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H’w’d-style agency makes U.K. debut

The Hollywood-style talent manager is coming to Europe with the decision by Alan Greenspan’s Los Angeles-based International Arts to open an office in London.

Greenspan has tapped Andre Burgess, a young British producer, to represent IA’s interests in Blighty and act as a bridge to agents and finance sources in continental Europe.

Greenspan already manages several British directors and writers, including John Irvin and Ross Kramer. He has formal links with top agents in Germany and Holland and is working on a similar deal in France.

In Hollywood, the rise of managers is seen as an increasing challenge to the role of agents, but Greenspan is quick to counter the fears of local agents that he will be trampling on their turf. He argues that the Hollywood manager and the European-style agent are allies.

“My biggest concern in taking this step is not to compete with the London agents,” he says. “The agency business in Hollywood has become about volume, not about career planning, but agents in London tend to offer the kind of career guidance for their clients that managers do in the U.S.”

Greenspan says he wants to ensure that European agents have more influence over the management of their clients’ careers in Hollywood than they currently get from U.S. agents.

“Our role is not conventional job placement for clients, but to be a facilitator of opportunities,” he explains. “We can be the agents’ navigator in some new territories that they don’t have the time or desire to get involved with. For example, we may help a European agent look for different types of financing for a client’s project, through our relationships throughout Europe and North America.”

Raising production financing figures large in Greenspan’s activities. He is a partner in director Mike Newell’s production shingle, Dogstar Films, and was involved in setting up the overall deal with Disney, although he is not Newell’s manager.

He also helped set up Kramer’s deal to direct “The Three of Us” for producer Ann Scott and Fine Line Features, with an option for a second Fine Line pic. Kramer, who came out of British TV, has no agent in London or L.A., and Greenspan is his sole representative.

IA is affiliated with Munich-based agent Sigrid Narjes, and is setting up a similar deal with Paris-based agent Francois Samuelson. These are two-way relationships. Narjes represents Soenke Wortmann, director of the surprise German smash “Der Bewegte Mann,” which means that Greenspan has picked him up as a client for the U.S. On the other hand, Greenspan recently took Narjes a half-financed British project, “Masterclass,” from Movie Screen Entertainment, and she completed the funding through a deal with Germany’s Babelsberg Studios.

Greenspan is trying to set up U.S. finance and casting for the first English-language project from French producer Christian Fechner, “Witch Way Love,” written and to be directed by Rene Manzoor.

As well as improving access for British and European clients to Hollywood projects and finance, Greenspan hopes that closer ties with Europe will benefit his American clients.

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