WorldScreenings: Artist View Entertainment


When Scott J. Jones launched Artist View Entertainment back in September 1991, he did so with the aim to establish a fair alternative for independents working in the movie business and has since worked to cultivate the lasting relationships that form the bedrock of much of its dealings today. “I wanted to build a company that was based on repeat business,” says Jones. “Where we sit in the business is, we know the people who make the movies and we know the people who buy the movies. Producers are pretty resilient, and if it’s their passion, they continuously find ways to get their next movie made and the next one after that. My idea was, if I could be a safe home for them always to know they’ve got their distribution in place, that would make my life easier! From one movie to the next, you also hope that their films get better, so the idea was that as their movies got better, we got better product. We wanted to build slowly but surely in that way.”

Indeed, Artist View has solidified its reputation with much repeat business. “We have so many customers who have come back over the years; it’s probably the thing that I’m most proud of,” Jones says. “I have represented ten or more projects from at least eight to ten different production companies.”

He acknowledges that there are a lot of producers who don’t want to have anything to do with the market side of things, and that’s where Artist View comes in. “It’s hard after you’ve spent all that time producing something to have somebody tell you, I know you think it’s worth this much, but it’s worth less than half of that,” says Jones. “It hasn’t been easy, but it’s worked. Who would have thought? My original plan was, let’s see how this goes for one year [laughs].”

Every year has been a milestone, he says, but earning clients’ ongoing business has been an important element in Artist View’s survival. While the company has never had any “big home runs,” it has made it work by hitting “a lot of singles and doubles,” according to Jones. And it has done so on the back of a diverse catalog. “Our ‘niche’ is…we don’t have one,” he says.

“We’ve always had a wide variety of product and genres. To be nimble is to say, I can see that the video business is shrinking and stores are closing, but I see this big uptick in the TV business. We realized that we had to get to know a different marketplace and get ourselves embedded in the TV marketplace so that we could be considered a serious player in that world. You have to pay your dues to become a vendor for a lot of broadcasters.”

Current slate highlights include Saving Paradise, a new acquisition that hits the market just in time for the holidays. The film has a timely storyline, dealing with the importance of small business, determination, love and an inspirational Christmas ending. To Your Last Death is an award-winning animated horror film that is being recognized on the film festival circuit. In it, a supernatural game-master allows Miriam to go back in time and become the sole survivor in a deadly game set up by her angry, revenge-filled father. If she plays the game correctly, she and her siblings will survive, but first, she must endure the worst night of her life. There’s also Here Awhile, starring Pitch Perfect‘s Anna Camp in a dramatic and powerful role.

“The business has become more sophisticated,” says Jones, “and it’s also become more niche-driven. If you look at SYFY, Lifetime and Hallmark, they are looking for a very specific type of programming for their channels. I bought for a video-store chain for ten years, and I realized that you constantly have to have different things available because there are a lot of different tastes in the world.

“Why would I want Artist View to be known as ‘the sci-fi distributor’ or the ‘family movie distributor’ when you could have a certain number of years when one genre could be in vogue and then nobody wants it anymore,” he continues. “Part of our longevity is in having a diverse catalog.”

In the absence of physical markets to attend at the moment, Artist View is focused on increasing its presence in the world of social media and making strategic announcements to the marketplace as it acquires new content. The plan for the year ahead is consistent with the strategy that has gotten Artist View to where it is today. “We will continue to acquire and represent films that we feel have a place in today’s world,” says Jones. “We are also developing projects at a pitch and fully completed script level that we will be presenting to key accounts who prebuy projects.” He adds that production represents “a nice new challenge” at this point in his career.

The core idea in looking ahead is to keep very close to the original business plan of representing titles on behalf of different producers, “which always will be the foundation of the company,” says Jones. “After 30 years of doing this, and building relationships, it seems like now especially is a good time to work on developing scripts and different pitches. It may be the way to help the company grow into a whole other division.”

See Artist View’s Summer 2020 Showcase here.