Exec to head worldwide sales in L.A.

SYDNEY– Fledgling Australian-based production and sales firm Arclight Films has tapped Michael Stone to run its Los Angeles office, where he is spearheading worldwide sales.

Stone reports to managing director Gary Hamilton, who launched the firm in May with financier Victor Syrmis, who is Arclight’s chairman.

Hamilton intended to open an office in London but ended up in L.A. after a chance meeting with Stone at the Cannes film festival where Stone was scouting for job opportunities. He left Regent Entertainment, where he was director of international distribution, earlier this year. “I love the idea of working for a new company which can bring finance and talent to the table,” Stone tells Daily Variety, alluding to Arclight’s first-look deal with prolific U.K. producer the Spice Factory,Syrmis’ financial backing and co-prods with various partners which Hamilton is hatching.

“It’s a tough time for independents right now but as studio output deals start to expire in various territories, I think the situation will be better for the indies,” added Stone’s c.v. includes stints with Blue Rider Pictures, Lakeshore Intl./Trans Atlantic Entertainment and Turner Entertainment, as well as an L.A. rep for Australia’s Network Ten.

Stone hopes to conclude a domestic deal for Spice Factory’s comedy/musical romance “Bollywood Queen” once a new ending featuring a more Western-style closing tune sung by topliner Preeya Kalides, star of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage hit “Bombay Dreams,” is completed.

He’s also fielding Spice Factory’s thriller “Mr. In-Between” and action/comedy “Baby Juice Express,” and Aussie sci-fier “Subterano,” and working with Hamilton on pre-sales for several films to be produced or co-produced by Arclight.

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