UPI exec will head Alliance Atlantis/Kinowelt

LONDON — David Kosse will be confirmed this week as the new managing director of U.K. distrib Alliance Atlantis/Kinowelt.

Kosse, who was previously managing director of Universal Pictures Intl.’s U.K. arm, will spearhead the expansion of the Canadian-German joint venture.

Company is aiming to boost its release slate to about 30-35 titles a year, divided equally between mainstream or crossover fare and arthouse or foreign-lingo titles.

It recently secured a large package of pics from Le Studio Canal Plus to follow up its output deal with Artisan Entertainment. Alliance Atlantis and Kinowelt have also formed a $150 million partnership to develop and acquire movies in Hollywood.

International experience

Kosse, an American, started out at Polygram Video in New York before moving to London as head of international marketing for Polygram Filmed Entertainment. He become U.K. distribution chief as PFE was being transformed into UPI.

In the U.K., Alliance Atlantis just renewed its overall deal with Natural Nylon Entertainment, the production shingle of Britpack actors Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Sadie Frost and Sean Pertwee. Deal has been extended to 2001 and expanded to include TV as well as film production.

Next pic to emerge from that relationship will be “Marlowe,” a $20 million project with Jude Law as Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe. John Maybury (“Love Is the Devil”) will direct, with shooting set to start in April. Word is that Ewan McGregor will make a cameo as William Shakespeare.

Also upcoming from Natural Nylon are “Disturbia,” to be directed by Jake Scott, and “Psychoville,” with Sara Sugarman newly attached to helm.

Alliance deals

Separately Alliance Atlantis is financing the British-set thriller “51st State,” starring Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Ronnie Yu, which is in pre-production.

Company also has a first-look deal with George Faber and Charles Pattinson’s London-based Company Pictures, which produced “A Room for Romeo Brass.”

Since the arrival of Kinowelt as a partner last year, Victor Loewy of Alliance Atlantis has been steering the U.K. joint venture through its transitional phase, up to the appointment of Kosse as managing director. It’s not been decided whether Loewy will remain permanently in the U.K. or return to Canada.

One big priority for AA/Kinowelt is to secure a pay TV deal with BSkyB at a time when the satcaster is looking to reduce, not increase, its number of output deals.

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