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U.S. Distributors Are Popping Up Like Mushrooms: FilmDistrict

by Sydney Levine
November 8, 2010 3:30 AM
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Bob Berney and Peter Schlessel are key players in Graham King and Tim Headington’s new distribution company FilmDistrict. The company's brief is to acquire or generate films with strong casts that can play on between 1500 and 2000 screens.

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Bob Berney xxxxxxxx Peter Schlessel

In the first major deal of the American Film Market, FilmDistrict prebought North American rights to Drive from Affinity. Based on the James Sallis novel and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, budgeted for less than $30 million, the film stars Ryan Gosling who plays a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver and is targeted for death after a heist goes wrong, it also stars Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks and Mad Men's Christina Hendricks. FilmDistrict plans to release in late summer or early fall. On Sunday FD acquired Europacorp's Lockout. Prior to AFM, the company acquired Soul Surfer.

On the distribution side are senior vice president, distribution Dan Lange; senior vice president, film settlement John Lange; senior vice president, general sales manager Bill Thompson; director, distribution Ryan Markowitz; director, distribution operations Nicki Petrone; and director, national exhibitor relations Deborah Johnson. Senior vice president Valerie Bruce will head business affairs. Marketing executives include executive vice president, marketing Jeanne R Berney; senior vice president, marketing Kirk Iwanowski; senior vice president, publicity Liz Berger; and director, field publicity and promotions Oleg Dubson. Adrian Alperovich, left Sony to become president of acquisitions and operations and exec VP of GK Films, reporting to Schlessel. Josie Liang was named acquisitions coordinator, reporting to Alperovich.

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