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Mark Urman is new ThinkFilm head

ThinkFilm co-founder Mark Urman has been promoted to president of the Capco-owned specialty film distributor.

The official boost for the longtime head of U.S. theatrical had been expected for months. Urman has operated as the de facto boss of the company as plans for the Toronto office’s closure were being finalized, well before co-founder Jeff Sackman announced his departure last week.

Capco owner and ThinkFilm chairman David Bergstein purchased the distributor in fall 2006, and Canadian law obligated the company to sell all its north-of-the-border assets. Entertainment One purchased them last month, and now ThinkFilm’s releases will be distributed through EO’s theatrical arm Seville Pictures.

New York will become the new ThinkFilm headquarters under Urman, with accounting and other back-office operations based at Capco’s Los Angeles offices.

Urman said the company plans to continue as it has, adding some in-house productions and taking on some bigger projects while adjusting its release slate to suit the changing independent film marketplace.

Known as one of the more loquacious executives in the business, Urman co-founded ThinkFilm in 2001 after serving as co-president of Lions Gate Films Releasing. Before that, he held publicity and marketing positions at Dennis Davidson Associates, Columbia Pictures, Triumph Films and United Artists.

Source: Hollywood Reporter


NEW YORK, THINKFilm has acquired North American rights to NANKING, the acclaimed documentary that recently had its world premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. The deal was announced by the company’s Theatrical Head, Mark Urman, who plans to release the film in exclusive engagements in late 2007. NANKING is slated to continue on the festival circuit, with its next stop at Silverdocs, among others to be announced shortly.

NANKING, which marks the producing debut of AOL Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis and is directed by the Academy-Award-winning team of Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman ("Twin Towers"), is a powerful reminder of the heartbreaking toll that war takes on the innocent, and a testament to the courage and conviction of a few individuals determined to act in the face of evil. The film tells the story of the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China in the early days of World War II and focuses on the efforts of a small group of unarmed Westerners who established a Safety Zone where over 200,000 Chinese found refuge. 

The events of the film are told through deeply moving interviews with Chinese survivors, archival footage, and chilling testimonies of Japanese soldiers, interwoven with staged readings of the Westerners’ letters and diaries as performed by Jurgen Prochnow, Woody Harrelson, Stephen Dorff, and Mariel Hemingway, among others.

"NANKING is an exceedingly well-crafted and moving historical recreation of a shocking event," says Urman. "We are proud to add it to our roster of first-rate documentaries and believe that, like the best of them, it will move and enlighten audiences for years to come."

"We are thrilled that THINKFilm has come on board to distribute NANKING," says producer Ted Leonsis. "Their track record with documentaries is unparalleled and they share my passion for the subject matter. Recent events in Asia have reminded us that what happened in NANKING 70 years ago this December remains an open wound between China and Japan. If the release of this film, with its antiwar message can help heal that at all, it will be especially gratifying."

NANKING is directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, produced by Ted Leonsis, Bill Guttentag and Michael Jacobs, with story by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, and screenplay by Elisabeth Bentley, Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman.

The deal was negotiated for THINKFilm by President and CEO Jeff Sackman, Head of Theatrical Mark Urman, Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Business Affairs Randy Manis, and CAA on behalf of the filmmakers.