Aguero, Endeavor go indie

Trimark exec to run indie film division of tenpercentery

Marking the next step in its blueprint for expansion, talent agency Endeavor has launched an independent film division and appointed Trimark Pictures executive VP Sergio Aguero to run it.

Aguero, who was responsible for foreign sales and distribution at Trimark, will take up his new position at Endeavor in mid-September, when his contract with the indie expires.

The creation of an independent financing and packaging division was a foregone conclusion at Endeavor, a 3-year-old upstart that aspires to become a full-service agency.

Aguero said that his primary charge was to “service (Endeavor’s) director clients,” focusing on “the non-studio world.”

The exec said that he would find financing and distribution, for specialized Endeavor pics, from both North American and European sources. He also will act as a foreign talent-spotter for the tenpercentery.

“We’ll be working with sales agents, U.S. minimajors and European media groups. We’ll look at gap financing. We’ll be flexible,” he said.

Plenty of company

Nearly all major agencies now have a specific agent and/or division dedicated to packaging, financing and distributing independent pics. The most active players are CAA, William Morris Agency, ICM and UTA.

Aguero’s appointment is an indication of how crucial foreign pre-sales or financing can be to a specialized film. Pics such as “Shine,” “The Sweet Hereafter,” “Sliding Doors” and “Hurly Burly” were all or partly financed by the foreign marketplace.

Neither is he the first sales agent to make the transition. Earlier this month WMA appointed former Lakeshore Int’l. executive veep Rena Ronson to join Cassian Elwes in its indie division, WMA Independent.

Aguero stressed that as one of the most senior execs at Trimark, he had garnered experience in film and TV production and domestic distribution, as well as in foreign sales.

“I’ll be opening new doors and avenues for (Endeavor),” he said. “For me this is an extraordinary opportunity to tap more creatively the ever-expanding international marketplace.”

At Trimark, Aguero was associated with company acquisitions such as “Slam” and “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss,” and productions including “Eve’s Bayou.”

In a prepared statement, Endeavor said: “With the increasing globalization of entertainment, and the explosion of the indie film market, we feel that our clients will benefit greatly from (Aguero’s) long-held relationships.”

Important move

For the tenpercentery, which prides itself on its distinct and entrepreneurial approach to agenting, the appointment of Aguero is a natural, if not necessary, step.

“If you want to attract A-list clients you have to be able to offer them everything, even if it doesn’t make money,” noted a senior agent at a rival tenpercentery. “This makes Endeavor fully rounded.”

Although it lacks any A-list film stars, Endeavor’s roster includes directors Brad Silberling, Phillip Noyce, Bruce Beresford, Stephen Herek and David Lynch; writers Shane Black and Aaron Sorkin; and thesps Adam Sandler, Hank Azaria and Bette Midler.

The agency is strongest in television, where it has benefited from its stake in some lucrative shows, including “Ally McBeal” and “King of the Hill.” Endeavor reps “Seinfeld” co-creator-turned-film-director Larry David, and “X-Files” helmer R.W. Goodwin, who is also segueing to features.

Aguero becomes the second senior exec to defect from Trimark this month, following the resignation of executive VP Jim Keegan on Aug. 17.

(Chris Petrikin contributed to this report.)

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