Soft-money specialist Martin Katz is leaving Grosvenor Parkto found a new Toronto-based production entity, Prospero Pictures.
The fledgling operation will act as Canadian co-producer onEric Idle's upcoming The Remains Of The Piano, a spoof of Merchant Ivory costume dramas that is being made byLA-based Stratus Film Co, theindependent production outfit of Mark Gordon, Mark Gill and financier Bob Yari.
Grosvenor Park Productions is the UK co-producer on The Remains Of The Piano; CapitolFilms is handling world sales.
Budgeted at between $12m-$14m, the comedy follows a British aristocrat whose life is turnedupside down when he meets two women with sexual hang-ups.
HeadliningGeoffrey Rush, the film features a star-laden cast of supporting actorsincluding Neve Campbell, Anjelica Huston, Alfred Molina, Billy Connolly,Orlando Bloom, Will Kemp, Tim Curry, Michael York, Patrick Stewart, Catherine O'Haraand Idle. Robin Williams is also slated for a cameo. Shooting begins August 18in Canada and the UK.
Additionally, Prospero is attached as Canadian co-producerof Olivier Assayas' Clean, indevelopment with Edouard Weil's Elizabeth Films and Paris-based sales agency Wild Bunch and set to starMaggie Cheung. Assayas' previous film Demonlover was in competition at Cannes 2002.
Clean tells the storyof a drug-addicted fatherwho loses custody of his children to his parents. Set in North America, Europeand Australia much of the dialogue will be in English. The production may bestructured with a UK co-producer but no partner has been announced.
Katz told Screen Dailythat this past Cannes market confirmed the supremacy of soft-money financing,particularly what he calls "the one-stop shopping model" of Grosvenor Park andnow Prospero, where productions accrue soft money from multiple jurisdictionsthrough one point of contact.
Katz, who has been at Grosvenor Park for five years, mostrecently as president and COO, was previously an executive producer at MSNCanada and before that at Atlantis Communications. He was earlier head ofbusiness affairs at the CBC.