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ICM promotes indie guru to senior veepee

Robert Newman, the agent credited with putting ICM on the indie and festival map, has been upped to sen-ior VP of the motion picture group and has been given a contract extension that will keep him with the agency well into the next millennium.

After ankling his senior VP post at Miramax Films, Newman joined ICM in 1990. Since then, Newman has devel-oped a stable of talented young filmmakers.

“Robert Newman has made a significant contribution to the growth of our motion picture division, and we are pleased to recognize his achievements with this promotion,” said ICM chairman and CEO Jeff Berg. “We regard him as a vital aspect of our business’s future in terms of development of new talent and servicing the existing mo-tion picture clients in the U.S. and abroad.”

Added ICM co-CEO Jim Wiatt, “Robert is a leading agent in the rapidly expanding arena of independent films. His success has helped position ICM as an industry leader in this exciting area of our business.”

Staying put

The elevation comes after a period when Newman was rumored to be ankling. On the heels of losing two top agents in the past three months — Jeff Robinov left for a corner office at Warner Bros., and Steve Rabineauankled to Endeavor — ICM has buttressed its corps with the retention of Newman’s talent list and his industry contacts.

“I think Robert Newman has visionary tastes,” said Newman’s former boss Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of Mi-ramax Films. “He has the uncanny ability to spot young directors — God only knows how he finds them — then navigates their careers between small, interesting independent films and big studio films.”

Among those Newman has helped usher into the limelight are Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting”) Robert Rodriguez (“From Dusk Till Dawn”), Baz Luhrmann (“Romeo & Juliet”), Ed Burns (“She’s the One”) and scribe Kevin Wil-liamson (“Scream”).

“This is a great deal for (ICM),” said Sony Pictures president and chief operating officer John Calley. “Beside be-ing so supportive of his clients and concerned about the creative process, Robert is one of the most knowledgeable, film-oriented people I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with since I’ve been back in the business.”

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