Former River Road exec Deborah Zipser has joined IM Global where she will head Business and Legal Affairs as General Counsel at the indie outfit. She will oversee day-to-day business and legal affairs for the company’s production, sales and distribution activities and manage the company’s current five-person legal team. She reports to IM Global founder and CEO Stuart Ford and COO Chris Bosco.
At River Road, Zipser was Head of Business Affairs working on movies including Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life, Into the Wild, Brokeback Mountain and Food Inc. Before that she was senior investment executive at Screen Australia.
IM Global, which became part of Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA Group in 2010, has been evolving into what Ford calls “an international facing studio.” It had its biggest slate ever at Cannes this year, recently tied up with China’s Huayi Brothers for international sales and has offices in LA, London, Mumbai, Mexico City, and Beijing.
The inaugural Dream Factory event that wrapped up in Liverpool yesterday at the International Festival of Business 2014 has already brought a new project to the city. UK-based Red Union Films, Pinewood Pictures, and international distributor and financier IM Global have announced plans to co-produce eight-part crime thriller The Killing Pool. Set in Liverpool, the project is based on the novel by Kevin Sampson (Awaydays, Powder). The first in the series was published in March 2013 and features drug surveillance specialist DCI Billy McCartney as he unpeels the layers of an intercontinental heroin-dealing dynasty, forcing him to confront his ultimate nemesis. Production is set to start in early 2015.
IM Global founder and CEO Stuart Ford and Sampson are both Liverpudlians who curated the two-day Dream Factory feature film festival in partnership with UK talent management firm Independent. The event was designed to showcase local opportunities and welcomed such speakers as Mike Hodges and Mike Newell. Sampson said bringing “this caliber of production to our home city gives Stuart and myself an added buzz. Baltimore, Copenhagen, Louisiana, Malmo — now Liverpool Noir is set to make its mark.” (The book’s title is a reference to “The Killing Moon,” a song by Merseyside band Echo and the Bunnymen.)
This is a first step towards TV series production for IM Global and is part of a growing trend that sees film companies get in on the lucrative business. … Read More »
Heading into Cannes, the refrain was roundly the same as the one we heard going into the last big market, February’s EFM in Berlin. Whether it be from sales people, buyers or producers both foreign and domestic, there was a lament that the big projects had failed to materialize and that despite hopes to the contrary, this would be a very soft sojourn on the Croisette. One buyer called the situation a “catastrophe.” It is simply harder to pull together exciting packages, execs said, as talent attachments take longer and numbers are harder to hit. Still, if international dealmaking was in line with expectations, there was a jolt in domestic deals from the get-go. On the eve of the market, Paramount spent a record $20M on Story Of Your Life. The deal for the Denis Villeneuve-directed sci-fi pic starring Amy Adams was brokered by Lava Bear’s David Linde with WME Global’s Graham Taylor and FilmNation’s Glen Basner. Basner was also in the middle of The Weinstein Co’s landmark $7M Berlin deal for The Imitation Game. That acquisition was the real news out of Berlin, but it did not have a knock-on effect of jump-starting what ended up to be a pretty tepid EFM.
On the contrary, the sunny skies in Cannes, after two years of non-stop downpours, were matched by a solid … Read More »
IM Global and China’s Huayi Brothers have partnered in a new output deal whereby IMG’s Anthem division will handle international sales on all of Huayi’s forthcoming Chinese language productions. Anthem will have world rights, excluding Greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan. IM Global opened a Beijing office last summer with former Huayi Brothers exec Leslie Chen heading up the operation and has been digging deeper into China as it looks to gain a high profile foothold in the international sales of major Chinese films. Huayi already has several films on Anthem’s Cannes slate including romantic comedy Women Who Flirt starring Huang Xiaoming and Zhou Xun; A Tale Of Three Cities based on the life of Jackie Chan’s parents and starring Tang Wei and Sean Ching-Wan Lau; kidnapping drama Abducted with Andy Lau and Jing Boran; and high-tech romance Love On the Cloud, starring Angelababy and Chen He. The company is also launching sales in Cannes on big budget Jackie Chan-starrer Civilian, an English-language actioner to be directed by Peter Segal, and on director Lu Yang’s Chinese-language Brotherhood Of Blades starring Chang Chen, Liu Shishi, Nie Yuan, Wang Qianyuan and Li Dongxue, and produced by Terence Chang.
