Cannes: Sales Company Launches With Clive Owen Comedy

Clive Owen Headshot 2011
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International Film Trust, a joint venture of Benaroya Pictures and Miscellaneous Entertainment, will be selling "King of the Castle" and the acquired horror thriller "Exists" around the world.

International Film Trust is launching at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival as a sales company representing theatrical features produced by Benaroya Pictures and Miscellaneous Entertainment on a nonexclusive basis as well as other productions.

In making the announcement Thursday, Michael Benaroya and Miscellaneous principals D. Todd Shepherd and George Waud said they have created a $15 million fund to acquire other movies and provide minimum guarantees to third-party productions that they represent for international sales.

The first two movies they will be selling around the world are the comedy King of the Castle, starring Clive Owen and produced by Benaroya; and the horror thriller Exists, which Miscellaneous acquired in postproduction.  

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In addition to Owen, who is not known for his work in comedies, Castle also stars Jacki Weaver in the story of a philanderer who is blackmailed by a teenager. It is written and directed by Alessandro Tanaka and Brian Gatewood, who did The Sitter. Benaroya and Jonathan Gordon (Silver Linings Playbook) are producing. Production is scheduled to start in the fall in Georgia.

Exists is about friends who are stalked by the legendary Bigfoot when they venture into the woods in Texas for a party weekend. It is being directed by Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project) and was written by Jamie Nash. The creatures come from Spectral Motion, whose credits include Pacific Rim and Hellboy 1 & 2.

Exists is the second co-production between Court Five and Haxan Films. The producers are Robin Cowie, Jane Fleming, Mark Ordesky and Andy Jenkins. The executive producers are Reed Frerichs, Gregg Hale, Waud and Shepherd.

Ariel Veneziano has joined IFT to oversee sales, acquisitions, distribution and marketing. He has worked at Alliance Atlantis Communications and GreeneStreet Films International and was president of Icon Entertainment International. He was most recently president of his own sales company, Recreation Media.

Christian De Gallegos has been named IFT head of sales. He most recently was vp sales and distribution at Voltage Pictures.

Peter Wetherell has joined IFT as head of operations. He has more than 10 years experience in international sales, and in 1996 he formed Magus Entertainment to provide advisory and producing services.

The deal for Exists was made on behalf of the producers by WME Global and attorney Stuart Rosenthal at Bloom Hergott.

“As producers now acting as sales agents, we know what is the most important service to provide to our producing partners -- reliable estimates and a sound distribution strategy,” Benaroya said. “These core values are the backbone of IFT and will set us apart from other companies in the market. We are a sales company run by producers for producers.”

“Having worked with Michael on Parts Per Billion, we were kindred spirits in wanting to find a good partner to represent our films,” Shepherd and Waud said in a joint statement. “By launching IFT, we have found a way to share our goals with other top producers in town, and under Ariel’s guiding hand, we feel we have made the first step in the right direction.”

“The diverse and highly skilled pool of producers behind this exciting new operation has demonstrated a continued ability to attract fresh material and top talent,” Veneziano said, “while maintaining responsible budgets -- a perfect recipe to stand out in today's demanding worldwide marketplace.”