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Katapult launches film sales venture

'Brain,' 'Heaven' amongst product offerings

Thomas Mai, former CEO of Zentropa subsidiary Trust Film Sales, and producer Joni Sighvatsson have teamed to form a new L.A.-based outfit, Katapult Film Sales.

Shingle is selling the provocative political documentary “Bush’s Brain,” about Karl Rove, who’s credited with being largely responsible for gaining the White House for George W. Bush. Pic has its international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival today and screened earlier this month at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Katapult has inked a distribution deal in former Yugoslavia with distribber Creativa for “Brain” at Cannes. William Morris Independent is repping domestic distribution rights.

Also on the shingle’s inaugural sales slate is pic “A Little Trip to Heaven,” produced by Sighvatsson and starring Forest Whitaker. Baltasar Kormakur (“The Sea”) makes his English-language feature helming debut on the pic, expected to start shooting this fall.

Mai said the new shingle, based in Santa Monica, would be selective and wants to remain small. The ambition is to sell the world on pics, though on “Heaven” domestic rights are being repped by CAA.

“We don’t want a big slate. We’re interested in having an eclectic slate with titles we like to handle from a few selected filmmakers.”

Mai said he hopes to rep films from Danish directors but would not say if Lars Von Trier would be among them.

At Trust, Mai sold such pics as thriller “One Point O,” “Dancer in the Dark,” “Mifune,” “The Idiots” and “Together.”

Sighvatsson has produced more than 40 features and worked with such directors as David Fincher, Michael Bay and Spike Jonze. In 1999 Sighvatsson became controlling shareholder in musicvideo and commercials shingle Palomar Pictures.

At Palomar he has cultivated a new generation of directors including Joseph Kahn, Gary McKendry and Marcus Siego.

Sighvatsson produced “The Weight of Water,” starring Sean Penn and Elizabeth Hurley, and “K-19: The Widowmaker,” starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson.

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