York/Maverick prod’n up

Co. signs first-look deals with producers Miller Jr., Clark

HOLLYWOOD — Reflecting new plans to increase inhouse production, indie video company York/Maverick Entertainment has signed first-look deals with producers George “Chip” Miller Jr. and L. Travis Clark.

Company, which distributed 69 movies last year, also has hired a new producer and development exec and put York/Maverick director of development Steve Hadju in charge of its planned bigger-budget productions.

York Entertainment president-CEO Tanya York said she hopes to produce 24 inhouse productions each year.

York/Maverick, which specializes in urban feature films, wrapped production last week on urban/action film “Random Acts of Violence,” starring rapper Mack 10 (“Thicker Than Water”). Maverick president Doug Schwab is producer on the film, for which he wrote the original treatment.

Industry development veteran Tamala Hutcherson has been named director of creative affairs, charged with developing urban features with budgets under $1 million and attracting new writers and directors to the division. She previously developed productions for the TV unit of Alliance Atlantis.

Producer-director Paul Wynne (York/Maverick’s “2 G’s & a Key”) has been brought inhouse to work exclusively with York/Maverick. He has lined up his next feature, “Into the Mix,” a modern-day urban Romeo and Juliet actioner developed by Hadju. The division also is working on comedy “Rent Party.” Wynne is expected to produce eight films for the studio in 2002, directing four.

The first-look deal with Miller and Clark calls for them and their production companies to bring packaged films to York/Maverick to greenlight.

York said the company typically breaks even, averaging $800,000-$1 million in domestic release revenue, and has started expanding its distribution overseas. The company has begun to overcome traditional resistance overseas to films with all-black casts by filling their soundtracks with hot hip-hop artists.

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