Maximum deal for indie rights

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Canadian distributor Maximum Films has inked a three-year deal with New York-based dealmaker John Sloss to release movies financed and sold by Cinetic Media in Canada.

Toronto-based Maximum said it has secured the Canadian rights to movies represented by Sloss through 2010. Cinetic Media is known for tracking and identifying little-known indie film pro-jects before financing and selling them, often at festivals.

Maximum similarly aims to get in on the ground floor with pro-jects backed by Cinetic Media. The aim is to help indie filmmakers directly monetize Canadian distribution rights.

Filmmakers traditionally have sold North American rights to a U.S. distributor, who in turn sublicensed the Canadian rights to a domestic distributor with no input from the filmmaker.

Sloss said Maximum Films signed onto "an aggressive and beneficial" deal for filmmakers, with the percentage of Canadian boxoffice revenue flowing back to the producer being "high."

"We're confident that his Lantos distribution company will be successful, and we're thrilled that we've been able to craft such an innovative deal that enables filmmakers and financiers to benefit directly from distribution in Canada," Sloss said of the pact with Maximum Films.

Recent Cinetic titles include Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There," 2929 Prods.' "The Dead" and the 2006 Oscar winner "Little Miss Sunshine."

The Maximum-Cinetic pact was negotiated by Maximum chairman Robert Lantos and legal affairs vp Mark Musselman on behalf of the Canadian distributor, and by Sloss and Matt Littin acting for Cinetic Media.

Lantos launched Maximum Films in August to release movies in Canada and sell films internationally.

The upstart distributor in September signed separate pacts to release movies in Canada from suppliers IFC Films, Fortissimo Films and HDNet/Magnolia Pictures, the latter in partnership with rival Canadian distributor Seville Entertainment.

Movies in the Maximum Films pipeline include Jeremy Podeswa's "Fugitive Pieces," the Festival de Cannes award winner "Jellyfish" from Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen, Kenneth Branagh's "The Magic Flute" and Atom Egoyan's "Adoration."
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