Old face in new place for distrib'n

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The Italian indie distribution sector will have a new but familiar face on the scene in the new year with the launch of veteran movie business analyst and consultant Mark Holdum's La Pantera.

New Zealand native Holdum has been in Italy for more than four years, spending much of that time consulting for a series of local distributors including DNC Entertainment and brokering deals on titles with such other buyers as Mikado and Mondo.

He plans to launch his startup with the release of Roger Donaldson's "The Bank Job," starring Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows. Holdum snapped up the rights from sales agent Arclight after a deal he helped broker for the title with DNC fell through.

"Bank Job" will serve as the opening-night film at the Curmayeur Film Festival on Dec. 4, and La Pantera plans to roll it out in cinemas at the end of March. Holdum said he is in final negotiations with Italian broadcaster RAI to take television rights to help offset the costs of the release.

Pantera has attracted backing from the Banca di Roma and has the support of "one high-net-worth investor" for the venture, Holdum said.

The entrepreneur also has sealed a deal with the Weinstein Co. to secure German rights to Jose Padilha's "The Elite Squad," which won the Golden Bear this year at the Berlin International Film Festival. (partialdiff)
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