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ThinkFilm inks Canadian deal

TORONTO — Indie distributor ThinkFilm has inked an output deal with Canadian distributor Entertainment One to release its titles north of the border through 2010.

ThinkFilm, which was acquired in late 2006 by Los Angeles-based film financier and distributor David Bergstein, also sold Entertainment One the Canadian rights to its 235-strong feature film library.

The sale to Bergstein forced ThinkFilm to put its Canadian assets on the auction block to comply with foreign ownership rules.

Entertainment One, like ThinkFilm based in Toronto, will acquire the 235 features for the remainder of the term that ThinkFilm owns the pictures. Entertainment One now has more than 700 films in its catalog.

The ThinkFilm library includes a host of Sony Pictures Classics titles including Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” Pedro Almodovar’s “All About My Mother,” Ed Harris’ “Pollock” and Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown.”

Patrice Theroux, head of filmed entertainment at Entertainment One, said that about 75 of the ThinkFilm titles are ripe for full DVD exploitation, while another 75 will be aimed at the broadcast market.

As part of the pact, Seville Entertainment, Entertainment One’s newly acquired Canadian film distributor, will release between eight and 12 ThinkFilm theatrical titles each year through 2010.

Upcoming ThinkFilm titles include Paul Schrader’s “The Walker,” Jieho Lee’s “The Air I Breathe” and two documentaries: “Nanking,” directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, and Alex Gibney’s “Taxi to the Dark Side.”

Theroux said that Seville will annually get another 12 straight-to-DVD titles from ThinkFilm.

“The synergy for us is being able to continue to exploit the ThinkFilm library and release the new titles on theatrical and DVD using Seville, which allows us to generate revenue at a reduced cost compared to what ThinkFilm incurred to do it themselves,” Theroux said.

ThinkFilm, formed in 2001 by former Lionsgate executives, remains based in Toronto with company founder and CEO Jeff Sackman at the helm. But it is largely run out of New York by theatrical distribution head Mark Urman.

In addition to Montreal-based Seville, Entertainment One also acquired European distributor RCV Entertainment BV last year, part of a plan to create an international distribution powerhouse.

Entertainment One last week announced that it will release titles from Los Angeles-based Yari Film Group in Canada. It also has a supply agreement with Summit Entertainment.

Source: Hollywood Reporter