Jeff Sackman leaving ThinkFilm

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NEW YORK -- ThinkFilm president Jeff Sackman is leaving the indie distributor he co-founded seven years ago, with plans for his Toronto office to be shuttered.

While it remains unclear whether Sackman was sacked or left on his own accord, the writing for his departure had been on the wall since David Bergstein and Ron Tudor's Capco Group bought the company for $25 million in fall 2006.

Bergstein, who was unavailable for comment, told several sources during the past few months that he intended to base the company in New York with an expansion to Los Angeles.

When Capco purchased the company, it was forced to arrange an exclusive output deal with Canadian distributor Entertainment One and Seville Pictures to comply with Canada's laws on foreign-owned companies.

When the purchase was arranged, Capco planned to add several $15 million-$20 million films to ThinkFilm's annual slate and create a wider distribution network through its London-based film financing and sales outfit Capitol Films. A few promising projects have emerged, notably the romance "Blue Valentine," starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, but the company has remained largely an acquisitions-based outfit.

ThinkFilm purchased more features than most distributors from the recent Toronto and Sundance film festivals amid a lackluster sales environment, and saw its 2007 Tribeca pickup "Taxi to the Dark Side" win a best docu Oscar, but Sackman was not as actively involved in the acquisitions-driven slate as his U.S. colleagues. ThinkFilm made $11.3 million at the domestic boxoffice last year.

No word was available on Sackman's plans.
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