Monday, May 10, 2010

Bob Berney leaves Apparition suddenly - Fate of WTTR?

Quite a bombshell was released late this afternoon. Co-founder of Apparition, Bob Berney decided with little notice to leave the company. The announcement came as a shock, when on the Eve of the Cannes film festival, Berney made this announcement.

There is no word on the fate of "Welcome to the Rileys" or any other movie currently in the works. Stay tuned for developing information.

From: Deadline

In a pre-Cannes bombshell, Bob Berney tendered his resignation from the top post of indie distribution company Apparition to its owner, River Road's Bill Pohlad. I hear Pohlad was blindsided by the move, especially since Berney and his staff were about to get on planes to travel to Cannes and look for pictures to acquire. Pohlad has abruptly canceled those plans, and now Apparition won't be a presence at the festival when it starts on Wednesday.

Berney spent the better part of a year raising money to form the company after his Picturehouse was shuttered by Warner Bros. Though he hoped to establish a new company with several filmmakers, Berney wound up aligning with Pohlad as the sole financier when the venture was announced last August. Pohlad and Berney originally said their goal was to acquire and release eight pictures per year, and Apparition got underway with the Jane Campion-directed Bright Star last fall. So far, it had been slow going, with Apparition distributing The Runaways and The Square and at year's end was set to distribute the Terrence Malick-directed Tree of Life starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, which is apparently still the plan. Pohlad did not give the Doug Liman-directed drama Fair Game, which stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, and which premieres in competition at Cannes. That film will be distributed domestically by Summit. Was Berney bitter about not getting to distribute the hot-button film? Haven't been able to reach him yet to see.

Here's the email that just went out to staff from Apparition's owner Bill Pohlad about Bob Berney, the head of the company:

To our Apparition colleagues and staff:

As some of you may know, Bob Berney has submitted his resignation to me. I suspect that this news comes as a surprise to many of you. It certainly did to me. So I can’t claim that we have a plan in place yet in the wake of this announcement. I can, however, assure you that we will be working in the days ahead to explore our options regarding his replacement. In the meantime, Valerie Bruce, our Senior Vice President of Business Affairs, will serve as interim COO.

I apologize for whatever confusion and uncertainty this news may cause, but know that we are proud and grateful for all the work that you have put into the company and appreciate your continued support.

Bill Pohlad

Via: Welcome to the Rileys Saturday

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