Kitt tills Lee’s 40 Acres

Helmer Spike Lee’s longtime collaborator and indie producer Sam Kitt has been named prexy of production for Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, the company announced Tuesday.

Kitt and his staff will be responsible for finding projects for 40 Acres to develop and produce as well as for Lee to helm.

Kitt said Lee has made a decision to produce both the independent fare that he has long directed as well as “larger more mainstream movies” for Sony’s worldwide distribution pipeline.

Kitt will be based on the Sony Pictures Entertainment Culver City lot where Lee has a distribution deal. Lee will remain based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Sam and I have worked together since ‘Do the Right Thing’ and I trust his instincts for talent and material,” said Lee. “Setting up the West Coast office is the first step in our plans to expand both the number and the types of films we will produce.”

Lee added that 40 Acres intends to have something in production by the end of the year.

Kitt noted that Lee is specifically looking for a thriller and a musical to produce. He noted that Lee also wants create a film that could capture the tone and sensibility of “The Godfather” in a black setting.

Reporting to Kitt will be VP of development Karen Firestone, based in Culver City, and director of development Andre Hereford, based in the Brooklyn offices.

Columbia senior VP of production Matt Tolmach oversees the deal with Lee.

Lee’s working relationship with Kitt dates to 1988 when Kitt was an acquisitions exec at Universal and brought “Do the Right Thing” to the studio.

He later worked with Lee as a production exec on such pics as “Mo’ Better Blues,” “Jungle Fever,” “Crooklyn” and “Clockers.”

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