New Lionsgate mandate

Lee-Kim tapped int'l president

Lionsgate is wasting no time in tweaking its international film sales operation in the wake of its $56 million buyout of Mandate Pictures and the appointment of the latter's co-founder Joe Drake to lead the motion picture operation.

The company will announce this week that Helen Lee-Kim, a Mandate sales executive for the past four years, has been tapped as Lionsgate's president of international, while Stephanie Denton, who has held that title for the past 21⁄2 years, will exit the mini-major. Denton, who is expected to remain in the business, boasts a strong background in foreign sales, including long stints at Initial and before that Lakeshore.

The appointment suggests that Drake, who already has moved into Lionsgate's Santa Monica offices, will quickly put his stamp on the company's film efforts.

"Helen not only has superb relationships and is a really good salesperson, she's also an extraordinary leader," Drake said. It's not just about having great taste and evaluating projects, but about having someone who can become a partner in taking the company to the next level, he added.

Lee-Kim was vp international sales at Mandate and has been in the foreign-distribution trenches since her days at American Film Market parent company IFTA in the late 1990s. She has repped about 30 films in the past three years, including "Stranger Than Fiction" and "Sleuth."

Drake also said that Denton's departure was her choice and that he did not envision wholesale changes in the film area. (Lionsgate has several hundred employees, Mandate fewer than 50.)

Lionsgate acquired Mandate two weeks ago in a cash and stock deal that saw Drake, one of the company's three founders, return to the fold as co-COO and president of Lionsgate's motion picture group. In his new role, he oversees theatrical production, distribution, marketing, acquisitions and international theatrical operations. Drake continues as CEO of the Beverly Hills-based Mandate.

The acquisition reflects continuing growth at Lionsgate as it moves further into international distribution, Lionsgate co-chairman and CEO Jon Feltheimer said at the time of the acquisition. He added that it will allow for a more streamlined realignment of the Lionsgate motion picture team, with Lionsgate theatrical films president Tom Ortenberg, production president Michael Paseornek, acquisitions, TV and co-productions president Peter Block and now Lee-Kim reporting to Drake.

In addition to producing movies, Mandate has handled international sales and distribution for its own projects as well as for pictures from outside production companies including the upcoming "Because I Said So" and "White Jazz." Drake said the Mandate banner still would be used internationally for sales of its third-party picture acquisitions.

Lionsgate has the Western "3:10 to Yuma" and the date comedy "Good Luck Chuck" in domestic release.
comments powered by Disqus