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Alphaville’s Albert goes indie

Cari-Esta Albert, exec veepee at Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks’ U-based Alphaville, will be leaving her post there to become a producer in her own right.

The move comes as Alphaville, which has an exclusive multiyear indie pact at the studio, is in the midst of renegotiating its deal.

The company’s recent B.O. track record has been mixed, with two hits (“Tombstone,””Hard Target”) and two misses (“Dazed and Confused” and “Heart and Souls”).

The studio has seen a number of director- and/or producer-driven deals making an exodus. Among the high-profile deals that have left, are leaving or have changed to non-exclusive status are Sydney Pollack’s Mirage Enterprises, Joe Dante and Mike Finnell’s Renfield Prods. — both of which are being courted by Paramount — and Rosalie Swedlin’s Longview Entertainment (which changed from an exclusive to a non-exclusive deal).

U execs, meanwhile, have recently signed two separate production deals for brothers Larry and Charles Gordon, formerly of Largo Entertainment. They also renewed a deal with director/writer Phil Alden Robinson.

Long-term relationship

Albert has been with Alphaville for two years but has worked with Daniel for nine years. She was director of production under Daniel when he was Universal’s president of production during the mid-1980s.

Even though Albert will ankle Alphaville, she will remain closely partnered with the company on a number of film projects, among them an action movie titled “The French Teacher.”

The project, the story of an undercover agent hiding out at a private school, is the second script written by Mita (who used to be an assistant to U veepee Nina Jacobson) and McClain. The duo’s first effort, “Track Down,” sold to Columbia. Albert will also produce (with Alphaville) a comedy by Ian Abrams titled “The Class of Monte Cristo,” the story of a young man who is picked on in high school and gets his royal revenge later in life.

Both were originally brought to Alphaville by Albert.

She will also produce a new comedy by the writing duo Erik and Greg Hansen.

“I think there comes a time in your life when you pursue what you’re most passionate about,” Albert said.

As Alphaville renegotiates its deal at Universal, sources outside say the company is in the process of downsizing. Yet Alphaville execs deny this, saying that their status remains the same.

Among their current projects is “Village of the Damned.”

The company is also partnered with Robinson on both “The Mississippi Project” and a second film on the recent war experiences in Sarajevo, to be partially based on the bestselling book “Zlata’s Diary” to which U recently acquired the film rights.

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