Exec ankles agency to form distribber
United Talent Agency’s Howard Cohen, who has led UTA’s independent film activity since 1996, will team with producer Eric d’Arbeloff (“Lovely & Amazing”) to launch an acquisition-driven U.S. theatrical distribution company, Roadside Attractions.
The newly minted distrib will join Samuel Goldwyn Films as a partner in Independent Distribution Partners. Cohen will leave his UTA post next week.
UTA will continue its independent film activity through its motion pictures literary department, which is headed by board member Jeremy Zimmer and co-headed by partner Dan Aloni. Earlier this year, UTA also brought in Jeremy Barber to work in its indie film area.
Headed by Michael Silberman and RJ Millard, IDP releases have included “El Crimen del Padre Amaro,” “Tortilla Soup” and “Mambo Italiano.” A third partner is expected to join the IDP partnership shortly.
Launched in 2000, the original IDP partnership comprised Goldwyn, Stratosphere Entertainment and Fireworks Entertainment. Since then, Fireworks has retreated from the film business while Stratosphere is not a going concern.
Cohen worked at the Samuel Goldwyn Co. 1987-1994, where he acquired, supervised or developed “The Wedding Banquet,” “Eat Drink Man Woman,” “Truly Madly Deeply” and “The Madness of King George.”
“Having grown up in the business as the buyer for Sam and Meyer at Goldwyn, it feels great to come back and partner with them in this next phase of my career,” Cohen said. “I want to also thank my colleagues and clients at UTA for their enthusiastic support, and I look forward to working with them in a new capacity at Roadside Attractions.”
In addition to producing “Lovely & Amazing” and “Trick” in partnership with Good Machine, d’Arbeloff produced “They Nest” for the USA Network and the documentary “Lifetime Guarantee: Phranc’s Adventures in Plastic.”
“We will look out for films that are smart, funny and edgy, whether classic art or crossover,” d’Arbeloff said. “Whatever we see and love.”
At UTA, Cohen was involved in the packaging and selling of more than 50 films, including “Igby Goes Down,” “The Banger Sisters,” “State and Main,” “Human Nature” and the upcoming “The Girl With the Pearl Earring.” Cohen is also an executive producer on Focus Features’ “Vanity Fair,” directed by Mira Nair.
D’Arbeloff previously worked for Fox Family Films, producer Roger Corman and Stephen Chao. His production company was formerly known as Roadside Attractions and will be renamed.
“Howard’s taste, integrity and reputation have been an important part of our success in the independent area,” Zimmer said. “It is those attributes that will serve him well in this new opportunity. We are grateful to Howard for his many contributions and pleased that he leaves us as a vital force in the indie business.”