In a sign of the tough times for indies, This is that closes doors to slash overhead, but its principals will continue producing films
The rough economics of the independent film business hit one of indie film’s biggest boosters this week, with Ted Hope’s and Anne Carey’s This is that corporation closing its New York offices as its principals envision a future of lower overhead and fewer collaborations.
“The business of independent movies has contracted significantly, and this is just one of the repercussions of our way of doing business,” Hope told theWrap on Tuesday.
Added Carey, “We just produce movies, and that’s gotten harder to do. If we’re going to keep doing it, we have to adjust our business accordingly.”
Hope and Carey founded This is that in 2002 with Anthony Bregman and Diana Victor. Its films include “The Savages,” “21 Grams,” “Adventureland,” the Oscar-wining “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and the upcoming “SUPER.”
In the future, Hope and Carey said, they will work on some films together under the This is that banner. More often, though, the two will work separately – and in the future, Hope said he can also “picture a Carey Hope logo” supplanting the current brand.
The decision to close the office, said Hope and Carey, came in the aftermath of a year in which both principals spent most of their time away, while the company’s New York offices – which Hope said were “envisioned as a collective for producers” – had empty space for the first time ever.
“Anne was in Italy most of the year producing ‘The American,’ and I was in Louisiana producing ‘SUPER,’” he said. “We weren’t using the office space, but we managed to keep our projects moving forward. And when our office didn’t have full occupancy and Anne and I got hit with a rent bill we weren’t expecting, we thought, What are we doing?”
“I imagine that production offices are a thing of the past in independent film,” he said. “In this day and age, Starbucks is a pretty sweet office.”
“Or the SoHo House on 9th street,” added Carey. “Indie producers are roosting over there.”
Prior to forming This is that, Hope co-founded Good Machine with James Schamus, and worked on films including Ang Lee’s “Eat Drink Man Woman,” Nicole Holofcener’s “Lovely & Amazing,” Edward Burns’s “The Brothers McMullen,” Todd Solontz’s “Happiness” and the Oscar Best-Picture nominees “In the Bedroom” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
Carey worked at Good Machine as well, after starting in the entertainment industry at the William Morris Agency.
(Photo of Carey and Hope at Sundance by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)