SPE creates int'l production unit


In response to the growing importance of the global cinema marketplace, Sony Pictures Entertainment has created an international motion picture production department, which will be led by Gareth Wigan and Deborah Schindler.

Schindler, the former head of Red Om Films, has been upped to president of the new division and will join Wigan in running it. Wigan, who is vice chairman of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, has been responsible for building the studio's local-language business over the past decade.

In their new posts, Wigan and Schindler will be involved with the studio's recently announced film ventures in India and Russia. The new department is expected to expand the studio's international production initiatives.

SPE, which is currently active in motion picture production in China, Spain, France and Mexico, is the only Hollywood studio to maintain stand-alone, local-language production units throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America, and it has helped bring such hits as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Snatch" and "Kung Fu Hustle" to the global market.

"As a global company, this move reflects our commitment to artists and filmmakers who are telling stories in their own language for audiences in their own countries as well as around the world," SPE co-chairman Amy Pascal said.

SPE chairman and CEO Michael Lynton said the move is consistent with the studio's financial and artistic goals over the next several years.

"With the maturation of this business, Gareth asked Deb to join him and help us take our international movie production to the next level," he said.

Wigan and Schindler will report to Lynton and Pascal. Wigan will continue to be based at SPE's Culver City studio while Schindler works in the SPE offices in New York.

Schindler has run the East Coast motion picture production and development operation for Columbia Pictures since 2005. Her producing credits include "Maid in Manhattan," "Mona Lisa Smile," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and "Waiting to Exhale."