By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

EMIL ELMÉR JOINS FOCUS FEATURES AS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL SALES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LONDON, March 19, 2012 – Emil Elmér is joining Focus Features as senior vice president, international sales. Focus Features International (FFI) co-president Alison Thompson made the announcement today.

Mr. Elmér will report to Ms. Thompson at the FFI offices in London, where he will be based beginning this week. FFI is readying for the Cannes International Film Festival world premiere, as the opening-night film, of Moonrise Kingdom, the new feature from Wes Anderson, starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman; as well as overseas sales at the Festival for several new movies, including the untitled international suspense thriller starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall for director John Crowley, which begins production in the U.K. next month.

Ms. Thompson said, “Having first-hand experience of working with Emil, I’ve long been impressed by his outstanding knowledge and thorough approach to the international business. He has the wealth of experience that is an absolute necessity in our business, and his expertise and valuable relationships will bolster the company as we celebrate Focus’s 10-year anniversary and field a particularly exciting slate of movies this year.”

Mr. Elmér added, “Over the last decade, Focus has built an outstanding reputation as one of the world leaders in independent global cinema. They continue to be at the cutting edge of the creative and financial evolution of the business, and I’m proud to be joining the team to work with their incredible roster of films and filmmakers.”

The executive began his career at Miramax Films, where he spent over eight years and was variously part of the company’s acquisitions, production, and marketing and publicity departments. Long based in the U.K., he was involved in the company’s acquisitions of the multi-Academy Award-nominated Amélie andLes Choristes (The Chorus) and the Oscar-winning The Barbarian Invasions, among other titles.

More recently, he was for three years head of acquisitions for Pathé Distribution, where he tracked projects worldwide for distribution in the U.K.; and was a full-time consultant for a film financing company, working on projects from the production phase through the world sales process. A native of Sweden, Mr. Elmér holds a BA in Social Science from Lund University.

Focus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.

One of the world’s leading international sales agents, FFI also encompasses international distribution, marketing and publicity. FFI has the special ability to tailor international distribution to suit each film, whether licensing distribution rights to independent companies, or securing distribution through Universal Pictures International.

FFI distributes up to 10 titles annually, approximately half of which are from Focus’ considerable domestic production/release slate and half of which come from partners across the globe. In addition to those previously mentioned titles, the FFI slate includes Woody Allen’s Nero Fiddled, starring Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Ellen Page;Arthur Newman, Golf Pro, starring Colin Firth and Emily Blunt for director Dante Ariola; Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Ruairi Robinson’s thriller The Last Days on Mars; Andrew Adamson’s drama Mr. Pip, based on the celebrated novel and starring Hugh Laurie; the historical tale Hyde Park on Hudson, directed by Roger Michell and starring Academy Award nominees Bill Murray and Laura Linney; and the epic fantasy Cloud Atlas, starring two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks for writer-directors Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski.

Focus Features, Focus Features International, and Universal Pictures International are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
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