The 2011 Ten to Watch: Anthony Leo & Andrew Rosen
Each year, Playback puts out a call for the industry to recommend its best and brightest
up-and-coming talent for our 10 to Watch list. With over 100 nominations this year, including only 10 seemed impossible — virtually every nominee deserved to be on the list. The selection represented here is the culmination of careful consideration by Playback’s editorial jury, in association with film, TV and interactive industry execs and organizations. Having already made a splash, these talented 10 are poised for great things.
Anthony Leo & Andrew Rosen / producers
Hometowns: Leo: Caledon, ON; Rosen: Toronto
Company: Aircraft Pictures
Upcoming projects: The River of Blood, Hiding and Love Me and a project with Corvid Pictures. The duo are also in development on projects with Family Channel and CBC
The buzz: Leo and Rosen met at the CFC Producers Lab in 2002; Rosen was working at Alliance Films and Leo as an actor. Sharing a common passion for the TV biz, the partners launched Aircraft in 2005 with the help of private investors. Out of the first shorts they produced, Todd & The Book of Pure Evil*, eventually evolved into a show on CTV’s Space channel. Todd generated eight Gemini nominations this year and Aircraft’s What’s Up, Warthogs! is entering its sophomore season for Family Channel.
What attracts you to a project from an investment perspective?
We get excited by projects with a big picture in mind — stories that have a world rich enough to start out as a television series but also sustain another part of the story being told as a string of feature films and another part being told as a web series. We would rather have five projects with that amount of potential in development than 20 separate projects each with a limited scope.
In what ways are you hoping to evolve Aircraft Pictures as a business?
It’s a very interesting time to be a content producer. On the one hand, the prospect of being part of the first generation of producers to have this many platforms on which to launch their content is very exciting, but on the other hand the fear is that more platforms will amount to less financing to make the content we really want to make. Our current business model for Aircraft involves continuing to take advantage of traditional financing models for television and feature film projects while staying as nimble as a possible as a company so we can always take on a project for the digital space if we believe in it — even if the financing and revenue potential is not so apparent at the outset.
What are the key ingredients to a successful youth property?
One of our biggest mantras would have to be never dumbing-down content, whether you’re creating programming for a nine-year-old girl or a 35-year-old guy. We’ve been fortunate to work with broadcasters who have always encouraged us to push boundaries, which has allowed us to take the risks we needed to in order to make something fresh while remaining true to the situation.
Editor’s note: In the print edition of this story, Playback incorrectly stated that Todd had been green-lit for a third season. Playback regrets the error.