Polygram staffs its U.S. distribution arm

Polygram Films, the newly formed mainstream U.S. theatrical distribution arm of the global entertainment giant, has filled a number of key distribution positions under president of distribution William Soady.

Former 20th Century Fox VP Lewis O’Neil has been named senior VP of distribution and general sales manager.

As previously reported, Cathleen Fager has been named senior VP of distribution, operations. Both Fager and O’Neil will report to Soady.

Additionally, Carl Bertolino has been named VP, eastern division manager and Ron Giambra, has been tapped VP, central division manager.

In his new post, O’Neil oversees Polygram’s negotiations with the major theater circuits and will be involved in setting release strategies.

O’Neil joins Polygram after a two-year stint as VP and western division manager for Fox.

From 1992-95 O’Neil was senior VP for film at Metropolitan Theatres. Earlier, he served as senior VP and general sales manager at Orion Pictures. O’Neil also held posts at Columbia, MGM and United Artists.

Fager was previously senior VP of national film for AMC.

At Polygram she will be responsible for all distribution operations. The sales administration, exhibitor relations, print control and theatrical accounts receivable departments report directly to her.

Fager joined AMC as a film buyer in 1983 and served as president of national film from 1984-95.

Bertolino was previously head film buyer for Hoyts Cinemas.

Giambra was VP, central division manager, at Orion.

Polygram is set to begin its domestic distribution activities in September.

The company’s initial slate includes the Michael Douglas starrer “The Game,” directed by David Fincher, and Robert Altman’s “The Gingerbread Man,” starring Kenneth Branagh.

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