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Guardian, Mainline duo forge Lightning banner

L.A.-based sales & distrib'n co. debuts at AFM

Film distribution and sales exec Richard Guardian has partnered with Mainline Releasing principals Rich Goldberg and Marc Greenberg to launch Lightning Entertainment, an L.A.-based boutique worldwide sales and distribution company.

Guardian will be prexy of the entity, debuting at the American Film Market, which runs Feb. 20-27. Goldberg and Greenberg will provide the initial funding to cover overhead, as well as acquisitions and co-productions.

Mainline Releasing will continue to operate separately as a video and television distributor.

Guardian was previously at Beyond Films’ L.A. office. He exited when the Australian-based company decided to shutter its L.A. office in October.

“While many companies are abandoning the international sales scene, we see room for growth,” Guardian said. “There are a number of suppliers of big-budget, studio-level films and many sellers of lower-end product, but only a few companies servicing the need for mid-budget theatrical films. That is an area where we will operate,” he added.

“Marc and I are solid believers in the ever-growing demand for content,” Goldberg said. “Richard’s experience, contacts and reputation on all levels of the film business will help us grow Lightning Entertainment into an important and successful supplier of filmed entertainment.”

Lighting aims to handle between six and eight theatrical titles per year for worldwide distribution as well as to package features and seek co-production partners, equity investment from distributors, tax-driven funds, subsidies and other sources of financing.

Lightning Entertainment has also tapped Mainline VP of acquisitions Joseph Dickstein to work as acquisitions consultant for the company.

Guardian, who started 23 years ago in the international theatrical distribution and marketing department of United Artists, has worked for such companies as Hoyts Theaters, De Laurentiis Entertainment, Overseas Filmgroup/First Look Pictures, HBO Enterprises and George Litto Pictures, working on such titles as “Richard III,” “God’s Army/The Prophecy” and “The Secret of Roan Inish.”

Most recently at Beyond Films, he sold U.S. rights to “Lantana” to Lions Gate Releasing and acquired international rights to indie hit “The Business of Strangers,” released Stateside by IFC Films.

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