How great it was.
I don’t mean it that way.
And I was just acting! No way.”, Katz: It was just like, “Wait. I think I made out with my wife in front of people. There’s aesthetic and political values to the people behind the company. Garland: I would say that if Ex Machina had been distributed by a big studio—this isn’t actually a criticism of studios; it’s actually just a statement of fact—the film would not have been remotely as well received or successful as it was. The world opened itself up.” And it satisfied something they weren’t getting. Asif Kapadia (director, ‘Amy’): I suppose most filmmakers have had bad experiences in the past where you do all the hard work, and then these guys in slick suits come along and they’re like, “We know what we’re doing now! In 2012, Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges left their jobs at Guggenheim Partners, Oscilloscope, and Big Beach, respectively, to start a new, independent film company aimed at redefining the way indie movies were made and marketed. Not heyday. Success!
Fenkel: I stare straight ahead. It specializes in film distribution, and film and television production. As Katz explained, “I always had dreams of [starting a company]. Nandan: I remember seeing a screener of [The Witch], and yeah, it was like, oh, right, how’d that movie not sell for more money?
Beyer: I think the operating principle was, “Don’t ask for permission. Its trio of founders—Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges, who’d known each other through years of work in New York’s indie movie circuit—rarely granted interviews. All three had grown up admiring the rich world of ’90s independent cinema, and they noticed a void where those movies had once been. How do we get Spring Breakers?” And then Noah got Spring Breakers. Halfway through the campaign, I think it went the other way. It specializes in film distribution, and film and television production. Katz: They were kind of comfortable with the Under the Skin release. I don’t think that switch in psychology is supposed to happen that dramatically, or that abruptly.
Nicolette Aizenberg (distribution executive, A24): It is very cyclical. They entered into deals with DirecTV Cinema and Amazon Prime in late 2013, with some films distributed through them, and the name was shortened to A24 in 2016.  The company marked its first theatrical release with Roman Coppola's A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, which had a limited release. Franco: I actually did win some awards. Usually you talk to somebody and they tell you all the reasons they shouldn’t make something, and why it’s so difficult. Please, just let those two!”. Katz: There’s an A24 audience, and sometimes a movie connects with the A24 audience. People want to see movies. Franco: I hope they don’t get too big that they forget what got them started. Fenkel: And we did this, like, illegal Tinder stuff. Katz: There was still, I think, the element of—they thought we got lucky. But you’re in a tuxedo and everyone around you is older and they’re quiet... Jenkins: It sucks, man, because of how it happened, none of us thanked them! And I think that really helped the movie.
“Hollywood is run by accountants at this point. But we got A Glimpse Inside the Mind. Sacco: We probably saw 20 versions. Katz: Maybe even greater. Or a director. Igoe: That morning was crazy. Starting off moderately in 2013 with A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, the company's growth started with the release of Spring Breakers later that year. But I feel that the fact that it was their first film—there was a lot of idealism around the process.
I found it so deep in Google Image searches. And it just kept getting better and better and better.
In 2017, Moonlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture (the first such award for the company), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) while in 2019, a film distributed by A24, The Lighthouse was nominated for Best Cinematography. It was social media. Because they didn’t expect the traffic. “‘Spring Breakers had a whole Oscar campaign: ‘Consider This Shit.’”—Zoe Beyer. ‘Moonlight’ is nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor, but loses Best Picture to ‘La La Land’—wait, what? Fenkel: But it was like, “You’re not going to be 20 minutes late for Scott Rudin.” So you ran. Sacco: We were on our way to the bathroom. , Guggenheim Partners provided the seed money for A24. For instance, an actress. Franco: I remember the South by Southwest festival, the screening—it was like a rock concert. The next day it was like, “Anything’s possible.”. The company also announced that they would also finance and develop pilots. Daniel Katz Co-Founder / Partner. We still don’t. And so with [The Rover], they took that into account, and instead of blowing loads of money, [they did] more targeted marketing and also really sophisticated online campaigns and stuff. So, um, well done, A24! In 2016, A24 expanded into original production with ‘Moonlight.’ It also put out some of its weirder and most singular movies to date: Trey Edward Shults’s micro-budget family drama ‘Krisha;’ ‘Swiss Army Man,’ in which Daniel Radcliffe plays a corpse; and Yorgos Lanthimos’s romantic tragedy, ‘The Lobster.’ In February, Robert Eggers’s ‘The Witch,’ which A24 bought at Sundance for one million dollars, made $40 million and became the company’s highest grossing film to date (‘Moonlight’ has since surpassed it).
