Indie Hart parts with Sharp


NEW YORK -- After a decade as a top indie film production and video distribution outfit, Hart Sharp Entertainment founders John Hart and Jeffrey Sharp are heading their separate ways. Hart is forming the new film and theater production company Evamere.

Evamere will launch production on two films this year: Todd Solondz's dark comedy of sexual obsession, "Life During Wartime," and the James Solomon-penned biopic of a woman involved in the Abraham Lincoln assassination, "The Conspirator."

Other new projects include "Alice Goes to Harlem," a potential animated feature that finds Alice in Wonderland meeting such artists as the Nicholas Brothers and Whoopi Goldberg on a journey celebrating the Harlem Renaissance. Geoffrey Holder and Hilton Als are in talks to write the screenplay. Also set for 2008 is "Come Like Shadows," a surreal period adaptation of "Macbeth," with John Maybury in negotiations to direct.

Hart will oversee management of the company's existing private-equity funds, True Film Fund I and II, which will continue to finance Hart Sharp projects that Hart will now produce. These include "Revolutionary Road," a BBC Films co-production based on Richard Yates' novel, and Tommy O'Haver's adaptation of Ed Wintle's "Auntie Mame"-style memoir "Breakfast With Tiffany."

Hart will shepherd his former company's library of 15 films, which includes "Boys Don't Cry," "The Night Listener," "Proof" and "Nicholas Nickleby." He said he plans to work with Sloss Law founder John Sloss to sell the company's 110-plus Hart Sharp Video catalog to an outside buyer or pass it on to one or more of his fellow Hart Sharp principals -- Sharp, Michael Hogan and Robert Kessel.

Sharp is producing Hart Sharp's final film, Lajos Koltai's "Evening," for Focus Features. Writer Michael Cunningham's adaptation of Susan Minot's novel stars Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Natasha Richardson and Patrick Wilson. Kessell was hired last month as executive vp production and acquisitions at Overture Films.

"Jeff and I always focused on two different sides of the company," Hart said. "Jeff was focused on production, and I felt my role was to promote production by expanding into video and ultimately distribution." Neither felt interested in continuing the video business, Hart added, which was one reason for the company's dissolution.

Hart plans to seek out a distribution deal for Evamere's films and expand on his Broadway producing, which has included such musical revivals as "Chicago," "Guys and Dolls" and "The Who's Tommy."