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Catch 23 styles Barber prez

New prod'n co. to see 3-5 pics a year

Jeremy Barber has been named president of Catch 23 Entertainment, the Los Angeles production company launched by Denver-based financier and philanthropist Robert Sturm. In addition, Barber will serve as the head of a new talent management outfit that will be backed by Catch 23.

As Catch 23’s president, Barber — previously Artisan Entertainment’s exec veep of acquisitions and production– will oversee development and production of three to five pics a year in the $3 million-$15 million range. The company has a first-look deal with Universal Pictures.

The as-yet-unnamed management firm — which will also offer discretionary funds to commission, develop and package new writers’ projects — plans to hire managers as well as acquire established management companies both in the U.S. and London. Marina Zenovich, Catch 23’s senior VP of acquisitions and development, will also serve as a manager at the new entity.

In addition, Catch 23 has named James R. Ewing to the post of senior VP of finance, where he will manage the company’s financial, administrative and ac-counting activities. Eleanore Reznikoff has been named director of marketing, where she will assist with Sturm’s charitable activity within the entertainment world.

Joining Barber from Artisan is Cindy Tang, who will serve as his assistant and as coordinator of acquisitions and development.

Catch 23 and Intermedia are co-financing Bob Manganelli’s “AfterImage,” a project that was developed at the Sundance Screenwriters and Filmmakers Labs and will be exec produced by Arnold Rifkin.

“We are delighted here to have Jeremy join Catch 23,” said Sturm, who serves as Catch 23’s chairman. “Jeremy is one of the top executives in the independent film world. His broad industry expertise and dealmaking experience, coupled with his passion for independent film and discerning eye for new creative voices, will be immensely valuable at this important time in the growth of our company.”

Said Barber: “Our goal is to turn Catch 23 into one of the top producers of hip and cool independent films. Sturm’s commitment to finance edgy and difficult fare permits us to program movies that other film companies cannot easily make. Moreover, our deal with Universal gives us access to terrific domestic distribu-tion.”

Said Industry Entertainment principal Nick Wechsler: “Jeremy is a great friend to the creative community. He was a tenacious executive at Artisan, known for his intelligence, integrity and taste, and will be a terrific asset for Catch 23.”

During his tenure at Artisan, Barber was responsible for running the acquisition department, soliciting scripts and packages from the creative community, and negotiating the company’s co-production and co-financing deals. Among other projects, Barber oversaw the acquisition of “The Blair Witch Project” and Robert Altman’s up-coming feature “Dr. T and the Women.”

John Dellaverson, of Loeb & Loeb, and Barber negotiated Barber’s deal, with attorney Bruce Vann repping Catch 23.

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