IM Global is coming to the Riviera with its biggest Cannes slate ever, and has just added a project that’s got a big awards pedigree. Oscar nominated writer Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, The Hunger Games) is set to helm The Secret In Their Eyes from his own screenplay that’s adapted from Juan José Campanella’s 2009 Foreign Language Film Oscar winner. Best Actor Oscar nominee and BAFTA winner Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow are playing the lead roles in the crime thriller. Oscar and Emmy winner Mark Johnson (Rain Man, Breaking Bad) is producing along with John Ufland. IM Global starts sales on the project in Cannes with production scheduled to start this fall in Boston.
Ejiofor will play a former MI-5 agent who returns to Boston on a joint task force with the FBI, still obsessed by the unsolved murder that continues to haunt him. As he inches closer to solving the crime, he uncovers a shocking truth that will shed a terrifying new light on past events. IM Global founder and CEO Stuart Ford says, “Billy has written a wonderfully intelligent, twisting screenplay and we’re lucky enough to have attached two world class acting talents at the top of their game for Secret. We’re confident of bringing further great cast on board as we move towards production.” Johnson adds, “The thought of combining the originality of the original film with the talent of Billy Ray and the support off IM Global is irresistible.” Ford, Matt Jackson and Campanella are exec producing. CAA arranged financing for the film and reps domestic rights. Ray is repped by CAA and Management 360; Ejiofor is repped by CAA and Alex Irwin at Markham, Froggatt and Irwin; and Paltrow is repped by Shani Rosenzweig and Tracey Jacobs at UTA and Aleen Keshishian at Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
As IM Global evolves into what founder and CEO Stuart Ford calls “an international facing studio,” the company continues to work with diverse filmmakers from all corners. Ford says, “It’s very exciting and a real privilege to be the platform for so many great movies and such phenomenal talent.”
The Secret In Their Eyes joins a host of other IM Global titles including Forsaken from Gravity co-writer Jonas Cuaron. Formerly known as Desierto, the thriller stars Gael García Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan Read More »
Silver Pictures‘ action thriller Autobahn is revving up for a production start May 5. IM Global is backing the picture with additional financing from Sycamore Pictures and Beijing-based DMG Entertainment. Penned by Black List writer F. Scott Frazier (The Numbers Station), the project already had folks buzzing in whispers in Berlin earlier this year and is likely to stir up further interest in Cannes now that all the pieces are in place. Eran Creevy (Welcome To The Punch) is directing Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley in the story about a young American couple plunged into a game of cat-and-mouse across Germany when they find themselves caught between two ruthless criminals.
Joel Silver will produce through his Silver Pictures banner, along with Ben Pugh and Rory Aitken of UK-based 42 and Brian Kavanaugh Jones of Automatik (Insidious). Silver Pictures’ Steve Richards and Aaron Auch are executive producing, along with IM Global CEO Stuart Ford and Matt Jackson. Also exec producing are DMG’s Dan Mintz, Wu Bing, Peter Xiao, Chris Fenton and Chris Cowles and Sycamore’s Tom Rice and Ben Nearn . Hoult and Creevy are repped by 42. Read More »
Gearing up for the European Film Market in Berlin next month, the feature division of Bill O’Dowd’s family-based producer Dolphin Entertainment is launching a new sales operation to go by the name of Dolphin Films International. The outfit will operate under a multi-year partnership with IM Global which will provide support and give Dolphin a strong physical presence at markets as well as access to its relationships. Dolphin vet Christine Perrin-Stocco will run the division which kicks off with the live-action feature adaptation of Mattel’s Max Steel. Dolphin is the second sales operation to announce its launch this week; on Tuesday, finance and sales outfit Fortitude International hung its shingle. Here are full details on Dolphin Films International: Read More »
Parkland and End of Watch producer Matt Jackson has jumped to IM Global to serve as the film financing/sales/distribution company’s new President of Production. He’ll report directly to Founder/CEO Stuart Ford. Jackson will oversee development and production at IM Global, working with President of Physical Production Steve Squillante and acquisition execs Ben Shields-Catlin and Ben Rekhi. He comes most recently from Exclusive Media where he served as Head of US Production and EVP. In his previous stint at Universal, Jackson worked on the Bourne and American Pie franchises. Jackson also recently produced 2014′s Dark Places starring Charlize Theron. Upcoming IM Global productions include Fox’s Walking With Dinosaurs, Universal’s Incarnate, Andrew Lau’s Revenge Of The Green Dragons, 2014′s Autobahn, One Minute To Midnight, Trollhunter, and Pest.
Chris Bosco joined film financing, distribution and sales company IM Global as Chief Operating Officer as of December 1. He reports directly to IM Global Founder and CEO Stuart Ford who announced the move today. Before joining IM Global, Bosco was based in Prague where he was responsible for operations and finance for the content and distribution division within Central European Media Enterprises across seven countries in Europe. During his tenure he was instrumental in defining strategy and designing and implementing mergers and acquisitions. Previously, Bosco was EVP Finance at United Artists and MGM where he was responsible for worldwide finance including film and TV development, production, distribution and marketing.
BREAKING: Open Road Films has made a first look distribution agreement to release select IM Global titles in the U.S. Open Road CEO made Tom Ortenberg and IM Global CEO Stuart Ford made the deal. This comes after the two companies worked together on the hit A Haunted House last January. The sequel comes in March.
“Stuart Ford and his partners at Reliance Entertainment have built a formidable business and reputation with great projects under their belt and many more in the pipeline,” stated Ortenberg. “We’ve had success together on A Haunted House and are looking forward to more great things in the future.”
Said Ford, “Open Road has established itself as a pre-eminent mini-major in the U.S. distribution arena and it will be a privilege for many of our forthcoming releases to be handled by Tom Ortenberg and his team.”
EXCLUSIVE: Gearing up for Toronto, IM Global chief Stuart Ford says the company is “engineering its usual full-on assault on the marketplace.” Ford is currently in Venice in support of Ti West’s The Sacrament and Steven Knight’s Tom Hardy-starrer Locke. Both of those films are part of an abundant Toronto slate that’s spread across the outfit’s different labels. Among the brand new movies on the lineup are Justin Bieber’s Believe, which will screen for select buyers in Toronto. Jon M. Chu, who helmed hit concert film Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never, directed Believe in what was an under the radar operation. IM Global’s wide release label Opus is handling worldwide sales and Open Road is releasing domestically. The documentary mixes in concert footage to trace Bieber’s path to becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Read More »
Mean Girls‘ Mark Waters is directing Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters, the first installment in a franchise adaptation of Richelle Mead’s six-volume young adult novel series. Heathers scribe Daniel Waters wrote the script. The project was a big seller for IM Global in Berlin where The Weinstein Co. acquired U.S. distribution rights. Zoey Deutch and Lucy Fry star as a pair of bloodsucking best friends who attend a special school for Vampires struggling to retain some humanity while other Vampires become more feral. Danila Kozlovsky, Olga Kurylenko, Sarah Hyland, Joely Richardson and Gabriel Byrne are also in the cast. The film releases on Valentine’s Day 2014.
