- October 17, 2005
FOOTHILL CELEBRATES ITS 5TH ANNIVERSARY AT MIPCOM 2005
(Cannes--October 17) Co-production and distribution house Foothill Entertainment, Inc. celebrates its fifth anniversary at this year's MIPCOM. Launched in September 2000 by television industry veterans Jo Kavanagh-Payne and Gregory Payne, Foothill specializes in children's and family entertainment programming.
"To be honest, there were times when I was not sure we would last this long," laughs Foothill President Jo Kavanagh-Payne. "Seriously, being an independent in this marketplace is definitely hard work. But being independent does allow us to focus on projects and clients that we truly believe in."
Kavanagh-Payne, who spent 16 years in the television distribution business in her native England, came to the US in 1995 to set up an American office for Link Entertainment (now part of Entertainment Rights plc). "One of the things that the past five years has taught us is that, while you can learn from your mistakes in this business, there still is no substitute for experience. That asset has carried us through many difficult situations."
This sentiment is echoed by Foothill Chairman, Gregory Payne. "After spending 15 years handling the legal and business affairs for DIC Entertainment, I assumed I had seen it all when it came to production and distribution deals. I quickly found out that it is a whole different ballgame when it is your own company making the deals!"
Prior to setting up Foothill, Payne was Executive Vice President-Legal and Business Affairs for DIC Entertainment, a position he came to after having practiced corporate law in New York City and Washington D.C. for 10 years. "One of the things that is truly rewarding about working for oneself is the satisfaction of seeing something build and grow through your own hard work. And believe me, there is a lot of hard work that goes into it!"
Both Payne and Kavanagh-Payne admitted that despite the late nights and all-encompassing aspects of running your own business, neither would want it any other way. Says Kavanagh-Payne, "Greg and I both love the kids' business.
This makes coming to the markets a lot more enjoyable despite the long hours and weeks of preparation. Being able to meet with colleagues and friends under our own banner is a real bonus. However, having a small company does not mean that professionalism and integrity come second. On the contrary, is it the most important thing for us."
At this market, in addition to its catalogue of completed programs, Foothill will be showcasing its two major producer-clients, Phew!! TV from the UK and phuuz entertainment inc. from the US. The Company has already had properties from each of those studios optioned and developed by Warner Bros. Animation: Food Chain in the case of Phew!! and Kid Kaiju from phuuz. They have had similar success in other areas for these clients.
Phew!! property Me and My Shadow is currently set up and being developed as an Australia/Ireland co-production while the phuuz property Special Delivery is being piloted in Quebec by well-respected gaming producer, Sarbakan. In addition, Foothill is hoping to make major announcements for the phuuz property Iconicles and the Phew!! property Snapper during MIPCOM.
With a lot of their programmes at the development stage, the pair spends a lot of time with the creatives on their projects. Currently with more than 25 projects at various stages of development, the Company believes it is well positioned. "Obviously we are looking for that one big hit that will carry us forward. Nevertheless, we are still proud of how far we have come since the original idea of Foothill started back in 2000 around out kitchen table," says Payne. Based in Santa Barbara, California, the Company enjoys the proximity to the entertainment industry hub in Los Angeles, but being slightly outside the centre allows them to keep things in perspective.
"We are certainly looking forward to the next 5 years. We have a number of very strong properties and really talented producers from all around the world that we represent. The best part about this business is that you never know which one will take off. That's what makes our jobs interesting!" says Kavanagh-Payne.
The Company will be screening at MIPCOM Junior and will attend MIPCOM as a participant.
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Contact: Jo Kavanagh Payne
Gregory B. Payne
Tel: +1 805 965 4488
Contact at MIPCOM: Grand Hotel Tel:  (04) 9 33 81 54 5
Mobile in France 0610 327 019
Jo Kavanagh-Payne US Mobile: +1 805 637 6054
Gregory B Payne US Mobile: +1 805 637 3280