Friday, February 20, 2009

Two if By Sea: Phoenix Business Journal Cover Story on Us

Today we are in "Two if by Sea" a cover story in the Phoenix Business Journal. Thanks Chris!

Friday, February 20, 2009
Unlikely journeys lead to creation of film businesses
Phoenix Business Journal - by Chris Casacchia

Stephanie Houser Silverman embarked on a new career in the movie business during a shipwreck odyssey in the British West Indies.

Carole Bartholomeaux’s job with a New York Times best-selling author led her to a treasure hunter in Australia.

Eventually, both established film production companies in Phoenix.

The two businesswomen took circuitous routes –– filled with tales of shipwrecks and the open seas –– to the film industry. One day, their own stories may end up on the big screen. But for now, they’re working on movies about other people, and they just struck their first major deals.

Silverman’s company, launch flix, finalized an option agreement with Minneapolis-based Lerner Publishing Group for a feature film based on the story of Holocaust survivor Henry Oertelt, author of the award-winning book “An Unbroken Chain: My Journey Through the Nazi Holocaust.”

Oertelt, a Berlin native, was 12 years old when Adolf Hitler came to power. He witnessed the devastation of Kristallnacht, “the Night of Broken Glass,” on Nov. 9, 1938, with his mother and brother. Many consider that night the start of the Holocaust, as Hitler’s troops burned and demolished Jewish businesses, homes and temples and forced the first 30,000 Jews into concentration camps.

Silverman stumbled upon the opportunity to tell Oertelt’s story onscreen during a serious travel predicament.

In September 2006, she sold her firm, launch PR, to Allison & Partners. On March 1, 2007, she embarked on a sailing trip around the world with her husband, Hayden, an avid sailor, and their golden retriever, Celis (named after a Texas beer).

But four months into their voyage, their 42-foot Fountaine Pajot Venezia catamaran, aptly named Plan B, was hit by lightning, wiping out the electrical system, radar, VHF radio and lighting.

Stranded on the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos for three months, Silverman began chronicling their mishap. She rented numerous movies from a store miles inland and read books about screenplays and the film industry in her spare time. The pair’s only real communication with family was via the Internet.

After her husband fixed the boat (the auto pilot had to be shipped back to its manufacturer in France), they continued their journey, traveling to many island nations, including St. Thomas. There, she had a chance encounter with Oertelt’s granddaughter, who told Silverman her grand­father was looking for a screenwriter.

In June 2008, the couple sold their boat in the Virgin Islands. Two months later, Silverman returned to the U.S. and opened the downtown Phoenix office of launch flix.

Oertelt’s screen adaptation is in development. The company is scouting locations in Europe and looking for talent and investors.

“My main concern is putting out a great film on the lowest budget possible,” said Silverman, who also is working on a screenplay dubbed “Plan B.”

Independent movie budgets can range from $2 million to $12 million.

1 comment:

  1. The Boston Business Journal also picked up this story -