Intermedia duo shifts into prod’n mode

Exex step away from day-to-day duties, focus on pix

Intermedia co-chairmen Guy East and Nigel Sinclair are stepping down from their posts and giving up their Internationalmedia board seats.

Beginning today, they step into a non-exclusive production deal with Intermedia that begins with several of the company’s highest-profile pics. Initial Entertainment Group president/CEO Graham King, whose company was acquired last December by Intermedia, has been named to the board of directors.

This changing of the guard completes a process that the company co-founders set in motion last fall when a merger was planned with Spyglass Entertainment that would allow East and Sinclair to step away from day-to-day operational duties and concentrate on producing. The duo postponed those plans when the merger fell through.

The ascension to the board of King — whose IEG acquired and distributed “Traffic,” “Ali” and the upcoming Martin Scorsese-directed “Gangs of New York” — made it possible for the duo to start their own company.

Intermedia CEO Mortiz Borman becomes the company’s sole chairman.

“Graham King’s joining the board creates a smooth transition,” Borman said. “With their outstanding contacts, Nigel and Guy will now operate as powerhouse content suppliers for Intermedia. Graham will integrate IEG into the group, and I feel fortunate to have him join us on the company’s main board. We are all friends and look forward to working together for many years to come.”

Indeed, the duo described their pact as a “first-class producing deal, with substantial development funds,” and they will kick off the venture by acting in a supervisory capacity on the Bruce Willis starrer “Me Again,” the Harrison Ford starrer “Fred Cuny” and “The Long Green Shore,” on which Russell Crowe will make his directing debut.

Producing paths

They’ll either become exec producers or producers on those projects, and Sinclair also will proceed with his own music-based projects like “Masked and Anonymous,” starring Bob Dylan, with East working on European-based films such as “Sleepwalker,” which was set up with producer Mark Johnson and director Joel Schumacher, and “Das Experiment,” a pic set up with Barry Levinson and Paula Weinstein’s Baltimore/Spring Creek.

It closes a chapter for East and Sinclair, who formed Intermedia as a foreign sales entity in 1997, growing it from a modest portfolio of indie films like “Sliding Doors” and “Hilary and Jackie” to its current status as arguably the most prolific indie financier-producer and distributor of big-ticket pictures. Upcoming are the Harrison Ford starrer “K-19: The Widowmaker” and the Jonathan Mostow-directed “T3: Rise of the Machines,” the most expensive greenlit movie in history.

Still booming

East and Sinclair merged Intermedia with Borman’s Pacifica in 2000 and went public on the German Neuer Markt the same year. Despite a stock hit after the Spyglass debacle, the cash-rich company announced in April that it would double revenues and increase profits this year. Counting the absorption of IEG and Largo library, Intermedia’s film library will be about 110 titles, counting the films in the pipeline.

“The company is in great hands with Moritz and the outstanding Intermedia team,” said Sinclair, who with East continues to hold 25% of the company’s stock. “We are completely proud to have nurtured Intermedia from the early days of brilliant independent films to the heights of ‘K-19’ and ‘T3.’ ”

East said: “The last five years have been the most dynamic business adventure, and we feel particularly privileged to have had the support of so many talented artists to take Intermedia from its infancy to where it is going now.”

While they will hit the ground running with a satchel of films already in development, the duo hope to take time to think of a name for their new producing venture.