Mark Urman exits ThinkFilm

Exec will join Weber's Senator Entertainment

Mark Urman is ankling troubled indie ThinkFilm to join Marco Weber’s Senator Entertainment U.S. as president of Senator’s newly formed distribution company.

Urman will begin work in the new post on Oct. 1.

Urman co-founded ThinkFilm in 2001 as an arthouse distribution/sales company with Jeff Sackman and served most recently as president. But the company, which Capitol Films topper David Bergstein took over in 2006, has been hit with a cash crunch and repeated allegations of unpaid bills this year.

Reps for ThinkFilm and Capitol were not available for comment.

Urman’s move comes three weeks after Weber stepped down as chief creative officer of Germany’s Senator Entertainment to acquire the company’s Los Angeles production arm, also called Senator Entertainment. Weber is focusing on producing English-language films and establishing a new U.S.-based distribution operation.

Weber’s Senator will operate main offices in both Los Angeles and New York. Company said Urman will work with Weber in establishing distribution for Senator’s slate, allowing Weber to concentrate on original productions.

Urman said the company will handle wide releases involving hundreds of prints and prestige titles that expand from exclusive platforms.

“By building a company that can be big and bold when it wants to be, but streamlined and strategic when it needs to be, we plan on being the best possible combination of a studio specialty division and a true independent,” Urman said.

Senator is currently prepping vidgame adaptation “Clocktower” and “Unthinkable,” a thriller with Samuel L. Jackson that starts shooting next month in Los Angeles.

It recently bought U.S. distribution rights to “Public Enemy No. 1,” which stars Vincent Cassel, Gerard Depardieu, Matthieu Amalric and Ludivine Sagnier. Pic is set to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.

Under Urman’s direction, ThinkFilm pics received seven Oscar noms, winning two for docs. The company’s successes included “Spellbound,” “The Aristocrats,” “Half Nelson” and “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.”

However, ThinkFilm and Bergstein have also been hit by lawsuits from filmmakers such as Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side”) and from service companies including Allied Advertising and Mammoth Advertising, alleging unpaid bills. Co-founder Sackman departed in April.

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