The three owners ofLondon-based Capitol Films - Sharon Harel, Jane Barclay and Hannah Leader -have announced that their long-in-the-works sale of Capitol to LA-basedentrepreneurs David Bergstein and Ronald N Tutor has been completed.
Bergstein and Tutor now haveambitious plans to form an international entertainment group which will becalled Capitol with interests in production, post-production, librarymanagement and sales. The two had previously bought the De Lane Leapost-production facility in London.
Bergstein and Tutor'sproduction outfit Mobius Pictures is now merged into the Capitol group. Creditsinclude Laws Of Attraction, Chaosand the recently completed Breakdownstarring Jennifer Lopez on whichCapitol handled international sales. Capitol is expected to open an LA officeshortly.
Harel, who co-foundedCapitol in 1989 with Barclay but stepped down from day-to-day running thecompany last year, is now embarking on a producing career and she has struck afirst-look deal with Capitol. She starts shooting on an as-yet-untitled projectwith Fanny Ardant later this month.
Former Icon EntertainmentLtd CEO Nick Hill is now running Capitol as joint-managing director withBarclay. Bergstein will be chairman of the overall group.
"We will continue to financeand sell films as normal," Barclay told Screendaily this weekend. "It'sexciting for us in that we can now see Capitol expand further."
The two parties had beenintroduced by ICM chairman and CEO Jeff Berg, who represented Capitol in thedeal. Funding of the acquisition was arranged by Eileen Burke of New York hedgefund DB Zwem.
"I am delighted that we havebeen able to bring this deal to fruition," said Bergstein, whose Mobius was allied with Elie Samaha's Franchise Pictures for a while before branching out on its own."Capitol has consistently delivered films of the highest artistic and commercialquality to the market. When independent distributors from around the worldgather at Cannes, the AFM or any of the important film festivals, one of thefirst doors they knock on is Capitol's. This is a company with an outstandingtrack record and terrific management. It provides us with a very solidfoundation on which to build."
Thenewly merged operation will make its market debut at Berlin where Capitol's APrairie Home Companion directed byRobert Altman will have its world premiere in competition. Upcoming filmsinclude Bordertown from directorGregory Nava with Lopez and Antonio Banderas in the cast, Lucky NumberSlevin, which had its world premiereat Sundance this week and Alpha Dog,which closes Sundance on Sunday.
At Berlin, Barclay said thatthe company will have three new films as well as teen adventure Alex Rider:Stormbreaker and actioner BlackWater Transit.
Capitol's 100-plus filmlibrary includes Gosford Park, Jeepers Creepers, Death And The Maiden, American Buffalo, and three Woody Allen titles (Anything Else, HollywoodEnding, The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion).