Sign one-year, first-look film deal

In an indication of the increasing involvement of its L.A. office in production and acquisitions activity, Miramax Films has entered into a one-year, first-look film deal with commercials producer Manifesto.

Manifesto — which is a subsidiary of trailer house New Wave Entertainment — will develop feature projects for its stable of commercials helmers together with Miramax.

Manifesto exec Allen Haines said the company will source scripts from solicitations and its list of directors. Some projects may come from Miramax. The companies have not yet chosen any titles.

Miramax will finance and distribute the selected pics on a project-by-project basis, although it may co-finance some titles with Manifesto. However, Miramax will not be contributing to Manifesto’s overhead costs.

Miramax marketing prexy Mark Gill, the company’s most senior exec in L.A., said that although the occasional Manifesto title may be more suitable for Dimension, Miramax’s genre division, the deal was “principally about Miramax.” Gill brokered the deal with Manifesto partners Jeffrey Frankel, Susan Kirson and Haines.

Miramax’s arrangement with Manifesto echoes the relationships between other film companies and commercials houses, such as Polygram/Propaganda and Scott Free/RSA.

“The model for this is Propaganda,” Gill said. “The idea is for us to get first crack at new directorial talent.”

Manifesto’s credits include the forthcoming television campaign for the new Volkswagen Beetle, directed by Nick Lewin.

The deal also signifies acceleration of Miramax activity in L.A. beyond the company’s standard concerns of marketing and publicity.

“The idea is to increase our level of activity in Los Angeles, in terms of both (film) buying and (film) production deals,” Gill said.

Gill added that Miramax has been steadily beefing up its exec contingent in L.A. Among those working closely with Gill, as well as the Miramax office in New York, are VP of acquisitions and strategic planning Michael Cole, VP of development Jill Messick and VP of production Jeremy Kramer.

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