Horwits takes reins at River Road

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NEW YORK -- Mitch Horwits has been hired as president of indie production/financing outfit River Road Entertainment.

Horwits will report to River Road founder and CEO Bill Pohlad, whose company produced Focus Features' top grosser "Brokeback Mountain" and Picturehouse's "A Prairie Home Companion." Working from Los Angeles, the former Spelling Films president will oversee day-to-day management while developing business and partnerships with studios and distributors.

River Road's core execs -- Robin Schorr, Frank Hildebrand and Deborah Zipser -- will now report to Horwits. Pohlad will continue to provide the overall strategic and creative direction for the company.

Horwits began his six-year stint at Spelling in 1993, helping it grow from a sales company handling one film a year to a full-service production and distribution company handling six films a year. Features developed under his tenure include Bryan Singer's "The Usual Suspects," Frank Oz's "In and Out," the Wachowskis' "Bound," Sidney Lumet's "Night Falls on Manhattan," Richard Attenborough's "Shadowlands" and Robert Altman's "Short Cuts."

The exec joined Constantin Film in 2000 as a producer and president supervising all English-language productions, including the "Resident Evil" franchise. His previous posts include vp international distribution at Universal, vp worldwide acquisitions at Warner Bros. and vp acquisitions and co-productions at CBS/Fox Home Video.

"Mitch brings a wealth of experience to the company in a variety of areas: sales, distribution, marketing and production," Pohlad said. "He's a dynamic leader, and we're thrilled to have him join our team in such a valuable capacity."

Upcoming River Road productions set for release in the next month are Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" for Paramount Vantage and Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution" for Focus Features.
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