Mickie exits Dreamachine, joins Serendipity

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TORONTO -- Longtime Canadian movie acquisition and sales executive Charlotte Mickie is leaving Dreamachine to join veteran Canadian movie producer Robert Lantos at the Toronto-based Serendipity Point Films.

Mickie's move could signal Serendipity's expansion into distribution -- the company is expected to announce a new initiative in the immediate future -- but neither Lantos nor any of his representatives would comment Tuesday.

Mickie's move follows Lantos' unloading his stake in ThinkFilm late last year when the North American distributor was sold by founder and CEO Jeff Sackman to Los Angeles-based film financier David Bergstein.

Also joining Mickie is Tony Cianciotta, who worked alongside Mickie at Alliance Communications, the Canadian film and TV producer, when Lantos ran that company during the 1990s.

Mickie's new position follows Jeremy Thomas' HanWay Films merging with Celluloid Dreams to create Dreamachine, with offices in London, Paris and Toronto, in early April. Two executives who worked with her during her time at Dreamachine said she seemed unhappy in her new position. "She seemed alienated from what she was doing in Cannes," said one longtime colleague. "She was not her usual self."

One reason for leaving the new company may have been related to its new location. "She was quite adamant about staying in Toronto." the colleague continued. "HanWay was based between London and Paris, and it may have been uncomfortable or excessively difficult to have a company geographically divided." Since the merger, at least six employees have left the company. When contacted to discuss her reasons behind her move Tuesday, Mickie said "no comment."

Mickie worked with her longtime boss Lantos at the Canadian film and TV production outfit Alliance Communications, until that company merged in 1998 with rival Atlantis Communications to form Alliance Atlantis Communications.

Lantos subsequently formed Serendipity Point Films as a boutique movie producer. Mickie stayed on at Alliance Atlantis as managing director of motion picture sales, acquiring titles like "Bowling for Columbine" and "Welcome to the Dollhouse." She left the company in December 2003 when Alliance Atlantis exited the film production and sales business.

Mickie next landed at Paris-based Celluloid Dreams in April 2004, where she handled film sales responsibilities as managing director, based in Toronto, so company founder Hengameh Panahi could focus on production.

Cianciotta left Alliance in 1997 to co-found Vancouver-based movie distributor Red Sky Entertainment. His most recent gig was president of Capri Releasing, the film distribution arm of Toronto-based Capri Films.

ThinkFilm has released Serendipity Point titles in Canada, including Atom Egoyan's "Where the Truth Lies" and Istvan Szabo's "Being Julia."

Upcoming Serendipity titles include Jeremy Podeswa's "Fugitive Pieces," which will begin its festival circuit run at the Toronto International Film Festival in September ande is currently being screened for U.S. distributors by Cinetic Media. The company has two David Cronenberg projects, "Map to the Stars" and "Eastern Promises," which is also due to unspool in Toronto.

Etan Vlessing reported from Toronto; Gregg Goldstein reported from New York.
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