Helkon rebrands as Redbus

Distribber to become all-round media investor

LONDON — Helkon SK, the British distrib run by co-founders Simon Franks and Zygi Kamasa, has reverted to its old name Redbus and restructured its operations.

Franks will continue to head the core company, Redbus Film Distribution, while Kamasa will spearhead the newly formed production arm Redbus Pictures.

According to a company statement, Franks “intends to reposition Redbus as a media investments group, building interests in film, broadcasting and ancillary media businesses.”

Meanwhile, Franks and Kamasa are still in negotiation to buy back the majority stake in their renamed company from Germany’s Helkon Medien, which is in liquidation.

The British duo has the contractual right to buy back the stake at the end of 2003, but is seeking to complete the deal sooner. Once this situation is resolved, Franks will own 70% of the company, which was originally launched as Redbus in 1998 before Helkon acquired it in 2001.

Redbus Pictures, which aims to make up to four films a year, is currently shooting its first movie, “Tooth,” a $12 million fantasy kids comedy from first-time helmer Ed Nammour. It stars Stephen Fry, Richard E. Grant and Jim Broadbent.

Redbus is retaining U.K., German, French and Eastern European rights to “Tooth,” signaling that the company still intends to pursue its long-stated ambition to become a Pan-European distrib.

Kamasa’s team at Redbus Pictures will include head of development Emma Berkofsky and Nick Manzi. Kamasa will also continue to work with Franks on acquiring pics for U.K. distribution. Chris Bailey heads the theatrical distribution operation.

Anthony Ceravolo has joined Redbus as director of corporate finance, and Guy Avshalom has been appointed as director of business affairs.

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