BV open for int’l sales

3 pix on block; Dragotto to head up effort

Buena Vista will expand its already lengthy tentacles in the international arena with the establishment of Buena Vista Film Sales as a full-service foreign sales firm, the company announced Thursday.

BV Film Sales will license all rights to properties overseas. The company already has three feature pics on the block with “Judas Kiss,” “Russell Mulcahy’s Talos the Mummy” and “Ashes From Paradise.” All three will be for sale at Mifed in Milan later this month.

Michael J. Dragotto, formerly handling sales for ABC Distribution Co., will head up the sales effort as VP of sales.

Anne Sterling, VP of acquisitions for Buena Vista Intl., will oversee acquisitions for the new firm.

Both report to Jere Hausfater, senior VP of acquisitions and biz affairs for BVI/Buena Vista Home Entertainment Worldwide.

Infrastructure in place

“The goal is to pick up between six and eight pictures per year and sell them in the marketplace,” Hausfater said. “The infrastructure is in place to do this.”

“Judas Kiss,” which will be written and helmed by Sebastian Gutierrez, is set to star Carla Gugino and Simon Baker.

Sources said Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and Til Schweiger are in talks to join the cast.

Bandeira Entertainment’s Beau Flynn, Stefan Simkowitz and Jonathan King are producing. Key Entertainment’s Matthias Emke and Thomas Ausberger are exec producers.

“Russell Mulcahy’s Talos the Mummy,” produced with Cine Grande Entertainment by Silvio Muraglia and Daniel Sladek, will star Jason Scott Lee, Louise Lombard, Christopher Lee and Shelley Duvall.

Mulcahy, who directed “The Shadow,” “Highlander” and “Silent Trigger,” is helming.

BVI and Patagonik Film Group will team up on “Ashes From Paradise,” with Marcelo Pineyro directing.

ABC sales included

Hausfater added that the new company will further Disney’s synergistic aims with its ABC relationship by handling domestic TV sales and worldwide video licensing of ABC-owned and acquired properties, including animated product from DIC Entertainment, Devillier Donegan Enterprises (docu productions), ABC News and inhouse feature film and miniseries product from ABC Prods.

The company will also acquire product for worldwide video sales. Recent buys have included the Castle Hill library, a filmed legit version of “Richard Burton’s Hamlet,” Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’ “The Golden Age of Comedy” and “Rogues Gallery,” and five one-hour specials chronicling infamous U.S. criminals.

“The addition of Buena Vista Film Sales to our existing acquisition strategy makes us an even stronger team,” Hausfater said. “We will continue to aggressively acquire all types of movies for the international marketplace. With BVFS, we are adding another layer of support for the independent film community, both as a sales arm and a filmmaking partner.”

Laura L. Smith will spearhead legal and business affairs. She reports to Jim Krauss, VP of biz and legal affairs.