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Warner Bros. inks first-look with HSI

In a preemptive strike that could reap significant benefits for the studio down the line, Warner Bros. has signed an exclusive first-look agreement with HSI Prods., one of the industry’s largest commercial and musicvideo production companies.

The deal, signed Tuesday, gives the studio first dibs on projects for film or pay television developed by Venice-based HSI, including those already under way in tandem with film partners Tomorrow Films, which is run by Yoram Perlman.

Bill Gerber and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Warner Bros.’ presidents of worldwide theatrical production, struck the deal with HSI prexy Stavros Merjos. It was handled by attorney Tom Hunter of Bloom, Hergott, Cook, Diemer & Klein, and brokered by William Morris agents Rob Carlson, Alan Gasmer and John Mass.

One of HSI’s most valuable assets is its relationships with young and rising directors and cinematographers, many of whom likely will move onto feature production work. Indeed, three in HSI’s stable of directors — Samuel Bayer, Gerard de Thame and Paul Hunter — already are directing feature films. Film production had been begun at HSI about a year ago under the supervision of Merjos and Adam Rosenfelt, HSI’s executive VP-film and management.

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