Local executives to call the shots

Universal’s co-chair David Linde and head of overseas production, Christian Grass, touted the studio’s international efforts on an American Pavilion panel moderated by Variety’s Timothy M. Gray on Tuesday.

Compared with their competitors, Linde said, “The difference is that we’re on the ground. The shots are being called locally. If we’re going to do a film in Spain, the head of distribution there will be on the greenlight committee for that film and he’ll have some responsibility for it.”

“And that’s about trusting your local managers,” continued Grass, “and building relationships with local filmmakers.”

Through Focus, Universal is co-financing Pedro Almodovar’s new film, “Los abrazos rotos,” which Linde described as broader, more expensive film. “We consider it an investment in one of the preeminent filmmakers in the world,” he said.

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