ABC6 – Dec 25, 2016
As Awards season approaches the Oscars, and titles like ‘Manchester by the Sea’ and ‘Hell or High Water’ advance among Academy’s favorites, international sales and distribution professionals like Alessandro Masi declare that luckily “there’s always going to be demand for independent movies, somewhere and somehow”.
A supporter of innovation for the entertainment industry and passionate business developer, Masi started his career in digital strategy and moved on through film and television financing, production, marketing, acquisitions, international sales and distribution between Milan, Rome, London, New York City, and Los Angeles, where he currently lives.
Alessandro has devised sales strategies for television giants Zodiak and FremantleMedia and leading international film sales outlets Sierra/Affinity, Carnaby International, Myriad Pictures, implemented marketing and distribution strategies for domestic distributors Gathr Films and Cohen Media, conducted digital strategy for major entertainment properties and brands at Italia Brand Group, advised on profitable venture capital financing for digital and entertainment at TMT Advisors, turned around into profit Own Air – one of the first VOD businesses in Europe – while providing market access, advising on financing and acquisitions, developing and implementing wordlwide sales and distribution strategies for quality filmed content engaging audiences with Smart Moviegoing™ experiences with his startup FlexyMovies™.
He has played a critical role monetizing and marketing successfully – attending all the major markets and festivals such as AFM, TIFF, Cannes/Marché, Berlin/EFM, Sundance, AFI Fest, MIPCOM, NATPE, besides events like CinemaCon, CineEurope, NABShow, ComicCon, Licensing Expo –global television successes like ‘Wife Swap’, The Fugitive Chronicles’, ‘American Gods’, ‘The Young Pope’, award-winning and breakthrough box-office hits such as ‘Enter the Void’, ‘Italy: Love It, or Leave It’, ‘Goodbye Solo’, Wendy and Lucy’, ‘Beyond the Mask’, ‘Girl Rising’, ‘Margin Call’, ‘Jeepers Creepers’, ‘Barney Thomson’, ‘Mustang’, ‘Kids in Love’, ‘Rise of the Footsoldier’, and current Oscars contenders like ‘The Salesman’, ‘Hell or High Water’, ‘Captain Fantastic’, ‘Manchester by the Sea’.
According to Masi, “people will want to see movies like ‘Captain Fantastic’ or ‘Manchester by the Sea’ even in 100 years from now, there’s always going to be demand for independent movies, somewhere and somehow. Festivals will continue to play a key role in the game. But the industry has the duty to be less risk-averse, experiment, perhaps fail badly, but get those stories on some kind of – large, small, 5.5-inch, or VR headsets – screen and then find smart ways to reach those audiences. Everything is changing so quickly and flexibility is key. It’s a very exciting time to be in entertainment”.
Masi is also a regular panelist as expert in digital business models and film distribution and a member of the jury assigning the awards at the first and most prominent festival in the world for digital content, the LA Web Fest, as well as at the Rio Web West, Berlin Web Fest, Roma Web Fest, Roma Tre Film Festival, Francofilm.
As a producer overseeing distribution, he was awarded the Italian Golden Globe for best documentary feature in 2013 for ‘Suicide Italy’ and has produced with an award-winning crew a high-concept sci-fi short named ‘Phenomenon’ as transmedia proof-of-concept for feature and series.
Born in Potenza, Italy, he earned a BS in Business Economics from University of Siena with a thesis on movie marketing featuring – thanks to a close collaboration with Sony Pictures – a case study on the marketing strategy for the Spider-Man franchise, an MS in Media Management from Bocconi University with a thesis on business models for web TV which foresees the exponential growth of digital video and SVOD in particular, an MBA from Hult International Business School, and a Certificate in Business of Entertainment from UCLA.
“I think my father is the one to “blame” above anything or anyone else for my attachment to cinema. He is a great connoisseur and lover of the seventh art and owns a huge collection of classic movies that we used to watch at home with my family and we also went often to the movie theatre” says Masi, whose favorite movie is ‘Cinema Paradiso’ because “it was one of the first movies I saw in a theater and I also feel close to its protagonist, Totò, who falls in love with the movies in his childhood and decides to dedicate his life to cinema”.
“I want to keep distributing high quality filmed content and ensure that art makes sense financially. I want to provide people around the world with great entertainment and empower the work of exceptional creatives who are able to make that people have fun, dream, fall in love, and think about society, sometimes, as it happens in ‘Captain Fantastic’, for instance” concludes Masi.