SPC breeds distrib deal with Canuck Mongrel

Pact covers 10 films, with hopes for more

MONTREAL — Sony Pictures Classics has inked a deal with Toronto-based Mongrel Media for the small Canuck company to handle SPC films in Canada.

The pact covers 10 films to be released theatrically between now and the end of the summer, but Mongrel president Hussain Amarshi and SPC co-president Tom Bernard both said they hope to extend the deal.

SPC had been distributing its pics in Canada via Blackwatch Releasing, which went out of business last summer. Before that, it had a deal with Behaviour Distribution, which also closed shop.

The 10 films in the new deal include Juan Jose Campanella’s “Son of the Bride,” Oscar-nominated as foreign-language film; “Last Orders” starring Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins and Tom Courtenay; and Jan Sverak’s “Dark Blue World.” Other pics are Lieven Debrauwer’s “Pauline and Paulette,” John McKay’s “Crush,” Stacy Peralta’s “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” Eric Rohmer’s “The Lady and the Duke,” Zhang Yimou’s “Happy Times” and Jill Sprecher’s “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing.”

‘A good fit’

“They seem to be the best distributor in Canada for our product,” Bernard said. “It seems like a good fit.”

The deal is a major step forward for Mongrel, a small but key arthouse player in Canada.

“Our desire is to build a sustainable, midsized company in Canada that continues to do business with films that are more specialized,” Amarshi said. “I see it as a privilege to be working with a company like Sony Pictures Classics.”

Mongrel, founded seven years ago, is a boutique operation that has specialized in releasing foreign-language fare, including Abbas Kiarostami’s “Taste of Cherry” and Jacques Rivette’s “Va Savoir.”

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