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Ex-Focus Features Exec Launches Bleecker Street Distribution Company

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 13, 2014 at 3:39PM

In advance of the Toronto International Film Festival, Andrew Karpen, former Co-CEO of Focus Features, is launching new distribution company Bleecker Street to be based in New York City. Bleecker CEO Karpen will scout new films at this year’s TIFF; he plans release 3-5 pictures in 2015 and more as time goes on. Karpen looks to fill the specialty market void left when Peter Schlessel took over Universal indie label Focus Features with a more genre-focus in mind.
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Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston
In advance of the Toronto International Film Festival, Andrew Karpen, former Co-CEO of Focus Features, is launching new distribution company Bleecker Street to be based in New York City. Bleecker CEO Karpen will scout new films at this year’s TIFF; he plans release 3-5 pictures in 2015 and more as time goes on. 
 
Karpen looks to fill the specialty market void left when Peter Schlessel took over Universal indie label Focus Features with a more genre-focus in mind. Karpen is looking for both limited and wide releases.
 

So far the company slate includes three high-profile films with strong casts via an output U.S. distribution deal with Shivani Rawat’s ShivHans Pictures: Jay Roach biopic "Trumbo," starring Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, and Elle Fanning; writer-turned-director Dan Fogelman's "Danny Collins" starring Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale and Christopher Plummer; and Matt Ross's "Captain Fantastic," starring Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, Missi Pyle, and Steve Zahn.

Karpen joined Focus as COO in 2002, was promoted to President in 2006 and later elevated to Co-CEO in 2012. Focus released such Academy Award-winners as "Dallas Buyers Club,""Milk," "Atonement," "Beginners," and specialty hits such as "The Place Beyond the Pines," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Coraline," "ParaNorman" and "The Kids Are All Right."  

 
The company will make staffing announcements later this fall.
 
Bleecker Street is financed by Manoj Bhargava, founder of 5-hour Energy who was advised by Graham Taylor and Liesl Copland of WME Global.

This article is related to: News, News, New York, Independents, Universal/Focus Features, Distribution, Toronto, Toronto International Film Festival, Festivals


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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.