Yari taps 3 to beef up distribution


As it ramps up its distribution operations in the wake of its successful release of "The Illusionist," Yari Film Group Releasing is adding three new executives to its team.

Bob Yari said Wednesday that Dennis O'Connor has been named senior marketing consultant, Bill Soady has been appointed executive vp distribution, and Joseph M. Shimer will serve as vp distribution.

O'Connor most recently was co-head of marketing for Picturehouse, the joint venture between HBO and New Line Cinema. As part of that company's startup team, he was involved in all aspects of the company's marketing, distribution and acquisition efforts and oversaw the campaigns for such films as "A Prairie Home Companion" and "Pan's Labyrinth." He also has held posts at HBO Films, United Artists and Universal Focus.

Soady has served exec stints at Cineplex Galaxy, Polygram Films, Showscan Entertainment, Tri-Star Pictures/Sony and MCA/Universal Pictures.

Shimer's previous post was as vp theatrical distribution at Lionsgate Entertainment.

O'Connor, Soady and Shimer join the marketing and distribution team that includes Susie Hayasaka, vp publicity; Rita Lambert, vp marketing and film finance; Suzanne Hansen, director of exhibitor relations; and Matt Griswold, director of online operations.

Since its creation in 2002, the Yari Film Group has produced such films as "The Matador," "Prime" and the Oscar-winning "Crash."

In February, it moved into theatrical distribution with "Winter Passing," followed by "Find Me Guilty" and "Illusionist." Its upcoming releases include "First Snow," starring Guy Pearce and Piper Perabo; "Even Money," with an ensemble cast including Danny DeVito, Kim Basinger and Kelsey Grammer; and "Gray Matters," starring Heather Graham, Tom Cavanagh and Bridget Moynahan.