August 19, 2004
By Gavin Edwards

“We haven’t gone looking for controversy,” insists Bob Berney, president of Newmarket Films. Nevertheless, as distributor of The Passion of the Christ, the company found itself immersed in controversy up to its stigmata, and Berney now has a reputation as a man who can find an audience for the most difficult films. His next problem child: The Woodsman, starring Kevin Bacon as a convicted pedophile. Previously, Berney managed Texas movie theaters and IFC Films, where he was responsible for acquiring a cash cow called My Big Fat Greek Wedding. At Newmarket his other releases have included Whale Rider and Monster. Berney has been dealing with some of the traditional pitfalls of success, such as being careful not to expand too quickly. He’s also coping with some more unusual hazards, such as being chased around the world by a guy who made a movie about an operatic street sweeper. And since the success of The Passion of the Christ, he has been inundated with pitches for other religious movies. Newmarket hasn’t financed any of them yet, he says: “Unfortunately, they have to be good.”