K5, Stephens unveil int'l sales shingle


LONDON -- German production banner K5 Film has joined forces with former Film Four sales chief Bill Stephens to launch an international sales company, K5 Intl.

Based in London, the new entity plans to handle four to six features a year, with budgets up to $20 million, predominantly in the English language.

It is principally looking for films already completed or in production, but also will consider development projects, a company statement said.

Stephens will be responsible for sales and marketing in London, while K5 heads Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur will handle production and business affairs from the company's headquarters in Munich.

The sales company will officially launch in May at Cannes, but is taking an office at Berlin's European Film Market next month.

Stephens said that the German company has an international outlook on sales. "This is why the emphasis will be on acquiring English-language films," he explained. "Oliver, Daniel and I are more interested in quality than quantity and we will be very selective in both the number of and type of projects we choose. We are also open to non-English language films provided they have the commercial potential we are looking for."

The sales arm will have a non-exclusive relationship with K5's production operation, run by Simon.

Added Baur: "We will be able to utilize the expertise and financial incentives within our own market and combine this with Bill's presence in the U.K., which for us is essential as London is one of the central hubs for international film sales and production."

Simon has produced five films since founding K5 Film in 2001, including his 2006 movie "Happy as One," which premiered in the Panorama sidebar of the Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for best film at the German Academy Film Awards.

Prior to K5, Simon, a graduate of New York University's dramatic writing program, launched the Munich-based script development agency FreeX.

Stephens served for 15 years as director of sales and marketing at the U.K. broadcaster's film arm Film Four. He left to join Renaissance Films, and then started his own consultancy Nexus in 2000.