Philanthropist SidneyKimmel, who produced Nine-And-A-Half Weeks and has notched upa rack of executive producer credits over the past two decades, is ramping uphis Hollywood ambitions with the launch of Sidney Kimmel Entertainment in LosAngeles.
As company chairman andchief executive officer, Kimmel will head up the Beverly Hills offices whenthey open on Oct 1, flanked by former attorney and Sherwood Productions chiefexecutive officer Alan Salke as vice chairman and Marina Grasic, an attorneyand executive producer of the Toronto hit Crash, as chief operating officer.
The company aims to financeup to 10 mid-budget features each year and production is already underway inVancouver on NeverWas, JoshuaMichael Stern's directorial debut and mystery starring Aaron Eckhart, IanMcKellen, Brittany Murphy, Nick Nolte, and Alan Cumming.
Kimmel is producing withGreg Shapiro, while Joe Drake, Nathan Kahane, Amanda Mackey Johnson and Grasicserve as executive producers.
Two other projects inpre-production are Bart Freundlich's comedy-drama Trust The Man with Julianne Moore and David Duchovny in talks tostar when shooting begins on Nov 1, and youth drama Alpha Dog, set to be directed by Nick Cassavetes and producedby Kimmel in association with A-Mark Entertainment.
New Line Cinema willdistribute Alpha Dog, which isset to begin production on Oct 25.
In other key appointments,production veteran Scott Nicolaides is named senior vice president ofproduction, Andrew Karsch heads up the company's New York team, and RachelHorovitz will manage East Coast development activity.
"My decision to expand myoperations to LA has to do with my desire to be intimately involved in thedevelopment, production and financing of features, and to take a more creativerole in the process," Kimmel said in a statement.
"I have long wanted todedicate more time to the film industry and I'm grateful to have found theright team as well as the right balance between our work in New York and in LosAngeles."
Entertainment financialconsultant Joseph Cohen was instrumental in the formation of the West Coastoperation and Matt Thompson of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan served asKimmel's outside entertainment counsel.
Among his extensive businessventures, Kimmel founded the $4.5bn Jones Apparel Group in 1975, and the SidneyKimmel Foundation and its subsidiary the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for CancerResearch.
His philanthropic pursuitsinclude Jewish education and continuity and he recently oversaw the opening ofthe Kimmel Centre for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. Kimmel is part-ownerof the Miami Heat basketball team.