Good Machine

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Good Machine was an independent film production, film distribution, and foreign sales company started in the early 1990s by its co-founders and producers, Ted Hope and James Schamus. David Linde joined in the late 90s to start the international sales company. They sold the company to Universal Pictures in 2001; in 2002 it was acquired by Vivendi SA, which merged it with USA Films to create Focus Features. Hope, along with the heads of production development and business affairs (Anthony Bregman, Anne Carey, and Diana Victor) then went on to form the independent production company This is that corporation.

In 2001, the Museum of Modern Art celebrated a ten-year anniversary of Good Machine's work, commemorating their support of international and domestic filmmakers.

Background[edit]

Good Machine rode the wave of independent film success in the early 1990s, bringing the work of Ang Lee, Hal Hartley, and Nicole Holofcener to the attention of American and international audiences. It was involved in production and/or distribution of a number of films, including Lee's The Ice Storm and Ride with the Devil; Hal Hartley projects such as Flirt (1995), Edward Burns's The Brothers McMullen and Todd Solondz's Happiness.

History[edit]

Launched in 1991 from a small loft space in lower Manhattan by writer—producer Columbia professor James Schamus and his partner, Ted Hope, Good Machine produced many important independent films over the years, among them Safe (Todd Haynes, 1995) and The Wedding Banquet (Ang Lee, 1993). The company survived by doing line producing for hire and keeping overhead costs low. Many films were commercially successful thanks to centrist marketing strategies. The creation of a foreign sales company also gave Schamus and Hope greater control of Good Machine’s products, increased financing sources, and provided information about what people in the marketplace wanted.

During its tenure, Good Machine was host to developing and nurturing talent, including Anne Carey, Anthony Bregman, Mary Jane Skalski, Glen Basner, Ross Katz, Kelly Miller, Lamia Guellati, Heta Parte, Jawal Nga, Stefanie Azpiazu, and Peter Ostopholis. Overall, Good Machine produced and handled sales for over 100 feature and short films, tallying a combined 25 Oscar nominations, 20 Golden Globe nominations, 21 Sundance Film Festival entries (including four grand jury prize winners), which earned a combined worldwide box office in excess of $400 million. Along with its in-house projects, Good Machine also entered into a number of high-profile co-productions with many of the indie world's top production houses, including Killer Films (Storytelling (film), Happiness (film)) and GreeneStreet Films (In the Bedroom).

After merging with Focus Features, in 2002, with Schamus and Good Machine sales partner David Linde still aboard, Focus served as Universal Pictures’s indie arm, functioning ‘as a magnet for talent, keeping filmmakers like Ang Lee, Steven Soderbergh, Spike Jonze, Neil LaBute, Mira Nair, and Todd Haynes "in the Universal fold, and creating an incubator for emerging filmmakers and stars".

Founder Ted Hope, Director of Development Anne Carey, Director of Production Anthony Bregman, and Director of Business Affairs Diana Victor subsequently went on to launch the production company This is that corp.

Key players[edit]

Among the individuals who worked at Good Machine and have gone on to other successes in the film business are:

Disbandment[edit]

In 2002, Good Machine was acquired by Universal Pictures. Ted Hope chose to part with the company to form the This is that corporation with Good Machine Director of Development Anne Carey, Director of Production Anthony Bregman, and Director of Business Affairs Diana Victor. Under the "This is that" banner they have produced critically acclaimed films like Adventureland, The Savages, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, continuing Good Machine's tradition of bringing the modern independent auteur film to moviegoers.

James Schamus remained with Universal, whose new small-picture arm became Focus Features.

Selected filmography (production company)[edit]

Selected filmography (distributor)[edit]

External links[edit]