By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Picturehouse Reopens Its Doors With Founder Bob Berney At The Helm

Theatrical Distributor’s First New Release Will Be the Highly Anticipated Feature Film ‘Metallica Through The Never’

Company has Signed Multi-Year Output Deal with Netflix

NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2013 — Picturehouse, the full-service independent film marketing and distribution company started in 2005, is reopening its doors with founder Bob Berney at the helm. Berney will serve as CEO and Jeanne Berney will serve as President of the re-launched company, which will continue to be based in New York.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be back in business under the Picturehouse banner,” said Mr. Berney, who recently acquired the trademark and logo from Warner Bros. “We worked very hard to build it into a brand known for acquiring exciting, challenging and entertaining films from the U.S. and around the world, and helping them find their audiences.”

Picturehouse’s first new release will be Metallica Through The Never, a feature film starring members of the iconic rock band and Dane DeHaan (ChronicleThe Amazing Spider-Man 2). DeHaan plays a young band crew member who is sent out on an urgent mission while the band is playing a rousing live set in front of a sold-out crowd and unexpectedly finds his world turned completely upside down. The film, written and directed by Nimród Antal (KontrollPredators), is due in theaters August 9. One of the bestselling rock acts of all time, Metallica has sold over 105 million albums worldwide.

“Nim and the band have made a film that really captures the spirit of Metallica and their millions of loyal fans,” said Mr. Berney. “It’s an entertaining genre film with a concert inside it, a fun ride featuring an exciting young actor, Dane DeHaan. It’s a very cool project to reboot Picturehouse with.”

Added Metallica drummer and founding member Lars Ulrich: “Metallica’s way of doing things is to jump into unexplored creative endeavors with no safety net whatsoever. Putting this movie together for the last couple of years has been a pretty wild ride, and we’ve definitely done our share of flying without a net!  Bringing Bob and Jeanne and the new Picturehouse team in at this point provides us with a much needed level of security for the distribution of the film. Their spirit of independence and desire to work outside the box is something we can relate to in every way, and this makes them both a welcome addition and a natural fit in the Metallica family.”

Picturehouse will acquire, market and theatrically distribute independent films from the U.S. and around the world. The company expects to release two or three films this year, increasing its output to four or five in 2014 and six or seven in subsequent years.

The company recently signed an exclusive, multi-year output deal with Netflix, the world’s leading Internet television network.  Picturehouse films will come to Netflix exclusively in the United States shortly after theatrical release.

“Bob and Jeanne are legendary tastemakers and innovators who were early partners with Netflix in bringing amazing movies like Pan’s Labyrinth and La Vie en Rose to our service,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “Netflix members love independent films and the Berneys have indisputably great taste.”

In addition, Picturehouse has secured a first look relationship with Warner Bros. Pictures International for films to which it has international distribution rights.

Mr. Berney headed the company when it was originally formed in April 2005 as a joint venture between HBO and New Line Cinema. Under his leadership, Picturehouse acquired and released such acclaimed features as Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (winner of three Academy Awards);Olivier Dahan’s La Vie en Rose (winner of two Academy Awards, including best actress for Marion Cotillard); Sergei Bodrov’s Mongol; Patricia Rozema’s Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; Robert Altman’sA Prairie Home Companion; and Seth Gordon’s documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. When Time Warner folded the operations of New Line and Picturehouse into the Warner Bros. family, the brand continued to live on through the home entertainment and television releases of the films.

Mr. Berney, who has founded and operated some of the most successful independent film distribution and marketing companies of the last decade, has overseen the U.S. theatrical releases of blockbusters such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding and The Passion of the Christ as well as critically hailed films including Christopher Nolan’s Memento, Alfonso Cuaron’s Y Tu Mamá También and Niki Caro’s Whale Rider.

Most recently, Mr. Berney co-founded and served as President, Theatrical Distribution of FilmDistrict, a multi-faceted acquisition, distribution, production and financing company, whose initial releases,Insidious, Soul Surfer, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark and Drive, grossed over $150 million in domestic box office. Previously, as CEO of Apparition, Berney presided over the release of Bright StarBoondock Saints 2: All Saints DayThe Young Victoria and The Runaways.

