Van Peebles, Buntzman team up

Plan 'Knockdown' as new prod'n outfit's second release

Hyphenate Mario Van Peebles and producer-director Mark Buntzman, industry pals for more than a decade, have set up the boxing pic “Standing Knockdown” as the second venture out of their newly formed production company. They plan to make two pics per year in the $5 million budget area.

Ivan Cain Prods. debuts by domestically distributing “Love Kills,” an already completed project written, produced and directed by Van Peebles. The pic will have its preem Thursday night at the Galaxy Theater in Hollywood.

“Standing Knockdown” will be helmed by Van Peebles from a script by him and Dennis Haggerty.

Pic is about a boxer in New York who gets tangled in the underworld mob scene. Van Peebles and Buntzman will produce.

“Love Kills” — which stars Van Peebles, Lesley Ann Warren, Loretta Devine, Daniel Baldwin, Alexis Arquette, Louise Fletcher and Donavan Leitch — was fully financed by Ivan Cain.

“We didn’t pre-sell at all,” Van Peebles said. “That’s unusual in this business.”

Van Peebles said the company will only make films that it can either fully back or co-finance with another entity. He added that Ivan Cain is interested in bigger-budgeted projects, but anything above $5 million would be a co-venture.

Buntzman would not divulge who provided financing for Ivan Cain, but said they were private investors.

Van Peebles’ directing credits include “New Jack City” for Warner Bros. and “Posse” and “Panther,” both for Polygram. But he said the new company would go after more than just action and exploitation pics.

The pair met in the mid-1980s on the set of “Exterminator 2,” which Buntzman was directing with Van Peebles starring.

Now, the duo said it only wants to talk about projects that are already done. “If we say we’re going to do something, it happens,” said Van Peebles. “That’s why we’ve never mentioned this in the press yet.”

Van Peebles currently has a TV development deal with Sony Pictures. But he said that covers only MOWs and series.

Van Peebles said there were a number of other projects that the duo has in development, including “Crazy Love,” a love story written by Van Peebles with no director attached yet, and another untitled underground mobster story based on a novel by William Morris and Buntzman.

“It’s a story that’s never been told,” Buntzman said.

“I’ll tell you the story, but I’ll have to kill you,” quipped Van Peebles.

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