Elevation Pictures Hires Naveen Prasad as Distribution Chief (Exclusive)

The former Alliance Films and eOne exec's first order of business is overseeing a growing film release slate after Berlin and Cannes.

TORONTO -- Naveen Prasad has joined Elevation Pictures, the Canadian indie distributor backed by Teddy Schwarzman's Black Bear Pictures.

Prasad left Entertainment One's Canadian film division in September 2013 as senior vp. He will become a key building block at Elevation as his noncompete period ends.

As executive vp and general manager, Prasad will oversee distribution, sales and operations, which includes generating ancillary channels for movie product such as pay TV, VOD, SVOD, EST and broadcast TV.

His hire marks a reunion, as co-presidents Laurie May and Noah Segal worked together at Lionsgate and then Alliance Films, as did Prasad.

Entertainment One subsequently acquired Alliance Films to become Canada's largest indie distributor, creating a gap in the middle of the market that Elevation, Mongrel Media, VVS, D Films, Remstar Films and others are looking to fill.

"This will elevate us above the noise," Elevation's May said of Prasad's hire, given his industry relationships and expertise. 

Launched in September 2013, Elevation is eyeing an annual slate of 15 to 25 commercial and indie movies.

The indie outfit's recent releases include the genre film Oculus released in the U.S. by Relativity Media, and Locke, which was launched stateside by A24.

Upcoming Elevation projects include The Imitation Game, to be handled by The Weinstein Co. in the U.S., A Most Violent Year, which has an A24 Films stateside release, and Universal Studio's Incarnate, directed by Brad Peyton.

Other upcoming films include Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler, Nima Nourizadeh's American Ultra, and John Hillcoat's Triple Nine.

Elevation also acquired the local rights to the Canadian film Regression from director Alejandro Amenabar. It stars Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson. The Weinstein Co. is releasing Regression stateside.

Elevation was busy at Cannes, having acquired American Express, directed by Nash Edgerton and starring Charlize Theron, and John Carney's Sing Street, while also partnering with Remstar Films to pick up the Canadian rights to Oscar-winner Michel Hazanavicius' The Search.