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Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe and Thomas Cross Launch Cool & Happy Production Studio (EXCLUSIVE)

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Filmmakers Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe and Thomas Cross have teamed up to launch a new independent production studio, Cool & Happy Limited. Cummings and McCabe will serve as the studio’s chief creatives, while Cross will head up production.

“The same team has been making stuff for eight years. We started in shorts and then made three features: ‘Thunder Road’ ‘The Wolf of Snow Hollow’ and ‘The Beta Test,’ most recently,” Cummings says. After enduring the COVID pandemic and last year’s Hollywood labor strikes, things came into perspective for the trio. “These are the people that I actually want to hang out with. It kind of perfectly aligned with what was happening in the industry. It has never been harder to get something through the front door of Hollywood.”

As Cummings puts it, the priority is making “unsanitized, well-crafted movies for cinema fanatics.” He cites Cool & Happy’s ability to self-finance and self-distribute (which he believes to be the future of filmmaking) as their key competitive advantage.

“The goal is to keep knocking on the front door with projects that have larger IP and big, fun stuff, but keeping the lights on by making these smaller, well-crafted movies that we can self-distribute,” Cummings adds. “So many production companies use production services rather than actually making stuff. It’s very possible to stay lean and not wear a suit and just make stuff directly for an audience.”

Cool & Happy is already off to the races, premiering its short comedy film “The Last Brunch” at SXSW this month. The banner also has another completed short film that it hopes to secure festival space for later this year.