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O’Brian inks for Noble House unit

TORONTO — Peter O’Brian, the Canadian producer of award-winning films “The Grey Fox” and “My American Cousin,” has joined forces with Noble House Communications Inc. with the aim of building it into a new entertainment company.

O’Brian will merge a division of his privately held Independent Pictures Inc. into a new production subsidiary of Noble House to be called Mission Pictures Inc. Mission Pictures is expected to produce two to four feature films a year — its first scheduled to begin in early 1998 — with budgets of up to $C8 million ($5.8 million). Noble House president David Wolinsky said Monday that he’d announce details of the company’s production plans soon.

Noble House is one of Canada’s smallest publicly traded entertainment companies. It recorded no revenue in the first quarter ended March 31, compared with $C65,174 ($46,925) a year earlier. The share price gained a penny to 31¢ (Canadian) in over-the-counter trading Monday before the stock was halted pending news of O’Brian’s appointment.

Noble House owns a library of 20 feature films, mainly B action films such as “Death Wish V”

O’Brian produced Phillip Borsos’ “The Grey Fox,” which earned Canada’s best picture Genie in 1983 and a nomination that year for best foreign film at the Golden Globe Awards; and Sandy Wilson’s “My American Cousin,” which won the international critics’ award at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival and the best picture Genie in 1985. He also produced Disney’s “One Magic Christmas” and, for 20th Century Fox, “Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog,” which was a top-selling video in 1995.

From 1988 to 1991, O’Brian served as the first executive director of the Canadian Film Centre, the training school founded by Norman Jewison, where he is producer-in-residence.