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Becker’s Saavedra ankles to direct pic

Sez desk can't compare to camera

Craig Saavedra has resigned as president of Becker FilmWorks to pursue a feature directing career.

He makes his directorial debut with the romantic comedy “Rhapsody in Bloom” starring Penelope Ann Miller and Craig Sheffer. Saavedra was director and producer on the film while simultaneously holding the prexy post, leading to his decision to concentrate on directing.

“I’ve really enjoyed the relationship I had with the people at Becker,” said Saavedra, “but the timing feels right to move on. I felt that running a company and directing a film at the same time required a schizophrenic energy that my body couldn’t handle on a regular basis. Besides, it was hard to go back behind a desk after being behind a camera.”

“Rhapsody” made its market debut at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and is slated for a September release through FilmWorks’ sister, Australia’s REP Releasing. Pic is still searching for a domestic distributor.

Saavedra joined L.A.-based Becker FilmWorks (formerly PRO FilmWorks) eight years ago as an intern and worked his way up through the ranks — doing stints as director of development, VP of production, and senior VP, production and development — before being named president in 1995.

Becker FilmWorks was founded in 1988 by CEO Richard Becker as a division of the 34-year-old Australian media company Becker Group. The company has produced nine features, including Curtis Hanson’s “Bad Influence” and Betty Thomas’ “Only You,” starring Helen Hunt.

A replacement for Saavedra has not yet been announced, but he will remain at FilmWorks temporarily as a consultant to help ease the transition.

Saavedra is managed by Jonathan Baruch and repped by attorney Michael Schenkman of Bloom, Hergott, Cook, Diemer & Klein.

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