Agreement is three-year, first-look prod'n deal

Phoenix Pictures has pacted with production outfit Orbit Entertainment Group in an effort to expand its feature film operations into high-end TV commercials.

The agreement, conceived by former Phoenix exec Rick Hess, is essentially a three-year, first-look production deal between Phoenix and Orbit principals Dror Soref and Lee Nelson. The two Orbit execs will produce five pics in three years for Phoenix with Orbit senior veepee Kevin Moreton.

“We were looking for a partner with two things: a special relationship to talent and the ability to greenlight pictures,” explained Soref. “Phoenix has both.”

Medavoy, a longtime insider with multiple Academy Awards on the mantle, is familiar enough with Hollywood feature talent, but praised the Orbit relationship for being “a two way street” and said he was looking forward to accessing Orbit’s talent pool of new commercial helmers.

The company represents feature helmers like Roger Spottiswoode — who is helming the Phoenix release “The Sixth Day” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Wim Wenders, along with Carroll Ballard for commercial work, while also producing TV commercials.

Pact will allow Soref, himself a director (“The Seventh Coin”), to helm an as-yet-unnamed feature project for Phoenix and will bring in other Orbit helmers to direct Phoenix-approved pics.

Orbit has done commercial work for companies like Oldsmobile (its overall branding spots ran during last year’s Super Bowl) as well as Fuji Film, Cadillac, Blue Cross and Coca-Cola.

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