Toronto: Andrew Karpen's Bleecker Street Announces Key Hires

Courtesy of NBCUniversal
Andrew Karpen

Among them is Jack Foley, who will serve as president of distribution

Andrew Karpen's Bleecker Street has announced its first key hires as the new U.S. distribution company makes its debut at the Toronto Film Festival.

Jack Foley has been named president of distribution, while Myles Bender will serve as president of marketing and creative advertising. Tyler DiNapoli has joined Bleecker Street as president of marketing, media and research, and Kent Sanderson as president of acquisitions and ancillary distribution. All four executives worked with Karpen at Focus Features.

Karpen and his team will be aggressively scouting for films at Toronto. The New York-based Bleecker Street intends to release three to five films next year, and then expand from there.

Karpen announced he was leaving Focus late last year after Peter Schlessel took over as CEO upon the exit of longtime CEO James Schamus. Karpen joined Focus as COO in 2002 before being promoted to president in 2006 and co-CEO in 2012.

Foley, who has worked in the business for three decades, served as president of distribution at Focus. Prior gigs included Miramax, Columbia Pictures and USA Films.

Manoj Bhargava, founder of 5-hour Energy, maker of the popular energy drink, is backing Bleecker Street. His estimated worth is $4 billion.

Bleeker Street has already struck a key deal with Shivani Rawat’s ShivHans Pictures, also backed by Bhargava. Karpen's outfit will handle U.S. distribution for all current and future ShivHans films, including Trumbo; Danny Collins, directed by Dan Fogelman and starring Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale and Christopher Plummer; and Captain Fantastic, directed by Matt Ross and starring Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, Missi Pyle and Steve Zahn.