Exec is former topper at Alliance Atlantis

TORONTO — Canada’s Maple Pictures has tapped Jim Sherry, former exec managing director of Alliance Atlantis MPD, as its new co-president, co-founders Laurie May and Brad Pelman announced Tuesday.

New Jersey native Sherry — who put in seven years at New Line and four at Miramax before moving north — has been working the past nine months as a consultant with May and Pelman to develop a three-year strategic growth plan for the Canuck film and TV distrib.

Founded in 2005, Maple is now poised to go head to head with main rivals and distribution leaders Alliance Films and Entertainment One, both also in the midst of expanding, notably on foreign terrain.

“Maple distinguishes itself from the balance of major distributors because we are completely focused on growth within the borders of Canada,” Sherry said in an interview Tuesday.While May continues to serve as Maple’s co-president, Pelman will now run Maple Films, a new distribution division and a brand Sherry said will give Maple the means to aggregate more content.

“Our growth plan starts with re-establishing Maple as the preeminent Canadian distributor of Canadian films,” said Sherry, who sees his rivals’ expansion as an opportunity rather than a threat. “The whole Canadian industry is expanding, and I believe the market can sustain all the current players.”

“Jim helped catapult his former studio to an industry leader during his long tenure there,” said Pelman in a statement. “Building on his well-respected relationships with Canadian and U.S. filmmakers, we will work together to cement Maple’s status as an entertainment pace setter.”

Maple is the Canuck distributor of “Crash” and had five films in the recent Toronto Film Festival, including Brit helmer Steve McQueen’s Camera d’Or winner “Hunger” and Toronto helmer Bruce McDonald’s cerebral horror pic “Pontypool.”

“We want to take the industry lead in being a Canadian-filmmaker-friendly organization,” added Sherry.

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