Company to back high-quality mainstream pics

LONDON David Garrett, Summit co-founder and former prexy of international, has joined forces with Germany’s Constantin Film to launch sales and financing entity Mister Smith Entertainment.

The move comes less than three months after Garrett ankled Summit following its merger with Lionsgate earlier this year.

The joint venture will be involved in financing, co-financing and licensing high-quality, mainstream features.

Mister Smith will launch sales on two major Constantin productions at Cannes this month: “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” based on Cassandra Clare’s bestseller, and “3,096 Days,” based on the autobiography of Natascha Kampusch, who was held captive for more than eight years.

Garrett will serve as CEO of Mister Smith while former Summit exec Ralpho Borgos will join as exec VP of international licensing and distribution. Annasivia Britt rounds out the new team as VP of marketing and publicity for London-based Mister Smith.

Industryites have been speculating on Garrett’s next move since his departure from Summit/Lionsgate.

The union with Constantin seems a natural fit as Garrett has a long relationship with the production and distribution company, having sold a raft of its titles at markets including “The Three Musketeers,” “Pompeii” and “Tarzan 3D.”

Constantin has long wanted to venture into the international sales arena and, according to sources, was waiting for the right fit.

Mister Smith Entertainment is a natural next step for me after a wonderful 19-year partnership at Summit Entertainment,” Garrett said in a statement. “I am also proud to have been in business with Constantin Films since the early 1990s and their partnership is the cornerstone of this new venture. Our goal is to recreate the successful distribution structure we forged in the early days of Summit Entertainment, building upon core strategic partnerships with the very best producers, filmmakers and distributors around the world.”

Speaking to Variety, Garrett said Mister Smith will handle select English-language Constantin productions.

“My plan is to be a bespoke entity and handle six-to-eight films per year,” said Garrett. “We are also open to forging other potential relationships with partners.”

Martin Moszkowicz, member of Constantin Film’s executive board, added: “David Garrett is synonymous with success and style and under his leadership Mister Smith Entertainment will be an immense source of pride for us all, especially in this time of real challenge and change in our industry.”

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