Pohlad & Berney ink output deal with Sony Pictures; launch distribution outfit

MUMBAI: Bill Pohlad and Bob Berney have launched a new motion picture distribution company, Apparition, which will acquire and release films.

The new company’s initial slate includes The Tree of Life, written and directed by Terrence Malick, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and Jane Campion’s Bright Star. The new banner has also formed an output relationship with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group (SPWAG) for all domestic ancillary rights.

Pohlad and Berney created the new theatrical releasing company to be a fiercely independent, artist friendly distributor, one that champions the highest quality films and markets them with unmatched passion and commitment.

"Bill and I are creating a company where the art of filmmaking is truly a priority. The birth of a new company that works in concert with artists while employing creative marketing strategies is a winning combination and is the essence of Apparition," says Berney.

"The goal here was to create a company that can be a real home for filmmakers – a company that has a sensitivity and passion for the work as well as an ability to bring it to the marketplace with ingenuity and creativity. Bob already has a reputation for having those qualities, and it was his involvement that really made this happen," said Pohlad.

"Working with filmmakers like Terrence Malick and Jane Campion right out of the gate is a great indication of the kinds of relationships that we hope this company will be built on. And our relationship with Sony is the same. They are a bold company with tremendous assets and reach. But they also share our belief in championing extraordinary product," said Berney.

Also joining Apparition are Dan Lange, Bill Thompson and John Lange, in distribution; Sara Rose, in acquisitions and Jeanne R. Berney, Kirk Iwanowski and Molly Albright in marketing.

Written and directed by Academy Award nominee Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life is a mystical epic starring Academy Award nominated actor Brad Pitt and two-time Academy Award winner Sean Penn, and introduces Jessica Chastain. The film tells the story of a family who must come to terms with a devastating loss. In doing so, they discover life’s most important lessons of unselfish love and forgiveness. The film is co-produced by Pohlad, Sarah Green, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Grant Hill.

Written and directed by Academy Award winner Jane Campion, Bright Star is a riveting drama based on the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, which was cut short by Keats’ untimely death at age 25. Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish star as Keats and Brawne, respectively. The film, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, was produced by Jan Chapman and Caroline Hewitt, and will open 18 September.