Company's first film is De Felitta's 'City Island'
LONDON — Sharon Harel, the former owner of Capitol Films, is getting back into the foreign sales business.Harel, who sold Capitol to David Bergstein in 2006, has launched a new London-based film financing and sales boutique, WestEnd Films. The company is run by co-managing directors Eve Schoukroun and Maya Amsellem, who previously worked as head of sales and head of business affairs at Capitol and its sister company ThinkFilms Intl. Its first film is “City Island,” written and directed by Raymond De Felitta. It stars Andy Garcia, who also produces through his company Cineson Entertainment. The movie, which starts shooting in July, is a comedy-drama about a dysfunctional family whose habit of lying to each other gets them all into trouble. It’s co-financed by Lucky Monkey Pictures and Cold Fusion Media. They intend to handle six to eight films a year, mixing American and British projects with occasional foreign-language titles. “The plan is to be a boutique company with a human face, and only to work on films that we believe in totally,” said Schoukroun. “We will focus on good material, talented directors, concept pictures and prestige productions,” added Amsellem. Harel founded Capitol in 1989 with Jane Barclay, and built it into one of world’s leading sales companies, backing movies such as “Gosford Park.” After selling the company to Bergstein two years ago, she focused on producing, making Avi Nesher’s “The Secrets” in Israel through her own production company Notting Hill Films. “I sold Capitol with the intention of just being a producer,” Harel explained. “But when I made ‘The Secrets,’ I did not have a company to exploit the rights, which I found very difficult. So when Eve and Maya, who I always thought were fabulous, approached me with their idea for a new sales company, I agreed to back them and become the chairman.”