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Cowboy’s co-chiefs redefine duties

Change indicates company's move to expand operations

NEW YORK — Five-year-old Cowboy Pictures has been restructured: Noah Cowan will serve as prexy of acquisition arm Code Red and John Vanco will hold the title prexy of Cowboy Pictures, the company’s distribution side.

Cowan and Vanco had been co-presidents of Cowboy; the reorganization more sharply divides their responsibilities and indicates the company’s move to expand operations.

Code Red was created in May 2000 by Cowboy Pictures and Antidote Films’ Jeffrey Levy-Hinte; it acquires and releases docs, and American indie and foreign-language pics. Cowan will manage Code Red’s releases with Cowboy as well as the ancillary lives of the Code Red library, which includes David Gordon Green’s “George Washington,” Catherine Breillat’s “Fat Girl,” and new releases Chris Smith’s “Home Movie” and Shohei Imamura’s “Warm Water Under a Red Bridge.”

As prexy of Cowboy Pictures, Vanco will run all day-to-day operations, including this summer’s openings of Sam Jones’ pic about band Wilco, “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” and “All About Lily Chou-Chou,” directed by Shunji Iwai.

Cowboy is also mounting a national summer re-release of “The Seven Samurai,” along with a 12-film Akira Kurosawa touring retrospective, in partnership with Janus Films.

Cowan said, “These moves will allow Cowboy and Code Red to grow as independent but strongly connected entities through the coming years, continuing our shared dedication to quality filmmaking from around the world.”

Past Cowboy releases include Aviva Kempner’s “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” Jem Cohen and Pete Sillen’s “Benjamin Smoke.” The company’s “The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition,” helmed by George Butler, has grossed roughly $2.5 million. Carlos Bolado’s “Promises,” released last year by Cowboy, was nominated for an Oscar.

Antidote Films just completed production on Lisa Cholodenko’s “Laurel Canyon,” starring Frances McDormand, Kate Beckinsale and Christian Bale, which will screen at Cannes in the Directors Fortnight. Its other recent credits include “American Saint” and Larry Fessenden’s “Wendigo.”