Sands Shifts To Miramax Int’l Prexy

Gearing up for a strong presence at the Berlin Film Festival and the American Film Market, Miramax Films has upped Rick Sands to the position of president of Miramax Intl., with David Linde taking the No. 2 spot of exec VP.

The promotion follows quickly on the return of Sands to the Miramax fold – and just as quickly on the announced imminent departure of outgoing pres Ian Jessel. When Jessel’s resignation, effective next month, was confirmed in January, sources said the president post would go unfilled. The surprise decision to up Sands comes just as Miramax Intl. heads to Berlin and AFM with what the company considers a very strong slate.

Sands rejoined the company last month after two years as exec VP/chief financial officer at RHI Entertainment. He held the same titles at Miramax Films prior to RHI, assisting co-chairmen Harvey and Bob Weinstein in the sale of the distrib to the Walt Disney Co.

Linde’s rise at Miramax has been nearly as swift. He joined in 1991 as a VP of acquisitions and was upped to senior VP of international sales and acquisitions two years later.

Bob Weinstein called the Sands-Linde pairing “a formidable international team.” As prexy, Sands will supervise all sales, marketing, distribution and acquisition activities of Miramax Intl. The company says he’ll also work to establish “strategic alliances” throughout the world, with an initial emphasis on co-production activities.

Both Sands and Linde will be based in Miramax’s New York headquarters. Whether other Miramax Intl. staffers currently based in Los Angeles will move east is uncertain.

At the Berlin fest, Miramax will premiere “Smoke,” the Wayne Wang-Paul Auster pic screening in competition. Also bowing in Berlin: “Blue in the Face,” the Wang-Auster experimental film accompanying “Smoke,” and Wally White’s “Lie Down With Dogs.” Miramax plans a private screening of Kayo Hatta’s “Picture Bride.”

At AFM in Santa Monica, Miramax Intl. will be licensing “Four Rooms,” the Quentin Tarantino-Lawrence Bender production that features segs by four directors – Tarantino, Alison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell and Robert Rodriguez; Gary Fleder’s “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead”; and Michael Hoffman’s period pic “Restoration.”