which characters need to move beyond tragedies or stressful life events that have taken place.

As a child growing up in the Preston Hollow section of Dallas, Mankoff pretended to be Evil Knievel with his friends and rode his bike a lot. However, he says he occasionally felt like an outsider. His religion – Judaism – and the politics of his parents – liberal – differentiated him from the mainly Christian and often politically conservative families of Preston Hollow. This feeling of separateness helped inform his career choice as he says that he knew he did not "want to do something conventional” and the strong commitment of his parents to social justice and "compassion for the downtrodden” that Judaism teaches helped to influence him.

Mankoff attended St. Mark’s School, an all-boy prep school in Dallas and Duke University, where he graduated in 1985 with a BA in History. After Duke, Mankoff enrolled in NYU’s prestigious film school. After a year, upon realizing that he did not want to become a director, he dropped out of the NYU program. He went on to start a company called CAMPTV. (Summer camps were just starting to use video technology to advertise their services and running this company allowed Mankoff to learn a lot about lighting and editing and making videos as well as business.) In his late 20s, Mankoff decided to pursue an MBA at Harvard. While meant to be a stepping stone to Hollywood, Mankoff loved the experience. Having toiled in an entrepreneurial vacuum, he was "delighted to learn how other companies operated.”

Mankoff remembers an HBS course on negotiation techniques as being extremely useful and engaging and says he uses these techniques consistently in his role as a producer in order to "increase the size of the pie” for all involved in a project as well as to get a fair slice. Mankoff had hoped that HBS would lead to job opportunities at the studios, but the era of freshly-minted MBAs being courted by Hollywood moguls had already passed. He did have one contact in Hollywood whom he has previously worked for as a production assistant one summer during college – Michael Nesmith – and he got a job running the company of this former member of the ‘60s group, THE MONKEES. However, they never made any movies. Mankoff saw that the key to Hollywood was to be a buyer and not a seller. He raised a small "friends and family” fund and founded Echo Lake Productions in 1997.

In addition to the films already mentioned, THE WARD, (2011), THE JONESES, (2009), BEFORE THE RAINS, (2008), DREAMLAND, (2006), THE BIG EMPTY, (2003), LEVITY, (2003), THINGS BEHIND THE SUN, (2003), and LA CIUDAD, (1999), were all brought to theaters through Echo Lake Productions and the company’s partners. Another film that deals with India’s transition to independence, MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN, based on the 1980 book by Salman Rushdie, is scheduled to be released in April of 2013.

In 2010, Mankoff established a new fund with partners in Toronto. That fund has helped finance the last two Pedro Almodovar films, a John Cusack action film called THE NUMBERS STATION, and a new production of ROMEO & JULIET.

Of all the films that he has worked on, the project Mankoff says that he is most proud of is THE JONESES. This movie almost did not get made due to the 2008 market crash. Investors pulled out of the project and Mankoff debated whether or not to go ahead with it. Mankoff had to decide whether to go it alone through his fund (with much of his own money at stake) or to jump ship and take a certain loss of $1 million. He decided to consult the person he admires most – his father. "He reminded me that avoiding risk was not the reason I got into the movie business.” Mankoff stuck with the project. "While it was by no means a hit, it had a lot to say, and continues to resonate with people. We are now making a tv series based on the concept,” Mankoff explains. The "unexpected twists” that seem to be a hallmark of many of the films he has backed also characterize this movie that explores the modern "American dream” of an affluent suburban lifestyle and how it is marketed to consumers.

"Happy and constantly challenged” is how Mankoff describes his current state-of-mind. Seeing his daughter ride at horse shows, jumping on the trampoline with his younger daughter, riding bikes with his son, and watching HOMELAND with his wife comprise some of his favorite out-of-office activities, as does playing a round of golf with someone who doesn’t take the game overly seriously. Mankoff tells those who are eager to follow in his footsteps and pursue a career in Hollywood that it is important to commit to being out in Los Angeles "for the long haul” and to be "willing to get your hands dirty at a low level” without expecting immediate success. Perhaps he might add that newcomers to the entertainment business should be prepared for some unexpected twists and turns in their own lives as they enter the movie business and pursue a Hollywood career. Like the characters in the films Mankoff has produced, young artists and businesspeople who desire to make their mark in the film industry never know what "unexpected twists” might take place in their own lives and act as catalysts for their own success.

cristinaslattery2.jpgCristina Slattery is currently living in Barcelona, Spain where she continues to teach English to private students and writes freelance articles on a regular basis for a variety of publications. Her most recent article was featured in the New York Times.


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