Graham Broadbent and Damian Jones, the UK producers behind Very Annie Mary and Welcome To Sarajevo production outfit Dragon Pictures, have teamed with Andrew Hauptman and Ellen Bronfman's well-heeled film operation, Andell Entertainment, to launch Mission Pictures.
Mission aims to fuel an ambitious drive into internationally-oriented, bigger-budget projects with an undisclosed amount of development and overhead cash from Andell, the film arm of the private investment company founded by Hauptman and his wife, Bronfman.
The private funding is to complement a $362,770 (£250,000) annual slate development deal with UK support body The Film Council. Joining the company is Peter Czernin, the former president of Warner Bros-based Di Novi Pictures who most recently formed a now-defunct production partnership with former Pathe Entertainment chief Alexis Lloyd.
"The aim is to make two to three pictures per year, inevitably with bigger budgets, but essentially films aimed at an international audience," said Broadbent. "There's the ongoing debate in the UK about whether small pictures or bigger pictures work, but there's no doubt that we want to be working with US studios where necessary on big international pictures."
Hauptman, Andell's chief executive and co-owner, becomes chairman of Mission, which will absorb some of the projects in development at Andell Entertainment. A former director of business development and strategic planning for Universal Studios, he and Bronfman have a portfolio of mainly media, communications, leisure and health interests in North America, Europe and Israel, including Vivendi Universal, Koor Industries and Sportal International.
"Dragon had all of the qualities we looked for in a producing partner," Hauptman said. "Graham and Damian have proven themselves as producers across a broad range of material and they are ambitious, both for their films and for the company. During the last six years, they have consistently chosen interesting projects and developed them with creativity and sound judgement. I'm very pleased to be on board and committed to taking the company to the next level."
Set up in 1995, Dragon has so far produced nine pictures, including Michael Winterbottom's Welcome To Sarajevo and Simon Cellan Jones' Some Voices. Peter Hewitt's Thunderpants, currently in post production, will be Mission's first release.
"Very few UK production companies have real stability, which we now have," said Broadbent.