Get to know Streamline Global CEO Emily Hunter Salveson
If you didn’t already know business developer Emily Hunter Salveson, you’ve been missing out! As the CEO & Founder of Streamline Global, Emily Hunter Salveson is an innovator with a passion for film & finance. Throughout her career she’s worked with legendary Hollywood stars like Queen Latifah & Christian Convery, while setting out a new standard for filmmakers.
Emily Hunter Salveson has also brought a new “financial model for the film industry” alongside her business partner Ryan Donnell Smith. In fact, their motion picture & finance company Streamline Global has brought excellent films like The Pale Blue Eye. She’s also co-executive produced the Oscar-nominated film The Trial of the Chicago 7 and is excited to release her latest inspiring family-friendly film The Tiger Rising.
But today, Emily Hunter Salveson took a moment from her rising production company to share more about her career and what mega films are in store. Let’s take a look!
You’re the proud CEO & Founder of Streamline Global. How did your film journey begin?
About six years ago, I set out to solve a seemingly unsolvable problem – the business model of the entertainment industry was not fair and transparent enough for creatives and investors and I wanted to improve upon it. Film finance should be just as fair, transparent, and reasonable as finance is in any other industry.
I come from a long line of financial industry disruptors; my grandfather, Melvin Salveson, invented and patented the credit card and created the Electronic Currency Corporation and MasterCharge, which later became MasterCard. My great-grand uncle, Gerald Loeb, was known as “The Wizard of Wall Street” in the 1920s & 1930s and is famous for getting all of his clients out of the stock market before it crashed in 1929 and writing bestselling books about how to invest safely.
I decided it was time for me to disrupt too, so I paced my apartment for about 3 months, writing ideas on poster boards on my closet doors and reading book after book by famous venture capitalists, and eventually created the model on which Streamline Global is based. I still have those poster boards – they are so special to me and remind me of what we’ve built.
Since our inception, Streamline has financed 29 feature films, with 11 of them in 2020. Most recently, my business partner Ryan Donnell Smith and I financed a portion of the equity for The Trial of the Chicago 7. I am honored and beyond excited to be a Co-Executive Producer on a film that is nominated for 6 Academy Awards.
In your opinion, what is Streamline Global’s mission?
Streamline Global’s mission is to provide fair & transparent financing for feature films that inspire positive forward motion for humanity. We strive to empower both investors and creatives, and to value right brain and left brain persons wholly and individually. We believe there is great power and responsibility in producing content that is consumed by minds and hearts around the world, and we hold ourselves accountable for uplifting global consciousness whenever and wherever possible with the messages we choose to finance, produce, and share.
What has been like working with filmmakers from Cross Creek Pictures?
Cross Creek Pictures has been and continues to be an inspiration and an absolute dream to work with. Tyler Thompson and his team have impeccable taste and creative vision, and we are so honored to do our part to make their creative vision come to life.
Have you always wanted to work on the financial side of film?
It actually took me some time to learn what I wanted to be and do. My father is a tax attorney and my mother is a brilliant painter and singer, so I grew up with strong right and left brain influences. Before I found my calling, I tried my hand at banking (too dry), wardrobe styling (much harder physical labor than it appears to be), and screenwriting (deeply nourishing but too solitary for my extroverted personality).
It took me all of my 20s to realize that working on the business side of a creative industry gives me the perfect balance that fulfills both sides of my personality. I absolutely love my clients, Streamline Global, and what I do. I love that I get to wake up in the morning and run a company with one of my best friends, my business partner Ryan Donnell Smith, who, as President and Partner, runs the film side of Streamline Global.
What’s your goal in the film industry?
My goal in the film industry is to change lives with the messages we share and to make the entertainment industry a safer, more diverse, and more equitable place to live, work, and play. I am here to shake things up and replace Hollywood’s ego-driven business model with one that comes from the heart and mind.
There are three types of investments: right brain, left brain, and ego-based. Right brain investors are patrons of the arts – they live and breathe art and support creatives whether or not there is a clear profit motive. Left brain investors are in the industry for a clear return on investment. They don’t care about glitz and glamour, and they aren’t moved by passion pitches. They want transparent and accurate descriptions of their investments, profit potential, and risk, and they make decisions logically and unemotionally.
Ego-based investors often masquerade as right-brain investors. They say they love the arts, and they may, but they love fame and power just as much, if not more. So much of the inequity in Hollywood is caused by allowing the wrong people to hold the purse strings. By making film investment sensible and unemotional, Streamline Global naturally dissuades ego-based investors from spreading their toxicity in our industry.
Our clients have a mix of right and left brain traits – they are logical, compassionate, and reasonable, and they enjoy being involved in the creative aspects of film. We take great pride in deterring ego-based investors from Hollywood and attracting good people to our industry.
Are you a member of any film communities?
I’m a social butterfly, so during the pandemic it has been challenging to get my fix of quality human interaction. I’ve recently joined clubhouse and have really enjoyed speaking on panels and connecting with other financiers, producers, executives, and creatives.
In particular, I love the “Hollywood Insiders” group with Sally Colón-Petree, on which I am a moderator Sunday nights at 7 pm PST. I would love to collaborate with more Clubhouse creators by moderating additional panels on film, finance, leadership, and other related topics.
Tell us about the film The Tiger Rising. What was the inspiration behind it?
The Tiger Rising was written twenty years ago and stands the test of time. It is a moving story of heartache and the triumph of the human spirit. Like the tiger in the novel, we all live in cages from which only compassion and love can free us. The film asks us to discover our own metaphorical cages and free ourselves from them. With this film, we hope to touch lives around the world.
What was it like working with the Queen of Hollywood – Queen Latifah?
Queen Latifah is a true queen!! She’s genuine and kind – the type of pure soul whose mere presence just makes you exhale all of your worries away. The first time I met her, I was struck by how down-to-earth and cool she is. She just puts you at ease, and that’s such a beautiful quality for a person to have.
She also showed up 100% in her highest and best self on set, and brought her character to life in a way I can’t imagine anyone else doing. Her performance in one particular scene with Christian Convery (who is also unbelievably talented) is so moving that it always makes me cry, and I’m not a crier. She’s just masterful. We would love to continue to make films in the future with her.
What do you want the audience to take away from The Tiger Rising?
I would love for the audience to be inspired to feel and integrate their feelings and grow through self-discovery. In the film, characters experience significant yet repressed grief from challenges in their lives, and only when they confront and work through that grief do they truly heal and move forward, unburdened. We live in such a fast-paced world. If people took more time for self-reflection and inner healing, our world would be a better, calmer, kinder place. I hope our film is a gentle reminder of that.
What projects are you currently working on?
We have an abundance of exciting projects on our slate! I raised a portion of the financing for The Trial of the Chicago 7, on which I am a Co-Executive Producer. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin, and we could not be more thrilled to be a part of the film.
We also just received fantastic news on The Pale Blue Eye, which we funded as part of our multi-picture development deal with Cross Creek Pictures. Starring Christian Bale and directed by Scott Cooper, The Pale Blue Eye was just sold for a record-setting price of $55M to Netflix at the EFM (European Film Market) and will be produced in-house by Netflix later this year.
We recently announced Alec Baldwin as our lead in our blockbuster action film called Supercell, which is a nail-biting thriller about storm chasing, directed by Herbert James Winterstern and produced in-house at Streamline Global with Thomasville Pictures and Short Porch Pictures. Highland Film Group will distribute.
Our thriller One Way, starring Kevin Bacon, Machine Gun Kelly, Travis Fimmel, Rhys Coiro, Drea de Matteo, and Storm Reid, just shot last month in Thomasville, GA. Streamline financed One Way with Thomasville Pictures and Short Porch Pictures producing, and Highland Film group is distributing.
Streamline Global is so excited about our two picture deal that Deadline recently announced with JFI Productions on our psychological thrillers Awake and Sweet Dreams. Streamline Global has a collaboration on two projects with Superplastic that we’re very excited about.
Our family film The Tiger Rising with Queen Latifah, Dennis Quaid, Katharine McPhee, Sam Trammell, Madalen Mills, and Christian Convery will be out soon!
What has been your biggest challenge in the film industry?
I think as an industry, our biggest collective challenge is to create greater opportunities and an equal playing field for women, BIPOC, the LGBTQIA+ community, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups that I haven’t mentioned here. The proverbial “boys club” is so passé – it feels like a relic from yesteryear.
Diverse voices are needed in our world, and what better way to showcase them than through the art of filmmaking, where they can be shared across the planet? The best way to be an ally is to understand that there is room for everyone. When we open our hearts and industries to all people, we not only unlock more of our personal potential, but our collective financial potential as well.
What was it like being featured in Variety magazine?
Being featured in Variety was a dream come true. I am and will always be so deeply grateful to Dave McNary for his kindness and generosity in helping me find my voice and start my career. Here we are now, 5 years and 29 films later, validated as one of the leading finance companies in Hollywood. Dave was a brilliant journalist and wonderful human being, and I’m humbled by his early recognition of the power of our model. I was devastated to hear of his passing, and would like to extend my most heartfelt condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.
You’ve won many awards, but what’s your biggest success?
I’m fortunate to have been involved in so many amazing projects, but I think the moment I paid my parents back for college was one of my most meaningful successes. We were at a Seth MacFarlane Christmas concert (I’m a HUGE Seth MacFarlane fan and would love to work with him) and I said to my dad, “We’re even now,” and he laughed and gave me a big hug and told me how proud of me he is.
You’ve met a lot of talented people at various film festivals, which meeting was the most eventful?
