The president of theatrical distribution and his wife and evp of marketing Jeanne Berney will leave the company on Mar 1 2012 as FilmDistrict consolidates operations in Los Angeles.
The move had been rumoured for some time among the acquisitions community and it is understood that the bi-coastal set-up had become a challenge, especially given the company’s busy schedule. FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel and his team are based in Los Angeles while the Berneys are resolute New Yorkers.
Drive and The Rum Diary are in release in the US while FilmDistrict is finalising preparations for the December launch and possible awards season run of Angelina Jolie’s feature directorial debut In The Land Of Blood And Honey.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the good news in the independent film business over the last year,” Bob Berney said. “While I believe in the strategy of FilmDistrict, I remain committed to my roots and family in New York where there is a vibrant film community. The team Jeanne and I assembled in New York and Chicago are second to none and we all are proud of the work we’ve done and the great successes we’ve had. I wish my colleagues at FilmDistrict good luck in the years to come.”
“Bob and Jeanne have been an integral part of launching FilmDistrict and we are very thankful that they have successfully spearheaded the release of our first four films,” Schlessel said. “The marketing campaigns on our initial slate of films have been unique and effective. Jeanne Berney and her team have done a wonderful job in reaching the widest possible audience for each film and defining what FilmDistrict is all about.
“This consolidation was necessary due to the inherent difficulties of having our production, acquisition and business divisions in Los Angeles with our distribution and marketing team in New York. We are very excited about next year’s slate of films.”
The Berneys joined FilmDistrict at inception in September 2010 after Bob Berney’s shock departure from Apparition on the eve of Cannes 2010. To date FilmDistrict’s release have grossed more than $150m in theatres.