Two international sales and finance powerhouses are getting on the China bandwagon. IM Global has enlisted former Huayi Brothers exec Leslie Chen to head up its new Beijing operation. The offices will be open at the end of the month where IM Global’s pan-Asian distribution label Apsara will be based. Chen will manage much of the company’s international sales activity in the region as well as overseeing the release of IM Global’s films in mainland China.
Meanwhile, France’s Wild Bunch is partnering with Beijing-based production and distribution group Taihe Pictures to create a sales and distribution outfit Taihe Wild Bunch. The company will focus on acquiring international distribution rights for Chinese movies with crossover potential and will exploit Wild Bunch’s catalog, including remake rights, in China. Wild Bunch has deep ties to China having worked with such filmmakers as Lou Ye, Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou over the past several years. Read More »
Ray Liotta has joined Revenge Of The Green Dragons, the thriller helmed by Andrew Lau and Andrew Loo, with production beginning in New York. The triad thriller is executive produced by Martin Scorsese and is fully financed by IM Global’s prolific genre label Octane. Scorsese’s Best Picture Oscar-winning The Departed was a remake of Lau’s Hong Kong gangster film Infernal Affairs. Liotta will play the lead New York detective responsible for investigating the brutal gang and bringing them to justice. He is coming off The Iceman, The Place Beyond The Pines and Killing Them Softly. Also joining the cast are Justin Chon and Harry Shum. The film’s based on Fredric Dannen’s New Yorker article about the terror spree inflicted by the Green Dragons, the gang of Asian youths in Chinatown.
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UK indie distributor Swipe Films has acquired Alexandre Castagnetti’s Love Is In The Air. The French romantic comedy stars Cannes jury member Ludivine Sagnier. It opened in France via UPI in April. The story sees a volatile former couple meet up on a NY-Paris flight. Swipe will roll the pic out in the UK and Ireland. Gregoire Melin’s Kinology is selling. Read More »
Senna helmer Asif Kapadia will direct Ali And Nino for UK producer PeaPie Films. IM Global is handling worldwide sales with production set for early 2014. Atonement scribe Christopher Hampton adapted the epic WWI love story that’s set in Azerbaijan where Ali Khan Shirvanshir, the male descendant of a royal Muslim family, falls in love with Nino Kipiani, a beautiful, Christian, Georgian princess. It’s based on the novel by Kurban Said that was published in 1937. PeaPie’s Kris Thykier (Kick-Ass, One Chance) is producing. Lelya Aliyeva is executive producer. Kapadia works across documentaries and fiction. His 2001 film The Warrior won the BAFTA for Best British Film. He’s an exec producer on Cannes official selection title Monsoon Shootout and is also due to direct an as-yet untitled Amy Winehouse documentary.
Deadline revealed last week that Kevin Costner was going to reteam with Upside Of Anger helmer Mike Binder on Black And White. IM Global has confirmed the scoop, adding that The Help‘s Octavia Spencer will also be in the cast. Here’s the official release:
IM Global founder and CEO Stuart Ford announced today that IM Global will launch the international sales in Cannes of BLACK AND WHITE, the project that re-teams two-time Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (Man of Steel, The Upside of Anger, For Love of the Game, Open Range, Dances with Wolves) with acclaimed writer, director and actor Mike Binder (The Upside of Anger, Reign Over Me). The film, which also stars Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer, is based on Binder’s own script, and is a co-production of Costner’s Treehouse Productions and Binder’s Sunlight Productions, along with Todd Lewis. Cassian Elwes is onboard as an executive producer. Principal photography begins this summer in New Orleans.
Binder’s engrossing drama focuses on attorney Elliot Anderson (Costner) who is widowed after the car crash death of his wife. Elliot has raised his bi-racial granddaughter Eloise since his daughter died in childbirth. As he struggles with his grief, Elliot’s world is turned upside-down when the child’s African American grandmother Rowena (Spencer) demands that Eloise be brought under the care of her father Reggie, a drug addict who Elliot blames for the negligence that led to the death of his own daughter. Elliot
… Read More »