Talking Small Biz: His Kensington firm has silver linings

Posted: February 22, 2013

T OM ASHLEY, 37, of Northern Liberties, is CEO of Invincible Pictures, parent company of Philly Sound Stages and FlixFling. Based in a 70,000-square-foot space in Kensington, Invincible provided camera and production testing for the Oscar-nominated movie "Silver Linings Playbook," filmed here.

Q: Tell me about the business.

A: We started in 2004. We're mainly a production and film-distribution entity. We produce movies, TV commercials and music videos and also have a streaming-movie service.

Q: And the name "Invincible"?

A: You've got to be invincible in this business, because it's tough.

Q: How so?

A: There's not a lot of production work; it's not regular work. One reason we've been successful is because we're diversified.

Q: How many motion pictures has Invincible worked on?

A: We've had about a dozen films shoot here, from small to big ones like "Limitless" and "Silver Linings Playbook."

Q: How did you land a gig in "Silver Linings Playbook"?

A: [The producers] contacted us. We're a unique business; we're the only soundstage in the city.

Q: Were any scenes in "Silver Linings Playbook" shot at Philly Sound Stages?

A: No. What occurred here were camera, makeup and wardrobe tests. They rented the studio for a few days and got Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in front of cameras, set up some scenes and started figuring out how to shoot the movie before everybody was on set.

Q: How did you get into the biz?

A: I went to Art Institute of Philadelphia. I started as a set designer and worked on MTV videos, TV commercials, and movies.

Q: What's Invincible's biggest challenge?

A: Attracting business that demands soundstage work and professionalism. We work with the state and the Greater Philadelphia Film Office to support film tax credits. Big movies shoot where the tax credits are.

Q: What else do you do?

A: The main job is to distribute movies. We buy rights, then distribute movies on FlixFling.

Q: Tell me about FlixFling.

A: FlixFling is the largest independently owned streaming-movie service. We're available on Samsung TV, basically all major consumer-electronics brands, Apple and Android devices. We've probably licensed 20,000 titles with 10,000 live on the service.

Q: How much are your fees?

A: You can rent movies for 99 cents, and we have some free content. You can buy titles and new releases. We have access to all new releases on demand. You pay extra for that.

Q: How many employees?

A: 15; most work for FlixFling.

Q: Total revenues last year?

A: At least $1 million, but less than $10 million.

On Twitter: @MHinkelman

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