Laemmle and Zeller Partner On New Distribution Outfit; First Release is "Up For Grabs"
by Eugene Hernandez
Laemmle Theaters president Greg Laemmle and GS Entertainment Marketing Group president have partnered to launch Laemmle/Zeller Films, a new theatrical distribution company. The partners announced Monday that their first release is Mike Wranovics' doc, "Up for Grabs."
Calling their new outfit a unique one, Laemmle and Zeller said Monday in a statement that theirs is a truly "virtual" company. In the statement they said, "There will be no corporate offices, no direct personnel and above all, no overhead." Laemmle and Zeller said that their company work will remain based from their own offices. The Laemmle team will handle bookings, print shipping and box office bookkeeping, while the GS group will manage all marketing, including advertising and PR.
Laemmle and Zeller said that they will focus on releasing indepedendent films and said that because their new company has no extra overhead, they will remain highly selective when deciding to release a movie.
First up is the baseball doc, Mike Wranovics' "Up For Grabs," which debuted at the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival. The film looks at two fans fighting over a record-setting Barry Bonds baseball. Wranovics produced the movie with co-producers Michael Lindenberger and Josh Keppel.
"We are so thrilled to have Laemmle/Zeller Films distributing 'Up for Grabs,'" said Wranovics in a statement. "These guys really set themselves apart as the ones who could give our film the special treatment it needs. Greg and Steven are smart, creative, and they clearly know the business. This is our first film too, so we're excited about going on this maiden voyage together."
Laemmle and Zeller said that they are in negotiations on two other films. LZF will release 4-8 films each year according to the partners.
Laemmle Theaters, founded in 1938 by Greg Laemmle's grandfather Max Laemmle, grew in the 60s under the leadership of Greg's father Robert Laemmle, expanding to 15 screens. The chain now includes 47 screens that are owned and operated by Laemmle and another 23 as part of an independent booking service.
GS Entertainment Marketing handles PR, promotion, advertising and other elements for a number of film and video projects. Steven Zeller works with business partner Todd Zeller, his brother. Current clients include Paramount Classics, IFC Films, Lions Gate Films, The Samuel Goldwyn Company/IDP, Gold Circle Films, Castle Hill Productions, Funny Boy Films, THINKFilm, Strand Releasing, and First Look Pictures. Other ongoing clients include Outfest and The American Pavillion in Cannes.