Dion on the clock as Blackwatch prez

New prexy stepping up activities

MONTREAL — Former Malofilm Distribution president Yves Dion has been appointed president of Blackwatch Releasing.

Blackwatch is a Montreal-based indie producer and distrib that has kept a relatively low profile until now, but Dion said Blackwatch will be stepping up its activities in the coming months.

With private investment, Quebec and federal tax-credits, and pre-sales, Blackwatch has one-year financing of over C$40 million ($26 million), he said.

Blackwatch Communications prez is William Mariani. As head of Blackwatch Releasing, Dion will be responsible for domestic Canadian distribution and for international sales, and he is in the process of hiring a Los Angeles-based distribution executive. Blackwatch will also be opening an office in Toronto to beef-up its Canuck presence.

“Blackwatch Communications was built on the dream of not only being capable of producing films but also bringing them to a worldwide audience,” said Mariani. “With Yves Dion as president of Blackwatch Releasing, we are taking that first important step of turning this dream into a reality. Dion’s vast experience and knowledge of both the domestic and foreign markets will help ensure that we put our best foot forward.”

Dion, who spent 12 years as an executive at Malofilm (now Behaviour Communications), left the company last summer a few months after founding president Rene Malo sold Malofilm to software mogul Richard Szalwinski. Upcoming Blackwatch-produced pics include “Dead Silent” with Rob Lowe, “The Cottage” with Holly Hunter, and “Shooting Dick” with Illeanna Douglas and William Baldwin.

The company will produce 10 features over the next 18 months, and will also be acquiring both Canadian and international rights to indie features. Blackwatch also has a multipicture deal to produce pics for Saban Entertainment.

“Some people want to work with smaller firms,” said Dion, who had a one-year non-compete clause with Malofilm/Behaviour that recently expired. “We’ll have a mix of theatrical and TV movies, and we’re looking to team up with young, independent Canadian producers.”

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