Disney exec heads to German shingle

HOLLYWOOD — In a move that further sends the industry the signal that Intermedia intends to become a major player, the production, financing and distribution shingle has hired Disney vet Jere Hausfater as president of worldwide distribution and acquisitions for its rapidly expanding motion picture group.

The hiring comes just two months after Intermedia’s IPO on the Frankfurt Neuer Markt stock exchange. The company currently has a $1.7 billion market cap.

The deal comes at a time when Intermedia is in talks to form producer alliances with Nicolas Cage’s Saturn Films, producer Mark Johnson and Outlaw Prods. — among others.

Hausfater, a well known and respected figure on the international sales and acquisitions circuit who was a pioneer in territory buys and split-rights deals, gave notice at Disney on Wednesday afternoon. He had served at the studio for 12-1/2 years and acquired and licensed more than 200 films. His last title was executive veep of acquisitions and business affairs for both Buena Vista Film Sales and Buena Vista International.

In his new position, Hausfater will focus on worldwide distribution and marketing as well as the acquisition of motion pictures for worldwide distribution. He will become a member of Intermedia’s executive committee and a senior voice in all strategic management decisions.

During his tenure at the Mouse House, Hausfater acquired select international rights to pics including “Shine,” “The Piano,” “Face/Off,” “Runaway Bride,” “Kolya,” “Il Postino,” “Life is Beautiful,” “The Straight Story” and most recently “The Hurricane” and “End of Days.” He launched Buena Vista Film Sales, which grew into one of the leading international sales companies.

“I’ve had an incredible run at Disney and will miss the many friends I’ve made there over the past 12-1/2 years,” Hausfater said. Added Intermedia co-chair Guy East: “I have long admired Jere’s broad experience and entrepreneurial talents–which will make a tremendous contribution to Intermedia–and we are all thrilled that he has decided to join us. “

Hausfater joined Disney in 1988 after a four-year post at Media Home Entertainment/ Heron Communications as vice president, business affairs. BVFS is also a partner with Newmarket Capital Group to produce and license motion pictures “produced by” John Woo and Terence Chang. “Gunshy” and “Duets” (to unspool at this year’s Toronto Film Festival) were produced by BVFS/BVI as well as “High Heels” and “Low Lifes” (the first picture under the U.K. comedy label) which is currently shooting in London.

With offices in London, Munich and Los Angeles, Intermedia is a diversified entertainment investment company that collaborates with leading producing partners. Its parent company is IM Internationalmedia AG.

Films in which Intermedia has been involved either as financier or distributor are “Sliding Doors,” “Small Time Crooks,” “Hilary and Jackie,” “Playing By Heart,” “Sweet and Lowdown,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “Where the Heart Is” and “Where the Money Is” as well as such forthcoming titles as “Nurse Betty,” “Enigma,” “Blow Dry” and “The Wedding Planner.”

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