Signpost yanks post

Blighty company to reopen Canuck arm in '03

MONTREAL — The U.K.’s Signpost Films has shuttered its Canuck distrib just one month after opening it.

Yves Dion and Andy Myers, the seasoned Canadian execs tapped to head it, have been axed by Signpost, which is closing offices in Montreal and Toronto.

Darryl Iwai, Signpost prexy of worldwide distribution, said it was too early for a Canadian distributor as Signpost will not be releasing pics before mid-2003. But he couldn’t explain why Signpost had changed its mind about its Canadian plans so suddenly.

“We started it a year too early. The product won’t start until the spring of 2003. We’ve just greenlit those films. So it made more sense to wait until our product starts to flow.”

When pressed on the abrupt change of plans, Iwai said, “Things happen for various reasons, not just for pure business reasons.”

Signpost will be setting up a Canadian company, likely next year, and is pushing ahead with plans for distribs in other territories, said Iwai.

Montreal backing

When the Canadian Signpost affiliate was set up in February (Daily Variety, Feb. 21), Signpost execs said that they chose the country for their first domestic distribution in a foreign country because one of the main stakeholders in Signpost is Montreal-based CDP Capital Communications, the media and entertainment division of Quebec government pension fund CDP Capital.

But the distrib stirred up controversy on the Canadian film scene with rivals grumbling about the Quebec government supporting a U.K.-based competitor.

A spokesman for CDP Capital said the decision to close the Canuck branch was not influenced by execs at CDP but was an independent decision of the Signpost board. Neither Dion nor Myers could be reached for comment.

Signpost is a partnership of Stewart Till (who is CEO), CDP Capital Communications and the Mosaic Media Group. Company has production deals with Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment and Eric Gold and Jimmy Miller’s Gold/Miller Co. It recently signed with Miramax Films, giving the distrib first option on U.S. rights to Signpost pics.

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