Mark Gill,president of Miramax LA and one of the lynchpins at the studio since 1994, isleaving the company to join veteran producer Mark Gordon and financier Bob Yariin Stratus Film Company, a new production vehicle with a mission to make amininum of three to four "high quality" productions a year in the$10m to $40m range. The films emerging from Stratus will be separate fromGordon's production deal at Fox where he has become the lot'spremier event film producer.

Yari, who isproviding the capital for the new company, has strong ties with David Glasserand Andreas Klein's Splendid Pictures. Yari is an executive producer onBille August's forthcoming Without Apparent Motive starring Richard Gere and thriller Heaven'sPond with Tara Reid andKip Pardue, both for Splendid.

Gill, whosebackground is in marketing, has shown an increasing interest in productionwhile at Miramax and takes an executive producer credit on current Miramaxrelease Frida.

"We have the highest respect for Mark's skills andabilities," said Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein yesterday."Mark has been a valuable part of Miramax's marketing efforts over thepast eight years, while making important contributions on various acquisitionsand in fostering the production of Frida."

"ConsideringMark's interest in production and acquisitions, he will be well served by thisexciting new opportunity to focus on these areas," continued Weinstein."Mark Gordon is a top flight producer and we wish he and Mark Gill thebest of luck and success in their new venture."

Weinstein willbe personally involved in the marketing of Miramax's upcoming releaseswhich include Gangs Of New York, Chicago, Frida, Pinocchio and Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind. Jason Cassidy, senior vice president ofmarketing, will work closely with him on managing the transition.

Gill joinedMiramax after a six-year stint at Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures(finally as a senior vice president of marketing) as president of marketing andin 1997 he relocated to Los Angeles to the specially created post of presidentof Miramax/Los Angeles. There he became involved in co-productions andacquisitions in addition to his marketing responsibilities.

Before joiningColumbia, Gill was a publicist at Rogers & Cowan and before that, a journalistwith Newsweek and The Los Angeles Times.

Gill'sdeparture puts further strain on Miramax's marketing department. In July,the studio's executive vice president David Brooks who was co-head ofmarketing with Gill, announced his departure from the company after 12 years.

Veteran producerGordon has been industrious since he departed Mutual Film Co, his partnershipwith Gary Levinsohn, last year. With a first-look deal at 20th Century Foxsolidified late in 2001, he has already got off the ground The League OfExtraordinary Gentlemenstarring Sean Connery and Roland Emmerich's epic disaster movie TheDay After Tomorrow, isexecutive producing HBO Films' And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself with Antonio Banderas, will produceRidley Scott's next epic Tripoli starring Russell Crowe (also at Fox) and has set HalleBerry-starrer The Guideat Paramount.