In the second announcement of a new film company launching this week, key Newmarket executives are spinning off from Exclusive Media Group. Chris Ball, co-chairman of Exclusive and President and co-founder of Newmarket Films is leaving to form Wrekin Hill Entertainment, an independently financed production and distribution company. Also making the move to Wrekin Hill are Newmarket's COO Rene Cogan, COO and John Crye, President of Production and Acquisitions.
The Newmarket Film label, meanwhile, is being licensed by Wrekin Hill for use on a non-exclusive basis with other titles slated for release under the Wrekin banner.
In announcing the new venture, Newmarket and Wrekin Hill unveiled that they will jointly release select upcoming titles from Exclusive, including Peter Weir's "The Way Back" starring Ed Harris and Colin Farrell, and the Spitfire Pictures produced Billy Joel rock documentary "The Last Play at Shea" and the Newmarket Sundance acquisition "Hesher" by Spencer Susser and starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson. Additional co-ventures with Exclusive are in the works.
Exclusive plans to augment its US theatrical releasing activities under the Newmarket Films label, and is curently searching for new distribution and marketing executives. Nigel Sinclair and Andy Mayson, Exclusive Group CFO and former COO of Icon Distribution UK will oversee the upcoming moves.
Newmarket will also continue what it describes as an "aggressive acquisition strategy" as well as servicing the group's in-house productions, where appropriate. Exclusive will continue managing the Newmarket library of approximately 250 pictures.
Wrekin Hill plans to acquire and distribute independently made feature films for all platforms and several acquisitions will be announced soon in addition to a home entertainment distribution partnership.
"We at Exclusive are very excited to be able to continue our great relationship with Chris Ball, Rene Cogan and John Crye, and we look forward to working with Wrekin Hill in the upcoming years," commented Nigel Sinclair, co-chairman of Exclusive Media Group in a statement.
Ball added, "Whilst there may be challenges in the independent theatrical world right now, it is also a time of great growth and opportunity as new methods of distribution are being tried and developed. Forming Wrekin Hill will give me and my partners the flexibility to work on a wide variety of films and craft distribution plans that are unique and appropriately scaled for each film we acquire."