Jeff Sackman

ThinkFilm president ups studio's profile, profits

Company: ThinkFilm

Title: President and CEO

Leadership: Certainly, from a legacy standpoint, ThinkFilm seems ideally positioned to call itself the next Lionsgate.

The Toronto-based ThinkFilm shares similar Canadian roots with the Vancouver-spawned Goliath, and all of its top brass — not only Sackman, but U.S. theatrical topper Mark Urman, senior VP of acquisitions and biz affairs Randy Manis and senior VP of operations and finance Marc Hirschberg — are former Lionsgate execs.

ThinkFilm’s big thinkers have also laid out growth strategies similar to those practiced by their former employer.

For example, as ThinkFilm’s profile has grown and its general movie quality has increased, it has shed the Velocity label it used to use to launch low-budget genre films into the homevid market, in much the same way Lionsgate phased out labels like Studio and TriMark several years ago.

“Velocity is a label of the past,” says Hirschberg, noting that all future company releases will carry the ThinkFilm brand.

Recently purchased by film financier David Bergstein, Hirschberg says ThinkFilm has been given a mandate for growth, and is looking to release more than 40 titles into the theatrical and homevid marketplaces in fiscal ’08.

Among those titles is the anticipated documentary “In the Shadow of the Moon,” which — just as films like “Monster’s Ball” brought box office and Oscar prestige to Lionsgate — could be pivotal to ThinkFilm’s growth arc.

“If it does $20 million to $25 million at the box office, that will be our breakout,” Hirschberg says.

POV: “As we begin to acquire bigger films, and to have a stake in the production of them, it’s very important to us that we continue our tradition of high-quality content,” Sackman says.

See list of profiled execs.

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