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Hegeman hops to Live

Live Entertainment has hired former Orion and MGM marketing exec John Hegeman as exec VP of theatrical marketing.

In an unrelated move, Live chief financial officer Ron Cushey reportedly is ankling the company.

Hegeman, who has served as Imax VP of film distribution for less than a year, joins Live in January. The native New Yorker will relocate from L.A. to Gotham, where he will report to Live co-president Amir Malin.

Live has not had a marketing head since August, when Elliot Slutzky quit his post as exec VP of domestic distribution and marketing after clashes with Malin.

“We’ve been very deliberative about the process,” Malin said. “When you’re trying to set an agenda as a theatrical company after being known largely as a video company, it’s very important to make the right choices and send the right signal to the creative community.”

In addition to overseeing marketing for Live’s theatrical pictures, Malin said he expects Hegeman to be involved in feature acquisition and production decisions.

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“We don’t want to have a team where production and acquisition people just hand off product to marketing and distribution people,” Malin said. “We want to have John’s wisdom and intuition and experience at looking at films and scripts.”

The 34-year-old Hegeman joined Metromedia Entertainment Group in October 1996, but went to Imax the following spring after MEG was swallowed by MGM.

Before MEG, Hegeman spent two and a half years at MGM/UA, where he served as senior VP of marketing and distribution. From 1988-94, Hegeman was at Orion Pictures, working his way up from New York sales rep to VP of domestic distribution.

His feature marketing experience ranges from specialized films such as Orion’s “Ulee’s Gold” and MGM’s “Leaving Las Vegas” to commercial product including such MGM titles as “The Silence of the Lambs” and “The Birdcage.”

“One of the most exciting aspects about Live is their commitment to making strong independent theatrical pictures,” Hegeman said. “They understand the importance for the theatrical marketplace and their library.”

Hegeman said he expects the company to release between four and seven pictures theatrically over the next year, beginning in February with the urban drama “Caught Up.” He said he expected the slate to combine specialized titles with one to three commercial pics per year.

Cushey joined Live in early 1995 after serving for a year as financial consultant to the company. Before Live he was an executive consultant for Pioneer North America, where he oversaw entertainment investments for the electronics giant. And prior to Pioneer, Cushey was chief financial officer of Nelson Holdings and Nelson Entertainment Group.

Live execs and Cushey declined to comment about Cushey’s departure.

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