I adore the film festival circuit and get so much joy from seeing friends and meeting new and incredible colleagues at the Cannes Film Festival, EFM in Berlin, and TIFF in Toronto. However, my most memorable meeting was actually outside the normal film festival circuit at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
I had so many life changing experiences there. One in particular was with my dear friends at the Wall Street Journal at the “Journal House,” which is the WSJ’s Davos Headquarters. There, I was humbled and honored to meet with Ajay Banga, the CEO of MasterCard, who emphatically shook my hand and praised my grandfather and his achievements and innovations as the original inventor of the technology behind the credit card and the founder of MasterCard’s predecessors, MasterCharge and the Electronic Currency Corporation. Ajay and I spoke about data philanthropy and how to continue my grandfather’s legacy and change the world using data for good. He said that my grandfather would be so proud of me for continuing his legacy and it was such a beautiful and meaningful moment in my life.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
My dad has always told me, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” I graduated from college into the Great Recession and spent my 20s trying to figure out what I wanted to be. My plan was to go to law school, but during the recession, I didn’t feel comfortable taking on massive student loan debt. I’m so glad things turned out the way they did, because I am so fulfilled and in love with my career and I don’t think I would have been if the plans my 17-year-old self made had worked out.
My great-grand uncle Gerald Loeb told my dad, “Don’t fall in love with your investments,” and he passed the same wisdom along to me. I find that when I look at my investments objectively and without emotion, I make better decisions that lead to higher profit and overall success.
You’ve produced many films. Do you see yourself ever producing TV shows in the future?
I would love to produce TV if the right opportunity presented itself. Film is more familiar to me, but because the opportunity to produce TV for streaming platforms is so much greater than it was, we are looking into episodic content where we couldn’t before.
Do you know of any indie filmmakers that should be on our radar?
Andrew Baird is an Irish director who just directed our film, One Way, starring Kevin Bacon and Machine Gun Kelly. I was fortunate enough to watch him in action on set in Georgia last month, and his artistic vision, understanding of light and color, and attention to detail are just stunning. I’m so eager to see the final cut!
Herbert James Winterstern is directing our film, Supercell. He’s a real life storm chaser and an enthusiastic, charismatic kind of guy. I truly cannot wait to see what he brings to the big screen. We send each other storm photos back and forth on Instagram and it makes my day every time.
My dear friends Mia Baker and Mackenzie Munro at Blonde Mamba are exceptionally gifted and hardworking producers and creatives. I follow everything they do. I am a fan of the work they are doing with The Pink Tax and Anonymous Content, and they just optioned R.J. Hernández’s book, An Innocent Fashion, which the inimitable Kari Skogland (Falcon & the Winter Soldier) is producing with them. I’d love to collaborate with Mia, Mack, and Kari in the future.
Do you have any tips for upcoming film producers?
Find a mentor who inspires you. It’s incredibly meaningful to me to be an inspiration to young women and girls. I have been blessed with such caring and supportive mentors along the way, like Elizabeth Masterton, the Co-Founder of Crystal Arrow Productions and former Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs at Twentieth Century Fox. I look up to her so much – she is a super mom and a super woman, and I aspire to be that type role model for young women.
When I was starting out, Elizabeth gave me the best advice in the industry that I could have received at that time, “It’s show biz, not show art.” I was so focused on my creative vision that I hadn’t given proper consideration to the merits of my work as an investment. Representation is so important, and I will never forget her kindness in the early days of Streamline in taking time out of her busy schedule (running a studio!!!) to cook dinner for us, sit me down on her couch, and listen patiently to my incipient ideas and help me shape my career. Once I started thinking about film as an investment and a business, I started making headway.
She also told me to choose projects that have “pre-awareness,” or projects that are based on pre-existing material, such as books and graphic novels, because there is a built-in audience that will increase the financial success of the film. This advice has served me and Streamline well. It is that quiet, simple kindness that I love to pay forward, because encouraging the next generation of women to follow their dreams and teach them how to achieve them only sets all our whole world up for success.
Who are your biggest filmmaking influences?
I love films that have a strong and distinctive world. Some of my favorite films of all time are Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and Star Wars trilogies because my dad and I used to watch them together when I was a kid. The magic and grandeur of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is unbeatable. Lawrence of Arabia is the most majestic and impressive film I’ve ever seen from a visual and production standpoint. Clueless is forever iconic. I would love to make a Spielberg-esque franchise in the future.
What have you been binge watching on Netflix recently?
I’m obsessed with Bridgerton – Shonda Rhimes is a genius and Regé-Jean Page steals the show. My friends and I can’t stop exclaiming, “I BURN for you!!!”
Anya Taylor-Joy was captivating in The Queen’s Gambit. She’s an incredible actress, so subtle and nuanced. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her, and the screenwriting was impeccable. I love a good Netflix binge!