Philip Anschutz hasreorganised his film interests with the creation of Anschutz Film Group (AFG),a Los Angeles-based holding company that will serve as parent to subsidiariesWalden Media and Bristol Bay Productions, formerly known as CrusaderEntertainment.
Attorney David Weil, who forthe past year has served as Anschutz's chief advisor on film investments, joinsfrom O'Melveny & Myers as AFG's chief executive officer, while Walden chiefexecutive officer Cary Granat retains his existing post and is promoted to AFGpresident.
Rounding out the AFG seniorexecutive roster are Jess Wittenberg as chief operating officer, who arrivesafter 15 years at Castle Rock Entertainment, and chief financial officerFrancesca Hickson, who held the same post at the Screen Actors Guild andMiramax. Michael Flaherty will remain president of Walden Media in addition tobecoming AFG executive vice president.
Former Universal Picturessenior vice president Lenny Kornberg has joined Bristol Bay as executive vicepresident of creative following the departure of top brass Howard and KarenBaldwin and the imminent departure of Crusader chief operating officer BillImmerman, whose position has been eliminated.
While Weil sets aboutdevising growth strategies for Anschutz companies and overseeing all activitiesincluding strategic and planning for both Walden Media and Bristol Bay, Granatwill be responsible for all creative, production and marketing areas at the twosubsidiaries, which will pursue separate development, acquisition andproduction paths.
Speaking to Screendaily.comyesterday (20) Granat said Walden Media would stay true to its mission ofproducing quality children's films and accompanying educational outreachprogrammes, while Bristol Bay would work on family projects with a positive messageacross a range of genres.
"We're looking to build asteady stream of projects for both companies," Granat said. "We are continuingto build Walden at the same rate with the same level of activity as always.Bristol Bay will be more of a general entertainment company to service thenon-Walden projects."
Granat declined to put anumber on annual productions and added that greenlighting Walden Media projectswould be contingent upon greenlighting the educational outreach programmes.
Walden Media's Around TheWorld In 80 Days starring JackieChan and UK comedian Steve Coogan will be released on Jun 16 through BuenaVista, and the drama I Am David,which stars Anne Holm and Jim Caviezel, will open in October through LionsGate.
Walden is currentlyproducing the first live-action version of C S Lewis' The Chronicles OfNarnia and is developing theaward-winning children's stories Bridge To Terabithia and The Giver.
This year Bristol Bay'scomedy Danny Deckchair, whichstars Rhys Ifans and Miranda Otto, will open through Lions Gate, and UnchainMy Heart: The Ray Charles Storystarring Jamie Foxx will be released by Universal. The company is alsoproducing the adventure saga Saharawith Paramount.