ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Strand Releasing, the Santa Monica-based specialized film company, has hired Gail Blumenthal in the new position of vice president of distribution.

A 12-year veteran of arthouse distribution, Blumenthal assumes some of the duties previously handled by Mike Thomas, who ankled Strand last month to join Rialto Pictures.

Blumenthal comes to Strand from Legacy Releasing, where she was a marketing exec. Before Legacy, Blumenthal was vice president and general sales manager at Iris Releasing. She previously held sales positions at Skouras Pictures and the Samuel Goldwyn Co.

During her career, Blumenthal has been involved in the marketing and distribution of such arthouse hits as “Once Upon a Time … When We Were Colored,” “My Life As a Dog,” “Sid and Nancy,” “My New Gun” and Philip Haas’ “The Music of Chance.”

“We are extremely pleased to have someone with Gail’s experience working with us,” said Marcus Hu, who is a partner in Strand along with Jon Gerrans. “She is a welcome addition to the company.”

“I’ve always been impressed by Marcus and Jon’s taste and integrity and I look forward to working with them,” Blumenthal said.

By the end of 1997, Strand will have released 17 pictures for the year, including the classic “Contempt” (jointly with Rialto), “Latin Boys Go to Hell,” Cindy Sherman’s “Office Killer,” “A Self Made Hero” and “Nenette et Boni.” Its 1998 release schedule includes such films as John Duigan’s “Lawn Dogs” and “Voyage to the Beginning of the World,” which recently unspooled at the New York Film Festival.

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