Robert Mitchell to take over from Gary Smith

LONDON

Founder Gary Smith has ankled as CEO of Intandem Films, with former Disney U.K. topper Robert Mitchell taking over the job to turn around the loss-making international sales and financing company.

At the same time, it emerged that production has halted in Los Angeles on Gil Junger’s “10 Things I Hate About Life,” co-produced by Intandem.

Mitchell said this was due to the pregnancy of star Rachel Evan Wood rather than to problems at Intandem. He described the project, which started shooting in December, as “on hiatus” and scheduled to resume in September.

Mitchell confirmed that Intandem is pulling back from its plan to expand into U.K. distribution, to focus on building its core foreign sales operation under long-serving execs Andrew Brown and Billy Hurman.

He also said that the publicly-listed company will appoint a number of new board members and a new non-executive chairman in the coming weeks, as part of a wider restructuring of its business.

“I’m going to look and see how to reorganize the company so that it can move forward profitably,” he commented.

Intandem posted an operating loss of £1.13 million ($1.7 million) in the year to June 2012, on revenues of just $550,000. “We were looking at a monthly cash burn but not enough income, though several members of the board have been working hard to get more money in,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell joined Intandem’s board in 2011 as a non-exec director, and took up an executive role last summer with a brief to spearhead the move into U.K. distribution. But after mounting a modest release for U.S indie title “Grass Roots” last fall, Mitchell was diverted into developing a new corporate plan for the struggling company. That bore fruit Monday with Smith’s exit.

Intandem was due to handle the U.K. release of local curry comedy “Jadoo,” but Mitchell became too busy with the corporate challenges to devote his energies to the film, so he relinquished the rights back to its producers.

“Because my time was taken up with re-organizing and looking at the company on behalf of the shareholders, it wasn’t fair on a film I love and filmmakers I have incredible respect for,” he said.

“Jadoo” is seeking alternative U.K. distribution, after a successful sales launch at Berlin’s European Film Market earlier this month.

A company statement announcing Smith’s abrupt departure said that Intandem will continue to “consider” U.K. distribution opportunities.

It added, “Consistent with the company’s policies of managing the risk associated with the film industry, and not investing in the production of films from its own resources, in the short to medium term the company will only commit to U.K. distribution engagements where it is possible to partner with a second U.K. distributor to reduce the commitment of the company’s own resources.”

Mitchell aims to strengthen the sales business, rebalancing its predominantly U.S. slate towards British product.

“We will continue to source projects from Hollywood, but also from the U.K., which has been ignored by the company over the past 18 months,” he commented.

The emphasis, he said, would be on quality rather scale.

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