Zentropa pacts with L.A. sister

Von Trier hopes to create 'American films with European sensibilities'

Lars von Trier and Peter Aalbaek Jensen’s Denmark-based Zentropa Entertainments has struck a co-production pact with the newly formed ZentAmerica Entertainment, a sister shingle based in Los Angeles.

Thomas Mai, Rodney Omanoff and R.D. Robb will co-run and co-own the U.S. operation. ZentAmerica’s overhead will be handled by Omanoff under the guidance of his private investment company, Omanoff America.

Development and project financing will come from private equity investors, foreign pre-sales and distribution agreements with Zentropa.

Zentropa will co-produce films with ZentAmerica; post-production will be done at Zentropa’s studio in Denmark.

Mai will serve as the company’s head of sales and distribution. Formerly the head of Zentropa’s sales arm, Trust Film Sales, he ran acquisitions and sales for two years, acquiring and selling such films as “The Kingdom,” “Mifune,” “Show Me Love,” “The Idiots” and last year’s Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner “Dancer in the Dark.”

In his native Denmark, Mai produced “The Eighteenth” and “Possessed,” both Zentropa productions. He was recently named one of Variety’s 10 Producers to Watch.

Omanoff will serve as company CEO, handling day-to-day business affairs. Omanoff also co-owns Gotham/Los Angeles-based talent management shingle Creative Management Group with partner Edie Robb. He produced “Speedway Junky,” to be released by Regent Entertainment and recently divested from his position as managing partner in the comedy rep firm Intl. Artists Group.

R.D. Robb, who directed the controversial Berlin Film Festival-bound pic “Don’s Plum,” will head production and development. A television, film and theater actor, Robb starred in the original Broadway production of “Les Miserables” as well as “The Brady Bunch Movie,” “Eight Days a Week” and “A Christmas Story.”

“We are very much looking forward to working with Thomas, Rodney and R.D. in Cowboy Land,” Jensen said. “Beware Yankees, the Vikings are coming!” he declared.

“With ZentAmerica we want to continue to make films in the Zentropa style, only dare I say … American. American films with European sensibilities,” von Trier said.

“We want to develop relationships with exciting, young and seasoned filmmakers,” Robb said. “To give them the opportunities to make films the way they want to, so that their vision is what ends up on the screen.”