NEW YORK — Cablevision Systems Corp., the sixth-largest cable operator in the U.S., is planning to funnel about $10 million into the production of independent theatrical pics over the next two years.
As part of the theatrical movie initiative, Cablevision’s Bravo Networks division has promoted Jonathan Sehring, senior VP of programming and production, to the new post of president of IFC (Independent Film Channel) Films.
While not commenting on the dollar commitment, Sehring said, “Cablevision is eager to get more and more into the business of creating program content.” In March, Bravo created IFC Prods., a movie-production company, and Next Wave Films, a financing company.
Cablevision, under the chairmanship of Chuck Dolan, already owns a 75% stake in cable networks AMC, Bravo, Independent Film Channel and Romance Classics. (NBC owns the other 25%.)
Both IFC Prods. and Next Wave will report to Sehring in his new role. The first picture to come out of IFC is “Men With Guns,” directed by John Sayles, which Sony Classics will release in March.
Neither confirm or deny
Sehring would neither confirm nor deny published reports that once IFC’s production pipeline starts flowing with product, the company will stop relying on outside distribs and instead set up its own theatrical distribution company.
But Sehring said, “We’re looking to acquire the copyrights of films, not only for use on our networks but for sale to networks overseas.” Bravo licenses hundreds of movies from distribs such as Miramax, Fine Line, Sony Classics and October Films.
Bravo’s promotion of Sehring is the highlight of an overall restructuring of Bravo, which has promoted three other executives: Ed Carroll, senior VP of marketing and program packaging, becomes G.M. and exec VP of Bravo and IFC. Joe Cantwell, senior VP of affiliate sales and relations, moves up to exec VP, media distribution and development. Cynthia Burnell shifts from senior VP of business development for the Bravo Networks to G.M. and senior VP of Bravo Intl.