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FilmDistrict Hires Studio-Exec Orr to Run Distribution

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 12, 2012 at 9:28PM

After the departure of indies Bob and Jeanne Berney from FilmDistrict, owner Graham King and CEO Peter Schlessel have been rethinking their distribution operation. Well, now they have added two key execs from the studios, distribution president Jim Orr and ex-DreamWorks marketing head Christine Birch as marketing president.
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Jim Orr
Jim Orr

After the departure of indies Bob and Jeanne Berney from FilmDistrict, owner Graham King and CEO Peter Schlessel have been rethinking their distribution operation. By adding two key execs from the studios, FilmDistrict is marking a change of direction with distribution president Jim Orr and marketing president Christine Birch; both report to Schlessel.

FilmDistrict’s releases include Guy Pearce thriller “Lockout” (which Open Road opened on April 13, 2012), Sundance hit “Safety Not Guaranteed” (June 8, 2012), Rian Johnson's “Looper” (with Endgame Entertainment and Sony Pictures, September 28, 2012), the remake “Red Dawn,” (through Open Road, November 2, 2012), “Playing the Field” (December 25, 2012), and “Parker" (January 25, 2013).  The company is also rebooting horror classic “Evil Dead” (with Ghost House Pictures and Sony Pictures), set to shoot in 2012, and has announced a sequel to its hit pick-up “Insidious."

Orr held positions at MGM and Paramount Pictures including executive vice president and general sales manager of theatrical distribution and senior vice president of domestic distribution. Most recently, Orr was president of Steamboat Rock Entertainment, where he consulted for a number of unique groups including Miramax, PirateEye and portal Tugg.

This article is related to: Film District, FilmDistrict


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.