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Elson joins Largo as exec VP

Furthering the restructuring of Largo Entertainment that began when founder Lawrence Gordon left the indie for a deal with MCA/Universal, Largo has tapped Peter Elson as its executive veep, giving the international film sales executive the task of overseeing the company’s sales, marketing, collections and film servicing.

The appointment advances Largo’s new focus as a foreign sales company rather than an indie production house. Under Gordon, Largo concentrated on production with domestic distribution deals through Universal and Fox.

Elson was involved in the foreign sales and marketing of such acclaimed films as “Howards End,””The Grifters” and “Madame Sousatzka.”

Largo chairman/CEO Barr Potter, who is also prexy and chief operating officer of JVC Entertainment, the company that provided the lion’s share of fundingfor projects

previously produced by Largo, brought Elson on board to step up the new entity’s acquisition efforts.

“Peter was the ideal executive for this job,” said Potter. “We are confident that he will be able to help maximize our international licensing revenues, enabling us to build a foundation upon which we can develop an aggressive acquisitions program for major ‘A’ motion pictures.”

Elson, who joins Largo from the presidency of Odyssey Distributors Ltd., will work closely with Potter to acquire titles.

Potter said they will initially aim for an acquisition schedule of six to eight films per year, looking for “highly commercial projects of high quality, with all foreign rights available.” Films with budgets in the $ 10 million-$ 30 million range are of particular interest.

Largo’s cupboard currently contains just one film, “Time Cop,” the Jean-Claude Van Damme starrer directed by Peter Hyams. Universal, which has set “Cop” for a fall release, holds international distribution rights to the film, except in Italy and Japan. Largo recently released “The Getaway,” to which it holds all international rights.

“While the demand for big-budget event motion pictures with major stars continues to grow,” Elson said, “story-driven films with superior talent are also achieving new levels of success and recognition. By providing local territories with important theatrical product, Largo will enhance their efforts to compete with major studios for screen time and market share.”

Under the restructuring, Largo will also take over all acquisition activities previously handled by the Victor Co. of Japan. JVC is a subsidiary of the Victor Co.

Potter said Largo is aiming to become a “one-stop shop” for filmmakers in search of co-financing. The company is said to be in discussions with banks for financing in addition to the funds provided by JVC.

Elson, who has held senior exec positions at Cineplex Odeon Films Intl. and Manson Intl., will assume his Largo post Friday.

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