Mickie to top Maximum int'l

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Charlotte Mickie, who led North American operations at Dreamachine, on Tuesday was named head of Maximum Films International, the new Canadian film sales firm launched by veteran movie producer Robert Lantos.

As managing director of Toronto-based Maximum, Mickie will buy and sell first-run films internationally for theatrical release. The company's initial slate includes a host of films from Lantos' Serendipity Point Films shingle, including Jeremy Podeswa's "Fugitive Pieces," which is scheduled to open next week's Toronto International Film Festival.

Other titles include Randall Cole's "Real Time," starring Randy Quaid and Jay Baruchel; Atom Egoyan's "Adoration"; Guy Maddin's "My Winnipeg"; and Santosh Sivan's "Before the Rains," which stars Linus Roache and Rahul Bose.

Lantos also is launching Maximum Film Distribution, a Toronto-based movie releasing company, with Tony Cianciotta on board as managing director for English-speaking Canada. The new shingle recently signed an output deal with U.S.-based IFC Films, grabbing Canadian rights to its feature films.

Maximum's initial Canadian release slate includes "Fugitive Pieces," Cannes award winner "Jellyfish," Kenneth Branagh's "The Magic Flute" and Sophie Barthes' "Cold Souls."

Lantos' return to the distribution game follows his sale last year of a nearly 50% stake in ThinkFilm. The move came after the North American distribution company was sold by founder and CEO Jeff Sackman to Los Angeles-based film financier David Bergstein.

Mickie and Cianciotta worked under Lantos at Canadian film and TV producer Alliance Communications until that company was sold in 1998 to rival Atlantis Communications. Lantos subsequently formed Serendipity Point Films as a boutique movie producer.

Mickie stayed on at the merged Alliance Atlantis as managing director of motion picture sales, acquiring such titles as "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 landed at Paris-based Celluloid Dreams in April 2004, where she handled film sales responsibilities as managing director so company founder Hengameh Panahi could focus on production.

"I have enormous respect for Robert, and it is wonderful to join a company where I know and adore so many of the people involved," Mickie said Tuesday.

The launch of Maximum's film acquisition and releasing arms comes as the Canadian distribution sector is undergoing a massive shake-up following the purchase of Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution, the country's largest indie film distributor, by Goldman Sachs & Co.

Victor Loewy, a former longtime business partner with Lantos, is negotiating with Goldman Sachs to become CEO of Motion Picture Distribution, and former MPD executive Patrice Theroux recently surfaced to move specialty distributor Entertainment One into theatrical distribution with the acquisition of Montreal-based movie distributor Seville Entertainment.
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