I won, I think, L.A. Film Critics and maybe one other. It was our first Sundance all together. Prior to A24, Katz was head of the film-finance group at Guggenheim Partners (“The Social Network,” “Zombieland,” the “Twilight” franchise) and worked with Fenkel at art-house distributor ThinkFilm. You know what?” “Trench coat” was enough.
It made me crack up. Fenkel: And the Spring Breakers trailer dropped the first day of Sundance, and MTV’s servers fucked up, because we gave them the exclusive, and they stopped serving the video. Fenkel: And they were like, “You can’t do that! He’s not gonna be able to do this right now.” Our first release. Kleiner: They had the movie, I want to say, 22, 23 weeks in theatrical release? Daniel Katz (co-founder, A24): We used to always talk about “Oh, there’s gotta be a better way.”.
And we got Best Picture [also for Room]. [Sofia] was like, “Oh, will you at least partner with Harvey?” We were like, “No!”. We all go nuts for a few minutes, and then we’re all like, “Okay, what do we do?”. Fenkel: One thing we notice is now people are saying, “Oh, good job.
And it was like…. Fenkel: In LA, every meeting is about the hot air. That was just acting!” It was not like being in a cinema. But I think in experiences since then, doing mid-budget or relatively low-budget movies, if you try to do a toned-down version of that—I’ve just seen it not work, again and again and again. Your vision is incredible.”. They became better known after picking up the U.S. rights to Ex Machina and Room, and worldwide rights to The Witch, growing substantially since then. If you were paying attention, you had to wonder: Who were these strange upstart New Yorkers who were making Hollywood a little bit great again? Whoa!” Because they’d made a curated, awesome, crafted film. I don’t think it was related to her professional career. And we still have a great relationship now. Ravi Nandan (co-head of TV, A24): Paramount Vantage, which had released, like, There Will Be Blood and a bunch of other movies, was [folded into] Paramount. And we put in Oscar statues in his hands. It’s super inspiring. I remember the thing that got him was like, “Listen. The whole thing was really intense. I felt like we were all on the same team. I just started talking. That was 2013.
They rented some office space in Manhattan. It was millions in one day. Their whole point was, “We don’t know this world.” You were in the A24 offices.
Aizenberg: That first private plane didn’t make it to Austin. And you can really see over the past few years, it really, really hasn’t at all.
I woke up one morning to an e-mail from Daniel that was sent at three in the morning: “Can you go to Pittsburgh?” I come into the office, and there are interns running around like in some crazy factory.
Patrick Stewart (actor, ‘Green Room’): [The premiere of ‘Green Room’] was at the Toronto Film Festival’s Midnight Madness.
A24, the movie production and distribution company started by industry veterans David Frankel, Daniel Katz, and John Hodges — Hodges left the company in 2018 And I think that’s the main thing, I’d say. Fenkel: I’d love to say from the first cut we knew. And I think A24 and companies like that are—you know, people want to go to the cinema. I think we all were kind of a bit shell-shocked. Savvy acquisitions and a bespoke approach film have made his Brooklyn-based company a major player in the indie-film world. And then we drank a huge amount of red wine.
Fenkel: That kind of hit. And, you know, partly as a filmmaker, you’re like, “My God!” I open the curtains when I’m in L.A., and everywhere I see films on billboards. Not like we should have paid more. Sacco: You’re not like, “Oh, we got a Best Picture winner!” You’re just like, “Oh, we got a great movie.”. I kept calling the guy. Daniel Katz Overview Daniel Katz is currently associated with five companies, according to public records. Fenkel: Lenny [Abrahamson, for Room] beats out Ridley Scott! And I think it is down to companies like A24.
Beyer: And respect them and treat them the way they would by any other company. I…I was tasked. See what happens.”. Then he had this very high-tech, nuanced process, which was printing out a spreadsheet, and then when he would book a theater, he would write it down on the spreadsheet, and then when the spreadsheet was full, he’d push it over from his desk to my desk. Larson: I couldn’t be more grateful for an experience that changed the course of my life and career immeasurably. But we said, “Let’s invest in it.” There’s a difference. Barry Jenkins (director, ‘Moonlight’): A24’s the kind of company where they say, “Yeah, they don’t need to know what it’s about.
Did Moonlight just win Best Picture?”. And then there was another one where he’s deep-throating the gun, and we replaced it with a gold statue. Like, standing ovation, fucking applause in the middle of the movie. I mean, I have no idea what they’re doing, really. It’s exciting. Not too often — just enough. The fact that we were able to sign any movies out of that office is absurd.
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