Senior VP of production to oversee urban, faith-based films

DeVon Franklin has been upped to senior VP of production at Columbia Pictures, where he’ll report to prexy Doug Belgrad.

Franklin will find, develop and supervise production of commercial material geared toward the urban- and faith-based markets. He will work with all the film divisions within the Sony Pictures umbrella.

His next project will be a feature adaptation of Todd Burpo’s New York Times bestseller “Heaven Is for Real.”

Franklin’s promotion recognizes his success supervising hit pics such as “The Karate Kid” and “Jumping the Broom,” as well as the highly anticipated drama “Sparkle,” starring Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks. Since joining Sony Pictures, Franklin has helped to oversee Will Smith films “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Hancock” and “Seven Pounds.” Franklin will continue to work on Col franchise titles including “Masters of the Universe,” “After Earth” and the “Karate Kid” sequel.

“DeVon has been a huge contributor to our development and production team since joining the studio in 2005,” Belgrad said. “We are proud to recognize his achievements with this promotion. DeVon is positioned to capitalize on his unique skill set, experience and relationships and will further define Sony as an industry leader in telling stories for a diverse audience. His focus will complement the outstanding work being done by the Screen Gems and Affirm Films divisions.”

An ordained preacher and published author who last year wrote “Produced by Faith,” an inspirational and motivational self-help book chronicling his outlook on life and reflecting upon his experiences in the entertainment industry, Franklin joined the studio in 2005 from MGM, where he served as an exec shepherding such projects as “Be Cool” and “Beauty Shop.”

He began his career as an intern for Smith and James Lassiter at Overbrook Entertainment.

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