Lolafilms UK, the troubled London-based production and sales arm of Spanish powerhouse Lolafilms, is claiming 'business as usual' after it emerged that president of international sales Nicole Mackey had resigned.
In a statement, Lolafilms asserted: "Regardless of a cost cutting plan, London activities will continue since they are considered an essential part of Lolafilms' strategy to become a global player."
Mackey's relationship with Lolafilms chief Andres Vicente Gomez appeard to have soured this week after press reports said the operation faced the axe. While Lolafilms UK has long been rumoured to be in danger of closure, Mackey's departure comes on the eve of Mifed, where the company had hoped for a boost by closing a number of international sales.
According to Lolafilms, Mackey's post will be filled by Madrid-based Marina Fuentes and London-based Will Machin, who will act as co-presidents of international sales.
Mackey's decision to resign, said the statement, was made after being informed of Lolafilms' plans to contain costs throughout the group, forming part of a preventative measure to better adapt to the current market situation and foreseeable decline in activity in the world economy.
Her departure comes hard on the heels of this month's exit of three executives from Lola in Spain, including head of distribution Jose Luis Gimare. Alejandro Bana, previously number two at the distribution arm, has replaced Gimare.
Gomez had said last month that the London office, which employs around eight staff, would continue. He said that the operation had been "delayed" in putting the finishing touches to some of the films on its first slate - which includes Manuel Gomez Pereira's Off Key, John Malkovich's The Dancer Upstairs, Susan Seidelman's Gaudi Afternoon and Chris Monger's Girl From Rio.
"We have not stopped, we have been doing marketing on the films, positioning them, getting them known," he said. "But we have not been able to do screenings in recent markets. Now we have them all for Mifed"
One factor that may be counting against the UK arm is the threatened strike by UK actors union Equity in December. The operation is developing such projects as Loving The Goddess, a co-production with Ecosse Films. Also on Lola's slate is Bille August's The Maid Of Buttermere and Luis Llosa's adaptation of Mario Vargas Llosa's book, Feast Of The Goat.
Additional reporting by Jennifer Green