Johnson-Burnett bows film, TV unit

Schwartz to o'see division, seeking young writers

NEW YORK — The Johnson-Burnett Entertainment Group, which represents some of the top TV commercial directors in the U.S., has set up a movie division to move its clients into the making of theatrical and TV movies.

Allan B. Schwartz, the executive VP of Johnson-Burnett who will run the division, said that right off the bat he’s looking for young writers with ideas that could be developed into movie scripts. “We’re going to take baby steps, not giant steps,” Schwartz added.

For example, the company won’t have the resources to bid against the major studios on the movie rights to such high-visibility projects as the latest John Grisham novel, he said.

Some of the J-B clients eager to move into directing theatrical and TV movies are Stan Schofield (commercials for McDonald’s, Nike, Hallmark and Budweiser), Tony Frere (Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, General Electric, Visa and Apple Computers), Robbie Kenner (documentaries for National Geographic and PBS’ “American Experience”) and Sherry Simpson (an executive producer who works with directors of musicvideos and commercials).

Biff Johnson, one of J-B’s owners, has connections with investors in South Africa and Australia who will put up money to develop some of these planned movies, Schwartz said.

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