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Thompson on Hollywood

Schlessel Reshapes Focus Features: Loses Karpen and Foley, Keeps Brody and Bowles (ANALYSIS)

The new CEO of Focus Features, Peter Schlessel, has wasted no time reconfiguring two distributors, FilmDistrict and Focus, into one. By insisting on shutting down the Focus New York branch, he lost several valuable executives including Focus COO Andrew Karpen, who was asked to stay on. Schlessel aims to broaden Focus by expanding its film slate to include a greater number of both specialty and wide-release genre fare. He's putting in charge of the company his key FilmDistrict execs, but leaving Focus production president Jeb Brody--who happens to have a key role in "Fifty Shades of Grey," in charge of that function.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 15, 2013 5:22 PM
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Universal Replaces Schamus with Schlessel to Expand Focus Features Brand

Universal is under new management. And another specialty division bites the dust. I may be overstating it, but safe to say, the old Focus Features--a high-class specialty division with an eye for awards worthy content--is no more. Longtime Focus CEO and co-founder James Schamus, a New Yorker of discernment who managed to work within a major studio's financial expectations for 12 years, is finally leaving the specialty division.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 2, 2013 3:06 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Bob Berney Launches Picturehouse 2.0 with Netflix Output Deal

The indie film community has been waiting for the unveiling of indie distributor Bob Berney's latest incarnation. Finally, after his short-lived stint at FilmDistrict, Berney is rebooting the Picturehouse label that he co-founded in 2005, which was later shuttered by partners New Line Cinema and HBO Films.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 15, 2013 4:46 PM
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FilmDistrict Brings On Elissa Greer as Senior Vice President of Publicity

FilmDistrict announces that Elissa Greer has joined the distribution company as senior vice president of publicity; she will oversee the studio's domestic theatrical publicity and promotional campaigns.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 26, 2012 12:25 PM
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'Safety Not Guaranteed' Director Colin Trevorrow Uses The Duplass Effect on TV Stars Plaza and Johnson

Want to make a good movie? Think Seattle and serial collaborators Mark and Jay Duplass. Colin Trevorrow does not pull back on his praise of Mark Duplass, who helped to produce as well as starring in "Safety Not Guaranteed," which launched at Sundance in January to gushes of praise (here's Time).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 13, 2012 7:17 AM
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FilmDistrict Hires Studio-Exec Orr to Run Distribution

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.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 12, 2012 9:28 PM
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  • 0 Comments

FilmDistrict Appoints Ex-DreamWorks Exec Christine Birch as Marketing Chief

After the departure of Bob and Jeanne Berney from FilmDistrict, owner Graham King and CEO Peter Schlessel have been rethinking their distribution operation. Well, now they have added the first of two key execs. Distribution chief is next.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 23, 2012 8:01 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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