Ηe has a hawkish eye for talented filmmakers with fresh voices, and a good nose for tracking down stories that are both smart, and profitable in the international market.
Jonathan Bell is a new-gen exec who parlayed his filmmaker relationships to a logical segue into personal management: Blackstone Artists Management.
A management and production company, Blackstone takes a two pronged approach. They cross-pollinate their clients with their slate of projects. Projects that are developed in the Blackstone Co-Lab: TV series; feature films; video blogs; documentaries; and live “experiential events”.
An example of the “nouvelle concept ” category – precisely what venture capital firms are searching for. VC companies recognize that Blackstone can’t be duplicated or cloned.
Immune from extrinsic market sector changes. Risk is (smartly) amortized and spread over diverse content sectors, and a long list of projects . . . content with universal appeal, made for every international territory.
Blackstone has a high barrier, that surrounds and protects the company, and a low cash burn-rate. Offering a long runway for company growth and expansion.
International demand for content is skyrocketing due to the massive need to fill more-and-more digital pipelines. Content is king, and Blackstone is the international content factory.
Bell has a solid reputation as a steadfast champion for talented creators, and true to his Asian business roots, a loyal team-player.
Blackstone is a “we” culture. He said, “So many people are involved in the making of a movie or TV show. If you want to be singled out – write a book”.
In an industry where discourtesy and double-talk have reached the level of an art form, Jonathan Bell has come to represent a new breed. He has quietly gained a reputation as a straight shooter.
Smart, film literate, savvy and impeccably polite. Not to mention, a refreshing aversion to personal publicity.
Hollywood is changing, technologies are evolving, and Bell is in perfect harmony with this new era. He’s aggressive to be sure, but in a way that makes you smile.
At Fuji he changed the culture — from the old transaction centric business model, to a forward-looking, relationships-based, team first approach. Profits skyrocketed. From numbers on a spreadsheet — to life-long clients, and life-long friendships.
This is how he turned things around, and built a formidable success. Fuji is one of the great success stories in the evolving digital era. The Japanese conglom flourishes with a slate of new streaming and digital innovations, a bigger financing footprint in worldwide entertainment, and an enormous IP portfolio.
“At Blackstone, we support established creators, who have a body of meaningful work. Work that earns the trust, earns the attention, and builds a bond with their international audience. Work that always matters, but is never boring”, Bell noted with a smile.
When asked about his personal tastes he said, “Taking our audience to the extremes of human experience. And emotion … authentic emotion is the new punk rock. Very unpopular with the intelligencia. Taking our audience through an emotional experience, and leaving them with a big idea.”
Known for his eclectic mix of pals – (like photographer Lauren Lovette; Brandalism street-artist ‘Shrink’; and Hong Kong film director Chuan Lu) – Bell feels at home in the Venice street-art scene; the Los Feliz cine-geek dives; and the office suites of Beverly Hills.
When we chat about our new favorite TV shows, he reminds me of a kid rummaging through a trunk of new toys. Refreshing. Optimistic. Think Harmony Korine, with an MBA.
Blackstone – a new shingle with a trending upside.
Tara Rosenberg / Newsly Film