Apparition co-founder resigns

Bob Berney exits unexpectedly

In a surprising development on the eve of Cannes, Bob Berney has split from Apparition, the distribution banner he formed last summer with partner and CEO Bill Pohlad, leaving the company’s activities in Cannes uncertain.

News came Monday evening via an email to Apparition staff from Pohlad, who said he’d been blindsided by Berney’s resignation.

“I suspect that this news comes as a surprise to many of you,” he said. “It certainly did to me. So I can’t claim that we have a plan in place yet in the wake of this announcement. I can, however, assure you that we will be working in the days ahead to explore our options regarding his replacement.”

Pohlad said Valerie Bruce, senior VP of business affairs, will serve as interim chief operating officer.

Apparition had been unveiled in August amid much fanfare in the indie world after many months of planning by Berney and Pohlad. Initial plans were to acquire and release eight movies a year.

Apparition subsequently released period drama “Bright Star,” crime drama “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day,” “The Young Victoria” and “The Runaways.” It is planning to open Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” and “Welcome to the Rileys” later this year.

Berney wasn’t immediately available for comment. He’s a longtime exec in the indie world with stints at Newmarket Films, IFC Films and Picturehouse, which was shuttered by Warner Bros. two years ago, and has been involved with the releases of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” “La Vie en rose” and “The Passion of the Christ.”

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