Berney feted with Mogul nod

4:00 AM PST 01/22/2008 by Gregg Goldstein, AP

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PARK CITY -- A large crowd packed the Snow Park Lodge in Deer Park on Sunday night to applaud Picturehouse president Bob Berney as he received the second annual Indie Mogul Award.

The veteran distributor/film marketer/exhibitor was presented with the honor by The Hollywood Reporter vp/associate publisher sales and marketing Rose Einstein, who noted such hits as Newmarket's "The Passion of the Christ," IFC Films' "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and Picturehouse's "Pan's Labyrinth" as just some testaments to Berney's marketing skill.

"In all his years in the business, he's never forgotten how to get in touch with an audience," she said at the event, sponsored by THR and Fuji Film.

Berney began his career operating a Dallas art house theater before moving into distribution. He demonstrated an ability to find audiences for unusual fare with Newmarket's "Memento" in 2001. Moving on to IFC Films, he expanded the audience for Spanish-language features with 2002's "Y tu mama tambien" and turned "Big Fat Greek Wedding" into an indie hit. In 2004, he helped Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" outgross expectations.

Since 2005, he has headed Picturehouse, releasing such titles as Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion," "Pan's Labyrinth," "La Vie en Rose" and "The Orphanage."

Berney was characteristically modest Sunday, thanking his teams over the years. "Let's toast to our staff at Picturehouse and our parent companies, New Line Cinema and HBO," Berney said to the crowd. Now everyone go back and party some more!"

Attendees at the event included the honoree's wife, Film Society of Lincoln Center executive Jeanne Berney, THR senior vp and publishing director Eric Mika, actorAlan Rickman, producer Morris Ruskin and execs from Paramount, ThinkFilm, Shoreline and Porchlight.

Last year's inaugural Indie Mogul Award went to Sony Pictures Classics co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard.
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