Annapurna Pictures COO Paul Hanson to Launch Indie Film Company Covert Media
Private equity fund Media Content Capital, which owns QED, is fully funding the indie film production, financing and distribution company.
Annapurna Pictures COO Paul Hanson is launching Covert Media, an independent film production, financing and distribution company based in Los Angeles. The new company will be backed by private equity fund Media Content Capital.
MCC, the global media fund led by financiers Sasha Shapiro and Anton Lessine, has committed to fully financing the new venture, adding it to its growing portfolio of film, TV and digital media assets that include QED (Shapiro also worked for 14 years as a senior international executive at Warner Bros.). Hanson, former co-founder and chief operating officer of QED International, will serve as Covert Media's co-founder and CEO.
With an initial mandate to produce three to four films per year in the $10 million-$50 million budget range, Covert Media will focus on high-quality, commercial content with global appeal. The company also plans to broaden its scope to include episodic TV content.
As it ramps up its staffing and production slate, Covert will service and support the library of and upcoming projects for QED, including Barry Levinson’s comedy Rock the Kasbah, starring Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Zooey Deschanel and Kate Hudson; The Family Fang, directed by Jason Bateman, who co-stars with Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken; Franny, directed by Andrew Renzi and starring Richard Gere, Dakota Fanning and Theo James; Oren Moverman's Time Out of Mind, also starring Gere; and the thriller Strange but True, starring Imogen Poots, Bill Paxton and Melissa Leo.
Hanson segues to Covert Media from Annapurna, where he served as COO for the past two years. Before that, Hanson co-founded and was COO of QED, where he oversaw all aspects of the company including film financing, production and distribution activities. At QED he managed its slate of productions and sales agency projects, built the executive team and negotiated the company’s various production financing deals with lenders and third-party equity investors. Notable projects included Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, Oliver Stone’s W., John Turturro’s Fading Gigolo, David Ayer’s Sabotage and Richard Shepard’s The Hunting Party. His previous roles include stints at literary management company Key Creatives, Artisan Entertainment and Broadview International.
“I appreciate the support of Anton, Sasha and MCC, and look forward to building this new company into a respected entertainment brand in the years ahead,” Hanson said
Added Shapiro and Lessine in a statement: “Paul has always been known as an extremely smart, hardworking professional who gets things done while fostering great relationships with talent. We’re pleased to help launch Covert Media and are excited about how Paul will shape the company down the road."