Justin Berfield (Reese) has for the past few years been working with Jason Felts to run his own production company for TV and films, J2TV. It was announced today that J2TV will close its doors and Justin and Jason will lead a new TV and film production company, Virgin Produced, with the backing of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.
LOS ANGELES, July 30, 2010 – Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group announced today the launch of Virgin Produced, a film and television development, packaging and production company which has entered into a joint venture with Relativity Media’s Rogue Pictures to develop, produce and market films.
The Los Angeles-based Virgin Produced is led by former J2TV / J2 Pictures producers Jason Felts and Justin Berfield. Felts serves as Chief Executive Officer, overseeing the company’s entire operation, and Berfield, Chief Creative Officer, will oversee the development team.
“For 40 years, Virgin has pushed the envelope.” Felts said. “At Virgin Produced, we look to break some old molds while providing talent a place where they know their work will be embraced and supported. With Rogue’s boundary breaking approach and Virgin’s entrepreneurial strength, the brands are perfectly suited for each other. We’ve got a great opportunity to provide a collaborative experience and produce amazing results.”
“Virgin has always been about doing it your way, expressing oneself through innovation,” said Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh. “It dares to be different. We believe that their approach to film is suited to do just that and pairing the Virgin and Rogue brands together to create innovation couldn’t be more natural.”
Deemed one of the most exciting brands in the world, with a culture of innovation and fun across its diverse range of businesses, Virgin’s mission is clear: to enter markets with opportunities to shake things up and offer a better experience.
“Entertainment has long been a focus of the Virgin brand, and I’m excited for the chance to further grow in this space,” said Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson. “Jason and Justin’s approach is very entrepreneurial, very Virgin. We share a passion for creating and nurturing communities of talent and fresh material. The Rogue and Virgin brands seem an obvious fit for each other.”
In addition to developing and producing original films, it is anticipated that Virgin will co-produce two to three motion pictures a year with Relativity/Rogue, which allows the studio to utilize Virgin’s marketing capabilities to reach millions of consumers within the Virgin and Rogue target audience. The first film is Peter Farrelly’s Movie 43.
“There is real opportunity to provide a great, collaborative experience for talent to hone and shape their ideas and to reach a valuable, cutting-edge, media-hungry audience that enjoys interacting with the Virgin brand,” said Berfield. “We look forward to working with the Virgin family to strategically tap into the vast Virgin network of loyal brand fans, allowing Virgin Produced projects to be enjoyed by a broad audience.”
The relative stability and certainty of the production world, compared to being an actor, has been something that Justin has cited in the past for why he was always interested in the production side of the TV and film worlds. This new venture, with the big-gun backing of the Virgin Group, seems to be consistent with that.
But it seems there is more to this than merely getting a big brand behind Justin and Jason’s business — the marketing copy refers to innovation a lot, even wanting to “break the corrosive mould” of how ‘Old Hollywood’ works. The company seems keen to want to connect directly with talent and create community around it, in a way that perhaps really is different to the way that many production companies are run today. It will certainly be interesting to see how this vision of doing things differently evolves as Virgin Produced gets into its first projects.
Virgin Produced is a new kind of production company. One that is creative, not controlling. One that refuses to cut corners and doesn’t use money to buy your love. One that has faith in its projects. Virgin Produced very simply has balls, and we’re not afraid to show them. In fact, we’re gonna go ahead and apologize ahead of time. You might see our balls. Our bad.
We will certainly be following this new development as we hear more!
As one of the youngest CEOs within the Virgin Group of companies, producer Jason Felts was born in 2002 (everyone knows you don’t give your real age in this town). At the ripe age of 2, in Hollywood years, he and his business partner Justin Berfield co-founded J2 Pictures & J2TV proving quickly to have a keen eye for concept, story and talent. More importantly was their priority of fostering a creative environment for writers, directors and actors. First out of the gate was some trainwreck reality tv and then ROMANCE & CIGARETTES, the John Turturro motion picture in which they co-produced and helped finance. Not a bad bet, since the film starred James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Christopher Walken and others. As J2, Felts then went on to package and produce a few more films and television including FOX’s latest Sunday night sitcom, SONS OF TUCSON. Although the show was highly regarded by the critics, it was ultimately cancelled as good shows often are. Don’t worry, Jason dusted himself off, had a shot and is now leading the Virgin charge into Hollywood.
Actor/Producer Justin Berfield starred in or has produced over 250 episodes of television before he even grew a whisker. That’s right, we’re talking six shows before puberty. As an actor, Justin is best known for portraying the role of the rebellious ‘Reese’ on FOX’s Emmy Award winning series MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE. In 2004, Justin moved behind the camera, co-founding J2 Pictures & J2TV with his much goofier-looking producing partner. Together, they created and executive produced several unscripted pilots and series including E! Entertainment’s FILTHY RICH: CATTLE DRIVE starring Kourtney Kardashian, Animal Planet’s THE PET DETECTIVE, and CMT’s IN THE PITS starring Nascar’s Richard Petty. Oh yeah, and although you could say TV is within Justin’s DNA, he has produced a few films as well. As Chief Creative Officer at Virgin Produced, Justin watches over the brand and ensures that we don’t produce DRIVING MISS DAISY 2.
As the Chief Calculator, Ted Vidmar, CPA graduated Magna Cum Laude from some fancy college that makes us all look rather stupid. This is why Ted and his team of certified public accountants oversee all things financial and strategic. If Ted sounds important, well that’s because he is.
Virgin’s main legal eagle, Darin Frank is around to keep us creative types on the straight and narrow. No, he is not exclusively ours, because he has his own practice and a much fancier office somewhere in Beverly Hills. Besides, if he was, it would cost a friggin’ fortune because this guy is Chair of his firm’s entertainment department, and represents lots of others who probably pay him more than we do. He did go to law school at UC Berkeley but we’ll forgive him for that.
Rebecca, aka The Glue, serves as Director of Operations for Virgin Produced. She’s the adhesive that keeps this place together. Rebecca oversees every aspect of everything that’s important and nobody messes with her, mainly because she is a former rugby player from back east. Prior to joining Virgin Produced, Rebecca worked for J2TV & J2 Pictures where she did the same job without the business card to prove it.
We looked around and no company has an online profile on their assistants, and we think that is just rude. After all, everyone knows that they do everything. Our incredibly talented, sexy (can we say that?) and hardworking support team consists of some wonderful individuals that you will meet when we invite you over!