‘Dog’ bites Woods

Independent Pictures makes first grab

NEW YORK — Cary Woods’ New Line Cinema-backed Independent Pictures has made its first acquisition. The Gotham-based indie bought Bruce McCulloch’s romantic comedy “Dog Park” from Lions Gate Films at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival.

Friday’s acquisition reunites Woods with a former client. While working at the William Morris Agency a decade ago, Woods represented McCulloch (“The Kids in the Hall”).

Starring Natasha Henstridge, Luke Wilson, Janeane Garofalo, McCulloch and Mark McKinney, “Dog Park” made its world premiere in Toronto. Pic follows an offbeat group of people whose lives become intertwined while walking their pets.

“It gives me particular pleasure to be reunited with Bruce and Mark, with whom I worked during an earlier part of my career,” said Woods. “It is exciting to be involved with a film that is as chock full of young comedic talent as ‘Dog Park’ is.”

Woods formed Independent Pictures in May with financing provided by New Line, a unit of Time Warner Inc., and a Middle Eastern financial institution as well as his own capital. Prior to Independent, he ran Woods Entertainment, which had a deal with Miramax Films. Woods’ producing credits include “Kids,” “Scream,” “Cop Land” and “Gummo.”

New Line has agreed to distribute 20 of Independent’s films over the next five years. Independent plans to produce or acquire four to six films annually.

New York attorney John Sloss negotiated the deal on behalf of Lions Gate, whose distribution arm picked up U.S. rights to “The Red Violin” and “Last Night” out of the Toronto Fest.

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