CQN to release art pix

Marai to head up new niche releasing label

Sales and distribution company Cinequanon Pictures Intl. has launched its own domestic releasing label, CQN Releasing, to be headed by arthouse vet Peter Marai.

The announcement brings to at least 20 the number of companies jostling for position in niche U.S. theatrical film distribution.

CQN, which plans to handle between five and 10 features per annum, has signed a exclusive distribution deal with Seventh Art Releasing.

CQN will supply P&A monies and design the marketing campaigns for the pics. Seventh Art will handle physical distribution.

“There’s a lot of people in this (niche) area,” conceded CPI president Dan Sales. “We’re going to be handling these films very carefully and very selectively.”

Sales said that CQN expected to generate higher ancillary revenues for its specialized pics following their theatrical release, but added that it was not a focus of the deal. “We think that we can make money theatrically,” he said.

CQN may handle some pics financed and produced by CPI.

CQN’s first pic will be the Argentinean drama “Life According to Muriel,” directed by Eduardo Milwicz. CQN will give the pic a limited release this sum-mer.

“We will be looking particularly closely at Spanish- and French-language films,” said Marai, who becomes CQN’s vice president of domestic distribution. CQN may also pick up English-language pics, he noted.

Marai has handled the U.S. release of such foreign pics as Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Red Desert,” Luchino Visconti’s “Rocco and his Brothers” and four Luis Bunuel pics, including “Wuthering Heights.”

Niche distrib Seventh Art’s releases include “The Long Way Home,” which won the Oscar for best documentary this year.