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Hanway Lands Worldwide Sales Rights To Sundance Hit ‘Being Elmo’

By | Tuesday August 9, 2011 @ 11:17am PDT

Submarine Entertainment has made a deal with Hanway Films for the latter to handle Constance Marks’ award-winning Sundance documentary Being Elmo, about the creator of the iconic Sesame Street character. The doc previously picked up some rights deals when it was shopped at the Cannes Film Festival. The deal was negotiated by Josh Braun and David Koh of Submarine on behalf of Marks along with Hanway managing director Thorsten Schumacher and sales and distribution director Fabien Westerhoff. Submarine is handling an Oscar-qualifying run in major U.S. markets in the fall.

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Is Avi Lerner Friend Or Foe To Indieprods?

Two European sales companies — British based Hanway Films (the sales company of British producer Jeremy Thomas) and Paris-based Celluloid Dreams — are calling for Avi Lerner to step down as vice-chair of the Independent Film & Television Alliance. The problem stems from accusations that, at the same time he’s helping run the organization pledged to be the “voice and advocate for independents worldwide”, some companies which Lerner controls are apparently exploiting those same indie filmmakers by allegedly owing them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Lerner is co-chairman of Nu Image, which in 2007 bought the U.S. distributor First Look which is being sued by around 20 other film companies. Hanway Films’ head of business affairs Richard Mansell says his firm is owed nearly $500,000 by First Look, and pledges to soon pursue Nu Image through the courts in Los Angeles. Celluloid Dreams has won a court case against First Look for over $720,000 still owing from the U.S. release of Quentin Tarantino-starrer Sukiyaki Western Django, but hasn’t seen a dime yet. CEO Hengameh Panahi, one of Europe’s most respected sales agents, explains: “You can’t exploit somebody’s film and then not pay people.” IFTA would not comment on what it says are legal matters involving its members. Hanway Films’ Mansell says: “How can he represent the interests of an organization which is meant to adjudicate on and penalize wrongdoing by distributors? It makes IFTA itself a joke. If the organization had any … Read More »

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