Spotlight on Cinecoup, a New Way to Package, Market & Finance Feature Films

by Bianca Bartz 2 years ago

CineCoup is an innovative 3rd-wave studio model that is disrupting the way independent content is packaged, marketed and financed. Driving the model is a platform that performs the role of a ‘development accelerator’ that not only surfaces the freshest creators, but also enables them to package and build fans for their original projects. The top projects are optioned, financed and distributed across multiple platforms including premium destinations like theatrical chains and television broadcasters.

Partnering with Cineplex, the initial cohort focused on indie film, with the top project receiving $1.5M+ in financing and a guaranteed theatrical release at Cineplex. Urgency to maintain fan engagement is at the core of the model with the entire cycle taking a year. The first film produced through CineCoup was “Wolfcop“, which has become a global cult phenomenon and already been greenlit for a sequel.

“Wolfcop” is the most innovative and impressive feat of film financing and distribution this year – claws down – and, thanks to pure creative genius and brilliant social media engagement, its audience turned into an online cult following before the film was ever released. – Erin Grover (indiewire.com, Aug 3/14)

“For our money, the best Canadian movie of 2014 was “WolfCop”, Lowell Dean’s grindhouse-emulating horror-comedy funded by the promising startup incubator CineCoup… there was no better unexpected treat on homegrown screens this year. – National Post Staff (Dec 29/14)

Expanding quickly into the vertical of prime time television, CineCoup partnered and launched ComedyCoup with CBC in Sept 2014. The final pitch event was held in Whistler in December where two deals from CBC and a feature film deal were secured.

About Founder & CEO J. Joly

From his first part-time job working as a theatre usher on a Canadian Military base in Germany, J. has spent two decades working in media. During his undergraduate at Queen’s University, he recorded two albums outside his classes and toured with international acts. Following graduation, he moved to Toronto, directed award-winning shorts, and worked at every level of production on films and TV.

When he relocated to Vancouver, J. founded the award-winning digital agency dimeRocker, and received investment from Bootup Labs to develop a platform that accelerated the creation of branded second screen strategies for clients that include CBC, Telus, and Disney/ABC.

A leader in his field, J. has spoken on panels including Banff World Media Festival, TIFF, PrimeTime, Pechakucha and NXNE. He co-founded CineCoup in 2012, a disruptive, award-winning studio that received initial backing from GrowLab.

J. currently sits on the board of the Vancouver International Film Festival and is also a National Advisor for the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

Q&A with J. Joly

What’s the most important lesson you learned as part of GrowLab?

I am one of the rare few who have been through two accelerators (Bootup Labs & GrowLab) with two different companies (dimerocker and CineCoup). In terms of my GrowLab experience, I was an accelerator inside an accelerator!

The biggest thing I learned from non-specialized tech accelerators is that the cohorts are small, the overhead is high, and handholding/mentoring must be custom in every case since each company is focused on different models and businesses.

By virtualizing and democratizing the accelerator concept by focusing on a single theme (original 1/2 comedy pilots for television) with a common destination (ie $500K in financing for with a guaranteed prime time broadcast) and common weekly milestones each team must hit, I realized there was a way to apply the concept of an accelerator to many different kinds of businesses outside tech.

ComedyCoup, which was only open to Canadian comedy creators, attracted close to 300 teams in the first cohort. Although we began with media, we are already being approached with opportunities for our accelerator platform in fashion and product design.

What advice can you give other entrepreneurs?

Same advice I give filmmakers: You are entering a world with a 99% failure rate. What are you going to do about it?

What are you working/focused on now?

Now that we have successfully tested and proven the model in Canada in two different verticals (film and TV), we are laser-focused on closing our current pre-series round for key hires and expansion into the US in Q3 2015.

Describe your company culture in 10 words or less.

Work hard. Play Hard. Fail harder.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Expect the unexpected, but whenever possible, be the unexpected… But above all, be brave!

Find J and CineCoup on Twitter: @j_dot_joly | @cinecoup