Lions Gate taps int’l co-prexys

Duo to fill Drake's absence

In a divisional restructuring, Nick Meyer and Sergei Yershov have been appointed co-presidents of Lions Gate Films Intl., the international sales division of Lions Gate Films.

Meyer and Yershov’s promotions fill the spot left vacant by former LGFI prexy Joe Drake, who left the company to head the newly formed sales and distribution company Senator Intl. (Daily Variety, April 5).

In their new posts, Meyer and Yershov will now share responsibility for the overseas sales, distribution, marketing, finance and co-productions of Lions Gate feature product, which has most recently led to the greenlight for such projects as “American Psycho” and its sequel, “American Psycho 2,” “Shadow of the Vampire” and the upcoming “Frailty.”

In addition, LGFI has just picked up worldwide distribution rights to two new titles that it will unveil at Cannes, “Monster’s Ball” and “Liberty Stands Still.”

Directed by Marc Forster, “Monster’s Ball,” starring Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry and Wes Bentley, is due to begin production on location in Louisiana in May. Milo Addica and Will Rokas penned the script; pic’s produced by Lee Daniels and exec produced by Mark Urman and Michael Paseornek.

Action thriller “Liberty Stands Still,” starring Wesley Snipes, Linda Fiorentino and Oliver Platt, is in post. Written and directed by Kari Skogland, the film is produced by Gary Pearl and exec produced by Mario Ohoven, Michael Ohoven, William Vince and Peter A. Marshall.

Pumped up since merger

“Since our merger with Trimark, we have significantly increased our production and acquisitions efforts,” said John Feltheimer, CEO of Lions Gate Entertainment. “We are fortunate to have two talented, proven executives to take on the challenge of making a much larger volume of product than we have traditionally distributed internationally.”

Meyer was formerly VP of sales and distribution at LGFI. Over the last two years, he’s overseen the international launches of “Shadow of the Vampire,” “Amores Perros” and “American Psycho.”

Prior to Lions Gate, Meyer worked for five years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, most recently in the acquisitions division of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group as director of worldwide sales and acquisitions. Meyer began at SPE in its specialty division, Sony Pictures Classics, where he served as director of advertising and publicity.

Yershov, formerly senior VP of international sales at Trimark, became exec VP at LGFI when Lions Gate and Trimark Holdings merged last June. He joined Trimark in January 1995 as director of international sales, became VP in 1996 and headed Trimark’s international sales department as exec VP since 1998, overseeing the launches of such titles as “Eve’s Bayou,” “Cube” and “Slam.”

Lions Gate’s upcoming slate also includes “The Cat’s Meow,” directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Kirsten Dunst and Cary Elwes, and “Perfume,” written and directed by Michael Rymer.