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Chris Ball forms Wrekin

Former Newmarket colleagues Cogan, Crye join him

Former Newmarket Films topper Chris Ball is forming a new production and distribution label, Wrekin Hill Entertainment, according to a statement released Thursday by Ball and Exclusive Media Group CEO and co-chairman Nigel Sinclair.

Ball, who became co-chairman of EMG after the company bought Newmarket last year, will bring with him to Wrekin former Newmarket colleagues Rene Cogan and John Crye.

Ball and his team will distribute films under the Wrekin banner — the name of a hill in Shropshire, England — while also partnering on some titles with Newmarket.

The two companies plan to co-distribute Peter Weir’s Ed Harris starrer “The Way Back,” the first sole production for EMG, as well as Spitfire Pictures’ Billy Joel music docu “The Last Play at Shea” and Newmarket acquisition “Hesher,” which toplines Joseph Gordon Levitt, Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson.

Ball acknowledged problems in the independent film world but said, “It is also a time of great growth and opportunity as new methods of distribution are being tried and developed.

“Forming Wrekin Hill will give me and my partners the flexibility to work on a wide variety of films and craft distribution plans that are unique and appropriately scaled for each film we acquire.”

During his tenure at Newmarket, Ball helped build a library that included indie hits like “The Passion of the Christ” and “Whale Rider.”

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