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‘Foxcatcher’ producer enjoying success at young age

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John Shearer/Invision/AP
Megan Ellison arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
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Steve Carell (from left), Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum gather around director Bennett Miller during a shoot for the filming of 'Foxcatcher.'
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Bennett Miller (left) talks with Steve Carell during a break from shooting 'Foxcatcher.'
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Actress Vanessa Redgrave talks with 'Foxcatcher' director Bennett Miller during a break in shooting.
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Channing Tatum (left) and Mark Ruffalo in 'Foxcatcher'
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Steve Carell in 'Foxcatcher'
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Steve Carell in 'Foxcatcher'
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John Shearer/Invision/AP
Megan Ellison arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
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Sony Pictures Classics
Steve Carell (from left), Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum gather around director Bennett Miller during a shoot for the filming of 'Foxcatcher.'
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Sony Pictures Classic
Bennett Miller (left) talks with Steve Carell during a break from shooting 'Foxcatcher.'
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Actress Vanessa Redgrave talks with 'Foxcatcher' director Bennett Miller during a break in shooting.
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Channing Tatum (left) and Mark Ruffalo in 'Foxcatcher'
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Steve Carell in 'Foxcatcher'
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Steve Carell in 'Foxcatcher'

Only 28 years old, film producer Megan Ellison has already founded Annapurna Productions and received three Academy Award nominations for best picture — for the films “Zero Dark Thirty,” “American Hustle” and “Her.”

She is the daughter of Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle Corp. Time magazine named her among the 100 Most Influential People in the world this year.

Ellison’s latest movie, “Foxcatcher,” is set to open Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Film Festival, which runs from Nov. 7 to 22.

Question: What got you interested in the movie business?

Answer: Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved movies, and I wanted to be in charge. I asked myself what I would do different, and I would get mad when a movie didn’t go exactly the way I wanted it to, so I made my career about being in charge.

Q: How does it feel to be successful at such a young age?

A: It’s amazing. I had a head start in the business because of my father, but I still had to work. The success of the movies I have produced is overwhelming, and the awards we have won for them is even more shocking.

Q: How did you get into the movie business?

A: I went to film school for one year and got bored. I didn’t go to class and everything seemed basic and elementary. I knew what I wanted to do, and I was going to do it, but I didn’t want to go to college and sit in a classroom when I could be making movies. In the same time I could have been earning my degree, I was earning awards.

Q: Aspirations for this film?

A: This film is one of my favorite projects I have ever worked on. “Foxcatcher” is a movie with a killer cast and the potential to be a box-office blast. And, quite frankly, I know it will be. The storyline is banging, and it stars Channing Tatum. Girls will be all over that.

Q: How do you expect it to do at the Three Rivers Film Festival?

A: It’s done phenomenal so far, and I expect nothing but the best at this festival, too. It was filmed in the area, so it gives it a sense of home. And, like I said before, it’s a great movie. It has no reason not to do well.

Q: Annapurna?

A: Annapurna is my production company I started a couple years ago and is the company “Foxcatcher” was produced through. So far, we have had amazing success with our movies, and we hope to continue doing so.

Q: Aspirations for Annapurna?

A: We have already come so far in a short amount of time. At this point, I don’t think there is any stopping us. Even though we are independent, I feel like we could become as relevant as any of the huge producing companies, as long as we stick to our values and don’t become overwhelmed with the greed that the industry pushes.

Q: How do you pick the films you want to produce?

A: When we’re deciding on a movie project, it takes a lot for Annapurna to pick it up. It has to hit home to the staff, and we have to be sure that we can make this movie successful. We won’t produce a movie we think a bigger company could do better. And if we don’t feel a connection with it, what’s the point. I have so much pride woven into every movie I worked on, so why dedicate myself to something I don’t believe in, or something I just don’t like?

Q: Super producer?

A: When I first saw that in some Buzzfeed headline, I almost peed my pants laughing. There is nothing super about me, just a girl whose dad has a lot of money and a knack for movies. A cape would be pretty gnarly though.

Q: Where do you want to be in 20 years?

A: I want to produce till the day I die, so I’ll be doing that, but I’m not one to predict the future. Hopefully, (I’ll have) a couple more awards under my belt, and of those who work on movies with me, and happiness. I will keep doing whatever it is I’m doing, as long as it makes me happy. And, so far, I still have a smile on my face.

Emmy Whitehill is a reporter for Point Park News Service.

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