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 the projects that are developed in the Blackstone Co-Lab: TV series; feature films; video blogs; music videos and live entertainment.
A perfect example of the “nouvelle concept ” category – precisely what venture capital firms are searching for. These VC companies recognize that Blackstone can’t be duplicated or cloned.
Immune from extrinsic market sector changes, Blackstone has a moat, a high barrier, that surrounds and protects the company. Not to mention . . . a low cash burn-rate, and the skyrocketing worldwide demand for IP to fill more-and-more digital pipelines.
Bell has a solid reputation as a steadfast champion for talented filmmakers, 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 video 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 through an emotional experience, and leaving them with a big idea. Taking them to the extremes of human experience. And emotion … authentic emotion is the new punk rock. Very unpopular with the intelligencia.”
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