UIP sets up first H'w'd distrib arm in territory

LONDON — United Intl. Pictures, the foreign arm of Paramount and Universal, has become the first Hollywood player to launch its own distribution company in Russia.

UIP has taken over the operations and most of the staff from its longtime local partner East West Creative Associates, which has handled its movies in Russia for the past 13 years.

“We are delighted to confirm that most of the East West team involved in distributing UIP’s films over recent years have agreed to become UIP employees,” said chairman Stewart Till.

“In particular, Eugene Beginin, who has led East-West to such a leading position among Russian distributors, will become the head of UIP’s branch office. This continuity of management will ensure a smooth transition.”

Beginin commented, “It is a real vote of confidence in the business I have built up over the years as UIP’s agent. This is an exciting and rapidly growing market, and with the support of such an important global marketing and distribution network, we can look forward to continuing growth and development.”

Till announced the deal at Moscow’s Film Market, where UIP showed trailers to local exhibs of upcoming releases including “Shrek 2,” “Along Came Polly,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “The Stepford Wives” and “Mean Girls.” There was also an exclusive preview of footage from “The Bourne Supremacy,” partly filmed in Moscow,” “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” and the untitled Charles Shyer project (aka “Alfie”).

“We firmly believe that the huge experience of East West’s management in Russia, combined with the international marketing and distribution expertise of UIP, will be a successful formula enabling us to strengthen co-operation and build business in Russia,” Till commented.

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