Mr. Berney also served as President and Partner at Newmarket Films, releasing numerous features including Mel Gibson’s $370 million-grossing The Passion of the ChristMonster, for which Charlize Theron won the Best Actress Academy Award; and Whale Rider, a breakthrough family film that also received a Best Actress nomination. Newmarket sold its distribution operation to Time Warner as part of the formation of Picturehouse. Before that, Berney ran IFC Films, where he acquired and oversaw the release of films including the $240-million surprise hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Y Tu Mamá También.

Entertainment marketing veteran Jeanne Berney most recently served as Executive Vice President of Marketing at FilmDistrict. Before that, she was Executive Vice President of Marketing and Administration for Apparition.

Ms. Berney also served as Director of Public Relations and Marketing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, where she was responsible for the campaigns for all of the Society’s year-round programs. Previously, Ms. Berney ran the Film and Digital Entertainment Group at Rogers & Cowan and held publicity and promotion positions at Rysher Entertainment, Savoy Pictures and Miramax Films.

About Metallica

Since its formation in 1981, San Francisco Bay Area band Metallica has gone from an underground heavy metal band to one of the most successful acts in the world. Sales of Metallica’s albums are currently over 105 million copies worldwide, and have earned gold and/or platinum certifications in over 40 countries. The band’s 1991 “Black Album” has sold over 16 million in the U.S. and 30 million worldwide. Metallica’s latest studio album, “Death Magnetic” charted at #1 in 32 countries and has sold over five million records around the world to date. And with over a million units sold, the live box-set release Live Shit: Binge and Purge is the biggest selling box-set of its kind in history. Metallica’s numerous awards and accolades include nine Grammy® Awards, two American Music Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards. In 2009, Metallica was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and last year, the band launched Orion Music + More, a new annual music and arts festival.

About Netflix

Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with more than 30 million members in 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month, including Netflix original series. For one low monthly price, Netflix members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments. Learn more about how Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is pioneering Internet television at www.netflix.com or follow Netflix on Facebook and Twitter.

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DEADLINE: How does a visualist feel about people watching your films on a phone or VOD?
REFN: It depends on what kind of movie you make. We had great success with Only God Forgives on multiple platforms in the U.S. Young people will decide how they see it, when they want to see it. Don’t try to fight it. Embrace it. That’s a wonderful opportunity. We’re at the most exciting time since the invention of the wheel, in terms of creativity because distribution and accessibility have changed everything. A camera is still a camera whether it’s digital or not; there’s still sound; an actor is an actor. Ninety-nine percent of what you do is going to be seen on a smart phone – I know this is the greatest thing ever made because it allows people to choose, watching what you do on this format or go into a theater and see it on a screen. That means more people than ever will see what I do, which is personally satisfying in terms of vanity. But you have to be able to adapt, to accept things in different order and length than we’re used to. We are in a very, very exciting time.
~ Nic Refn to Jen Yamato

DEADLINE: You mention Tarantino, who with Christopher Nolan and a few other giants, saved film stock from extinction. To him, showing a digital film in a theater is the equivalent of watching TV in public. Make an argument for why digital is a good film making canvas.
REFN: Costwise, it’s a very effective way for young people to start making movies. You can make your movie on an iPhone. It’s wonderful seeing how my own children use technology to enhance creativity. For me it’s a wonderful canvas. Sure, I love grain in film. I love celluloid. But I also like creativity. I like crayons, I like pencils, I like paint. It’s all relative. Technology is more inclusive. A hundred years ago when film was invented, it was an elitist club. Very few people got to make it, very few people controlled it and very few people owned it. A hundred years later, storytelling through images is everyone’s domain. It’s ultimate capitalism. There are no rules, and no barriers and no Hays Code. Where does this go in another hundred years? I don’t know but I would love to see it.
~ Nic Refn To Jen Yamato