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Baker cooks new co.

Cineaste Ent. bows with Pare starrer 'Means'

Todd Baker, former director of development at NDG Prods. (John Woo’s “Once a Thief”), has formed a new production company, Cineaste Entertainment.

The outfit’s first project is the feature “Men of Means,” starring Michael Pare, which begins shooting July 14.

The underworld drama was scripted by Shane Perez, a New York City doorman who answered an ad calling for material that Baker placed in Variety.

“We got over 400 submissions,” Baker said. “Shane’s was miles above the rest.”

Perez was encouraged to write by actor Austin Pendleton, a tenant in the building where he worked, who will also likely have a role in the film.

Strange bedfellows

The story focuses on a muscle man for a ruthless Brooklyn mobster who betrays his boss and falls in love with the daughter of one of his collection accounts.

“Men” is produced by Dan D’Or and G. Philip Jackson, partners in the Toronto-based film production and distribution company Producers Network Associates. Baker serves as co-executive producer, pending approval from the Canadian Audio Visual Certification Board.

The picture’s $2 million budget will be financed mostly by Saban Entertainment, which will handle foreign sales. The film has no U.S. distributor.

Baker is a graduate of the State U. of New York at Purchase, which has produced such leading lights of the indie film scene as Hal Hartley, Parker Posey and Nick Gomez.

Cineaste is also developing Scott Farbon’s “The ABC’s of the Saint Peter Watusi,” which Baker describes as “a piece with Tarantino characters in a Capraesque world.”

NDG, topped by William Laurin and Glenn Davis, has a development deal with Alliance Communications. In addition to exec producing the Alliance series “John Woo’s Once a Thief,” NDG produced the CBS pilot “Shock Treatment.”

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