Cannes: 'Black Swan' Producer Strikes First-Look Deal With Paramount

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Brian Oliver

Brian Oliver's new production and financing company is titled New Republic Pictures.

Academy Award-nominated producer Brian Oliver (Black Swan, Hacksaw Ridge) is launching production and financing company New Republic Pictures during the Cannes Film Festival and market.

New Republic has struck a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures, under which the studio may co-finance and distribute certain theatrical features. The banner also unveiled Tuesday that it has signed on to co-finance Paramount's Elton John biographical musical Rocketman, written by Academy Award nominee Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) and to be directed by Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the EagleBohemian Rhapsody).

Oliver previously co-founded production and financing company Cross Creek Pictures. New Republic will be backed by a film fund made up of investors from the U.S., Europe, India and the Middle East. 

Joining Oliver at New Republic are members of his Cross Creek creative team: John Hilary Shepherd will serve as head of development, while Courtney Shepard will be creative executive. New Republic has also hired former Pixomondo head of production BJ Farmer as vp production; Angus Sutherland, formerly of Exclusive Media and IMR International, as vp acquisitions and production; and Matthew Quigg, most recently at Paramount Television, as development coordinator.

"Earlier stops in my career, especially at Propaganda Films and Cross Creek Pictures, allowed me to learn all aspects of production, finance, distribution and marketing, and to construct my own company from that extensive knowledge base in every aspect of the business," Oliver said in a statement. "Building a new company from the ground up was a bit more challenging than I imagined and there have been a couple starts and stops with potential financing partners, but I believe the things I learned throughout this process will allow me to position my investors in even better ways for continued success.”

New Republic made its first spec purchase in December with Green Rush, written by Matt Tente, a character-driven heist thriller set in the world of legal marijuana dispensaries. The shingle is producing the project with Will Packer and James Lopez of Will Packer Productions.

New Republic is also venturing into television with several biographical limited series in development, with the first focusing on Aristotle Onassis. The firm is also developing limited series on the lives of Steve McQueen and Benjamin Franklin.