Holdom sets up distribution firm in Italy

'Bank Job' to be La Pantera's inaugural release

LONDON -- 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 biz analyst and consultant Mark Holdom's La Pantera.

New Zealand native Holdom 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 various titles with other buyers such 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.

Holdom snapped up the rights from sales agent Arclight after a deal he helped broker for the title with DNC fell through when the Italian outfit failed to complete the buy.

"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, Holdom 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 at the Berlin International Film Festival this year. Holdum said he in negotiations with Germany's Neue Visionen to handle the physical booking and rollout of "Elite" in the territory and plans to schedule it for next year's Berlin fest to tie in with its success at the 2008 edition.

Holdom has offices in Rome and Berlin and is a partner in U.K.-based DVD distributor  iCandy.