Ex-Miramax exex to bow pic shingle

Sr. veeps form Blum Israel Prods., ink financing deal

Jason Blum and Amy Israel, the Miramax acquisitions duo that led the team that acquired such films as “Il Postino” “Life Is Beautiful” and “Shall We Dance,” have formed Blum Israel Prods. and taken a non-exclusive first-look deal with Miramax.

The pact, which sources say is a two-year deal with a third-year extension possible, allows the new shingle to fully finance a film or seek co-financing or full financing via Miramax. Blum Israel Prods. is self-financing development.

The shingle, which will have offices in Gotham and Los Angeles, already has two television projects and five feature films in active development. The company will look for a broad range of material and hopes to make several films a year.

Prior to leaving the company in January, Blum and Israel both held the title senior vice president of acquisitions and co-productions along with Agnes Mentre, who remains Miramax’s executive veep of acquisitions and co-productions.

Blum was recently exec producer of “Hamlet,” starring Ethan Hawke and directed by Michael Almereyda.

‘Great contributors’

“Amy and Jason have been great contributors to the Miramax family,” said Harvey Weinstein. “We look forward to continuing our strong and successful relationship with them as they launch their own independent company.”

“We are grateful for the mentoring Harvey has provided us over the years,” Blum said.

Added Israel: “At Miramax, we developed strong relationships with groundbreaking filmmakers. Our new company will continue our commitment to bringing the innovative visions of writers and directors to the screen.”

Fest vets

In heading Miramax’s acquisitions team, Blum and Israel supervised an international staff of 26 and attended nearly every major film festival for the past seven years. At Miramax they acquired films at all stages of production — scripts, pitches, finished films. They also were active in acquiring remakes and books.

Among the other films they were instrumental in acquiring were: “Kids,” “Basquiat,” “Mrs. Brown,” “Priest,” “Smoke Signals,” “Swingers” and “Kolya.”

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