Red Sea Media is experiencing its first Cannes. Founded in November 2011 by Roman Kopelevich and Roman Viaris, the company is backed by Russian investors. Its initial slate of films is quite strong for such a new company. Aside from the two action films Anchor Bay just acquired for all English speaking territories, OFFICER DOWN (Stephen Dorff and James Woods) and PAWN (Forest Whitaker, Ray Liotta and Nikki Reed), the slate includes A WHITE TRASH CHRISTMAS (Taryn Manning, Eric Roberts, Beverly D’Angelo), WEST TEXAS LULLABY (Val Kilmer), THE FROZEN (Brit Morgan), THE STONING OF SORAYA M (Jim Caviezel) and SNOWMEN (Ray Liotta), and FRANKIE GO BOOM (from Sundance). They get films from diverse sources, including from his attorney, Elsa Ramo who represents financiers and producers. He wants to establish a brand as a source of Russian films such as those by Serge Selyanov (Mongol) who is also a distributor in Russia (Nashe Kino). His main investor is Vadim Goryainov. The company was established when a friend of his mother (who is also in the business) approached him with 3 Moscow based companies.
While the company is new, Kopelevich himself has over 20 years of experience. Prior to Red Sea Media, he served as head of sales at Bleiberg Entertainment, where he sold the critically acclaimed films THE BAND’S VISIT and ADAM RESURRECTED (Jeff Goldblum). Previously, at Morgan Creek, Kopelevich sold the rights to THE GOOD SHEPHERD (Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and Robert De Niro) as well as TWO FOR THE MONEY (Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey). Prior to that, he worked at Media 8 Entertainment, where he handled foreign rights for Academy Award winner MONSTER (Charlize Theron); THE UPSIDE OF ANGER (Kevin Costner); HAVOC (Anne Hathaway); MAN ABOUT TOWN (Ben Affleck) and RUNNING SCARED (Paul Walker). His first film job was in 1991 with New World under Brandon Tartikoff and Ben Silverman who is currently the founder and CEO of Electus, a next generation entertainment studio staked by IAC’s Barry Diller. His stint with New World continued after Ron Pearlman sold the company to Fox News Corps for $2 billion which helped to establish Fox Network into what it became 2 years later.
The first time we met Roman Kopelevich was during the internet bubble days of 2000 when FilmFinders was the acquired by iFilm and was the darling of all the film internet sites because it was one of two film databases in existence, Roman was working with FilmBazaar.com which covered Cannes that year with its Orange signage. We have since found out that he was born in Lithuania in 1971 and immigrated to America when he was seven years old with his twin sister and his parents who were Russian Jews.
The other Roman who owns the company is, Roman Viaris, formerly with Comerica Bank, as well as Nu Image Entertainment and served as the CFO of Voltage Pictures.