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Vanessa McMahon


Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)

 


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Interview with late Film CPA Robert Fingerman.

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The team at Filmfestivals.com team is so sorry to hear that Robert just passed away from a sudden heart attack. Condolences to his family and friends.

This below is his last interview.

Film accountant Robert Fingerman is one of the film industry's best known CPA's. He holds multiple titles including: Managing Partner of the New York firm Fingerman & Macke, PC President of Independent Films Production Consultants, Inc., C.F.O. of Veritas Gold LLC and Former Chairman of Entertainment & Sports Committee. His film titles include: American Dresser (production accountant) (post-production), GenRX (production accountant) (pre-production), 2014 Desert Cathedral (accountant), 2014 Obvious Child (accounting services: Independent Film Production Consultants), 2011 The Green (accounting services: Fingerman & Macke - as Robert S. Fingerman CPA), 2010 Henry's Crime (accounting services), 2007 Descent (accounting services). Fingerman attends the American Film Market and Sundance Film Festival every year, among others, and hosts numerous networking events during each festival; he is renown for his altruism and sincere professionalism.

*NOTE-Robert Fingerman passed away only days after I published this interview. As a friend, I am deeply saddened by this news. R.I.P. Robert Fingerman. 

 

I interviewed Robert Fingerman during AFM 2015 about his work during the markets. Here is what he had to say:

 

ME: Can you speak about the tough job of film accounting?

RSF: Yes, By far the most chaotic form of accounting. You are working and answering to non business people, who expect the work to be done yesterday, for a very low fee. The cost of service is more important to producers than quality and competence. Additionally there is a huge difference between what a production “accountant” does and is capable in doing, versus what we do as CPA’s.

ME: Does every film need a film accountant and why?

RSF: Yes, two important reasons: 1- taxes, the IRS considers film a business. 2- investors and crew need yearend tax forms to prepare their own returns. This is true for all films. When you add budget concerns, union issues and tax credits, the need for competent film accountants becomes paramount to the film’s success.

ME: When you attend a market like AFM, what kind of meeting do you have?

RSF: Mostly with filmmakers, directors or writers who have projects that need complete packaging and do not know anything about the business of film, or where to begin. My ability to provide tax and accounting services is deemed an add-on to what I do for filmmakers regarding guidance & coaching.

ME: Many people have mixed feelings about the market this year. How was it for you?

RSF: Very successful, met many new clients, premiered a film I worked on, ran a crowdfunding campaign, had an investor party, networked with at least 50 new members for my “group” and hosted events with over 100 guests.

ME: What have been some of your most recent projects?

RSF: “Obvious Child’, “I’ll See You in My Dreams”, “American Dresser”.

ME: Has there been some projects that were much harder than others?

RSF: Oh yes, each one is an unexpected journey. I am working on projects that have taken over 5 years to produce. Also we seem to attract projects where other accountants have failed and we are hired to fix the mess.

ME: Are there some projects you worked on that you are most proud of?

RSF: Yes, “23 Blast” & “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee”.

ME: You often host famous film related events during the markets. How did you get into that and what is your vision?

RSF: My first Sundance & AFM I had to eat dinner alone, which I do not enjoy, so I started inviting people to join me. For whatever reason, these people said yes, and now my dinner events, luncheons, and pool parties are enormously successful, overbooked, and the feedback I get from guests are always very positive. The vision now is to create an environment where filmmakers can comfortably meet and begin long lasting relationships with other filmmakers, with the hope of receiving help, advice & friendship in their journey as a filmmaker. Not what I intended to do, but these events have a life of their own now. I am just the Sheppard or pied piper.

ME: What will you be working on in the next year?

RSF: Not at liberty to speak about it, but we are super busy in big, super big and small projects.

 

 

-Interview by Vanessa McMahon; posted December 5th, 2015

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