BERNEY GOES TO NEWMARKET

July 24, 2002
By Ian Mohr

Less than two years after joining IFC Films as senior vp marketing and distribution, Bob Berney hasexited the company to launch the New York-based distribution division of Newmarket Capital Group as partner and president. The yet-to-be named company plans to release eight to 10 films annually under Berney’s auspices, with an initial goal of rolling out four to six films in its first year, according to Newmarket president William Tyrer. Rumblings began last year in the indie film world that financing and production entity Newmarket might be mulling the launch of a distribution channel after the wildly successful release of Christopher Nolan’s “Memento,” which Berney oversaw as a consultant. ┬áTyrer said Tuesday that the strategy behind New Market’s distribution arm will be similar to its even-keeled philosophy of finance and production: “There’s always Berney a danger when you’ve had a success to do something too quickly,” he said. “But we definitely see that there’s an audience for intelligent films out there, as studios pour more money into bigger budget marketing-driven films.” Tyrer added that the new company’s pipeline will be fed half through acquisitions and half through its own productions. No titles have yet been named for release. After “Memento,” which became the indie film overnight success story of last year, Berney continued on a hot streak. During his tenure at IFC, he oversaw two more major indie hits: Joel Zwick’s PG-rated ethnic comedy “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which has RSVPd for more than $30 million as of last weekend, and Alfonso Cuaron’s Mexican road trip film “YTuMarnaTambien,” which has driven to more than $8 million. Networks’ IFC Entertainment, has not found a replacement for Berney, but will now seek a new distribution head. “We have a great foundation, which has been extremely successful for us,” IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring said Tuesday. “Bob was a highly regarded member of our team and, over the past two years, has contributed much to the overall success of our IFC Films distribution effort.” He added that IFC will be “continuing as aggressively as we have” on the acquisitions front.