This month, the International Cinematographers Guild asked me to take a look at Focus Features, the company behind Brokeback Mountain, Milk and Lost in Translation, among others.

Milk/Photo by Phil Bray

Finding Focus

Few studios/distributors get more out of the Sundance Film Festival than Focus Features.

“The caliber of films they pick up is very in line with the films we launch,” says John Cooper, the festival’s director. “In past years they have acquired more films than they have premiered.” At the 2010 festival, Focus acquired The Kids Are All Right ($24,616,279, global box office), and premiered It’s Kind of a Funny Story($6,363,628).

Focus was created in 2002 after a three-way merger between Good Machine, USA Films and Universal Focus. Today, it operates as the “art house” division of Universal Pictures, producing and distributing its own titles and distributing foreign films, as well. Though its releases are hardly formulaic, the company’s business model ensures its success at festivals like Sundance and in the larger marketplace. Continue reading


For more of my writing on film, click here.