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U.K. pic exex race to revive biz

Kuhn, Till working separately to build new company

Polygram Filmed Entertainment is dead, but the dream lives on.

For the past year or so, its two principal architects — former president Michael Kuhn and former international prexy Stewart Till — have been working separately on plans to create their own U.K.-based international film companies, which would pick up where PFE left off.

Both are now within sight of success. If just one of them pulls it off, that will still rep a big boost for the British and Euro film industries.

The contrasting pair, who remain cordial but not especially close, share a sense of unfinished business about PFE’s untimely demise following Seagram’s takeover of Polygram. Both are clearly looking for vindication. Kuhn insists that PFE reached profitability in its last year, just one year behind schedule.

As vice chairman of the U.K.’s new Film Council, Till is now at the forefront of a public funding policy designed to encourage the growth of “new Polygrams” — integrated British studios. In its production policy, the Film Council has even been criticized for behaving too much like a wannabe studio itself.

It’s no wonder that the entire British film industry is on tenterhooks to discover what progress Till and Kuhn are making in their comebacks.

Kuhn and Till are both guarding details of their financing, their partners and their strategies as closely as possible. There have been one or two false dawns already, and they are taking nothing for granted until the ink is dry.

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