by Edwin L. Carpenter, Editor - The Dove Foundation
Rick Eldridge, producer, has a long list of
credits to his name including
Running the Sahara,
The Ultimate Gift, and
Crippled Lamb. He not only has been the driving force behind some
outstanding films, but he has nurtured some talent along the way. Rick chatted
with us recently and shared some insight into the difficult task of raising
funds to make movies and helping to develop talent along the way.
We began our interview with Rick with this
question: what advice would you give to young producers just breaking into the
“I think it’s really important to number one,
network. You hear about people all the time who find a group of friends
and do a student film or do a project together, but it requires interacting and
networking with others. Your film is not a solo project ever. You can do
a solo album with your guitar and sing some songs but not be a band. There are
not too many people who can make solo movies. It is a collaborative effort, so I
think networking with people of like-minded spirit, thought, passion, idea and
being able to collaborate on a project together is really the best way to do it
at whatever level.”
Rick said this applies to student level films
with semi-pro home video set-ups or “if it’s a 35 mm shoot with some money.
Telling stories is a creative process that requires a collaborative effort.
There are so many things that have to happen to make a product at whatever
level. I always say great people make great product, and when they collaborate
it gets even better.”
We asked Rick to comment about Running the
Sahara being up for a Crystal Dove Seal Award and he said, “I was happy to
hear about that!” He won a Crystal Dove Seal a year ago for The Ultimate
We wanted to know how difficult it is for
producers to find production funds with the economy being what it is today, and
Rick replied, “It is tough. We work very closely with studios on a lot of our
products that provide a minimum guarantee or a guarantee upon delivery, and then
typically that’s something that you would say would be bankable. With a major
studio you could take that (guarantee) to a bank and they would give you a loan
against it. That’s not so true anymore. Banks are tight and they’re very careful
with their lending practices as we all know, in whatever industry it is, and it
makes it a lot more difficult.
“Private equity money is the same thing. People
just don’t have the same amount of discretionary income with the market the way
it’s been. So it is difficult. We have to be much more creative in the way we do
things. We have to look at bringing things in maybe with a little less money.
It’s a challenge but we’re still committed to telling great stories so we’ll
find a way.”
Dove wanted to know what film Rick might have
recently viewed which he personally liked. “Probably the one that stands out to
me most, and it was on an Academy list this year and I tried to get it nominated
because I liked it, was one of those obscure films that didn’t quite make at
least the political run,
Boy in the Striped Pajamas (which received our
Dove “Family-Approved” Seal).
“That, I thought, was just a dynamic film. I
think the relationships the kids had with one another, with no pretense, was
great and it was just a great film. My wife and I both certainly love the Jewish
people and anything that deals with content in that way (a respect for life). I
think it’s something we kind of gravitate to. It’s a powerful film.”
He appreciated the innocence of the children in
the film and that it is a story that crosses racial and cultural lines. “There’s
an unconditional love there that’s pretty amazing” said Rick.
Rick also has nurtured new and raw talent. He
Dog Days of Summer and backed a new talent named Mark
Freiburger, the writer/director.
“Mark Freiburger has been someone we’ve kind of
watched grow up. He went to school in my hometown of Charlotte. His oldest
sister went to school with my daughter.”
Rick produced Dog Days of Summer and
predicts a bright future for Mark, whom he says has a lot of talent.
Rick Eldridge believes in grooming talent for
the future and The Dove Foundation recently interviewed Mark Freiburger, and his
interview will be posted here on our website very soon.
Rick Eldridge has experienced a lot of ups and
downs with more than twenty films to his credit. He has found ways to produce
movies in the good and difficult times. And his eye is fixed on helping up and
coming talent. He is a man who gets things done and knows how to collaborate.
The film industry is blessed to have his vision.
Read Dove's Review of "Dog
Days of Summer"