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Mendes throws 'Curve' for Mandate

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CANNES -- U.S. producer-distributor Mandate Pictures is expanding into the home entertainment sphere with the launch of Grindstone Entertainment Group and the acquisition of 226 first- and second-run feature films. The deal, announced Friday at the Festival de Cannes, also covers the production of up to six films per year that are specifically targeted for distribution in the home entertainment, online and mobile marketplaces.

Mandate also said Friday that Eva Mendes has signed on to star in "Curve," a thriller from producer Neal Moritz's Original Film and Benderspink. Penned by Jamie Vanderbilt ("Zodiac"), the film is being produced by Moritz and Original's Toby Jaffe alongside Benderspink's Chris Bender and JC Spink. Mendes and producing partner George Augusto will executive produce with Benderspink's Mason Novick.

Mandate Pictures is handling foreign sales for the film at Cannes.

The story centers on a woman's struggle to survive when she finds herself at the mercy of a psychopathic killer after taking a detour into the backwoods of a remote area just outside of New York.

Mendes, who most recently starred in Sony's Ghost Rider, next co-stars in James Gray's "We Own the Night," which will premiere at Cannes. She is repped by CAA, Management 360 and the law firm Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.

Mandate has tapped two executives to run Grindstone. Barry Brooker, former president and COO of Saturn Home Entertainment and of Lionsgate Home Entertainment, has been named Grindstone's president and CEO. Stan Wertlieb will work closely with Brooker in targeting programming for Grindstone.

"We have been searching for that combination of an exceptional management team and a library with growth potential to expand our business into the home entertainment and new media markets," Mandate president and owner Joe Drake said. "Barry and Stan have an extraordinary track record in acquiring, managing and building real assets."

Brooker said Grindstone will team with studios and indies to release genre-specific programming in the home entertainment marketplace. Grindstone is aiming to will be make acquisitions at Cannes for its 2007 slate.

Mandate CFO Brian Goldsmith and vp corporate development Jennifer Hollingsworth brokered the deal on behalf of the company, while Steve Monas from Business Affairs Inc. repped Brooker.