Head Gear + Beyond = Bankside Films

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LONDON -- U.K.-based production and finance banner Head Gear Films has absorbed the management team of Beyond Films in kickstarting new international sales outfit Bankside Films, Head Gear said Tuesday.

Head Gear founders -- Phil Hunt, Greg Cruttwell and Compton Ross -- pacted with Beyond veterans Hilary Davis and Stephen Kelliher in co-founding the new unit.

Davis becomes co-managing director of Bankside, with Kelliher taking on the role of director, sales and marketing.

Hunt, who will co-manage the startup arm, said that setting up the new sales unit was part of an overall strategy to build "a vertically integrated film business."

"Expanding in 2006 from producing to a financing arm and now with the launch of the sales company, we are delighted to have attracted such leaders in their field as Hilary and Stephen to head up our new division," Hunt said.

Joining them at Bankside is former Beyond executive Antonio Salas, who takes up the reins as sales and acquisitions assistant, and Maria Carrion, who will coordinate acquisitions for the new company while continuing in her duties as Head Gear production boss.

Said Davis and Kelliher in a statement: "With such strong financial backing, we are confident about being able to attract high-profile commercial films for international release."

The sales arm will look to rep movies in the international marketplace and also sell rights to Head Gear output on a case-by-case basis, the company said. No financial details were revealed.

Head Gear's production fund has pumped cash into such films as Anthony Byrne's "How About You," starring Vanessa Redgrave, Imelda Staunton, Joss Ackland and Hayley Atwell; last year's San Sebastian Film Festival opener "Ghosts," directed by Nick Broomfield; and "Shake Hands With The Devil," directed by Roger Spottiswoode.

Earlier last year, Head Gear pacted with Beyond in an agreement to partner on projects, with Beyond handling sales duties on Head Gear-sourced projects with budgets of up to $5 million (HR 2/15).

Head Gear produced Jorge Ramirez-Suarez's "Rabbit on the Moon" (Conejo en la Luna), which screened in a Berlinale special screening slot in 2005 (HR 2/16/05).

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