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Signpost flees Great White North

Canadian ditributor suffers premature death

MONTREAL — The U.K.’s Signpost Films has shuttered its Canuck distrib just one month after opening it.

Yves Dion and Andy Myers, the seasoned Canadian execs tapped to head it, have been axed by Signpost which is closing offices in Montreal and Toronto.

Darryl Iwai, Signpost prexy of worldwide distribution, said it was too early for a Canadian distributor as Signpost will not be releasing pics before mid 2003. But he couldn’t explain why Signpost had changed its mind about its Canadian plans so suddenly.

“We started it a year too early,” said Iwai. “The product won’t start until the spring of 2003. We’ve just green-lit those films. So it made more sense to wait until our product starts to flow.”

When pressed on the abrupt change of plans, Iwai said, “Things happen for various reasons, not just for pure business reasons.”

Signpost will be setting up a Canadian company, likely next year, and is still pushing ahead with plans for distribs in other territories, said Iwai.

When the Canadian Signpost affiliate was set-up in February ( Daily Variety, Feb. 21), Signpost execs said they chose the country for their first domestic distribution in a foreign country because one of the main stakeholders in Signpost is Montreal-based CDP Capital Communications. CDP is the media and entertainment division of Quebec government pension fund CDP Capital.

But the distribbery stirred-up controversy on the Canadian film scene with rivals grumbling about the Quebec government supporting a U.K.-based competitor.

A spokesman for CDP Capital said the decision to close the Canadian branch was not influenced by execs at CDP but was an independent decision of the Signpost board. Neither Dion nor Myers could be reached for comment.

Signpost is a partnership of Stewart Till (who is also CEO), CDP Capital Communications, and the Mosaic Media Group, and the company has production deals with Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment and Eric Gold and Jimmy Miller’s Gold/Miller Co. It recently signed with Miramax Films to give Miramax first option on U.S. rights to Signpost films.

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