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in Filmmaking
on Aug 29, 2008

As we enter a lazy Labor Day news cycle, Anne Thompson picks up on her Variety blog the press release that THINKfilm CEO Mark Urman is leaving the troubled distributor and will join Senator Entertainment as the head of its new theatrical distribution company.

Here’s the press release:

Effective October 1, veteran film industry executive Mark Urman will join Marco Weber’s Senator Entertainment US as president of his newly formed distribution company. The teaming with Urman follows Weber’s recent acquisition of all shares in U.S.-based Senator Entertainment Inc. in order to focus solely on the production of English language films and to establish this U.S. based distribution entity. The company will be fully bi-coastal with main offices in both Los Angeles and New York.

Urman co-founded THINKFilm in 2001, heading the company’s theatrical division and serving, most recently, as president. Prior to that, he was co-president of Lionsgate Releasing. Urman will work side-by-side with Weber in establishing all windows of distribution for the company’s slate, allowing Weber to concentrate on the original productions the company is making with a broad spectrum of A-list actors and filmmakers.

“I believe this is the perfect time to launch a company of this shape and size,” says Urman, “and I’m thrilled to be joining Marco in this exciting new endeavor. We start with an exceptional line-up that combines commercial crossover films with classically niche-oriented ones, and we’ll have the ability to alternate wide releases– involving hundreds of prints–with prestige titles that expand from exclusive platforms. By building a company that can be big and bold when it wants to be, but streamlined and strategic when it needs to be, we plan on being the best possible combination of a studio specialty division and a true independent.”

Weber commented, “Mark’s expertise in the independent film world is without rival. He has proven consistently that he understands how to design specific campaigns for movies that are high quality, yet challenging to release successfully. It is our good fortune to have secured him as a partner to work with us as the company prepares to release its first slate.”

In this terrible distribution environment, it’s great that there is a new theatrical distributor. But what will become of THINKfilm and the filmmakers and vendors who are owed money? Will owner David Bergstein find that rumored next round of financing and hire a replacement? Or does Urman’s exit signal the company’s imminent demise?

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