O’Hair raises new shingle

Veep ankles U for prod'n, finance company

Tim O’Hair is ankling as production veep at Universal to partner with Bill Papariella to start the Dept. of Motion Pictures, a production and finance company backed by investors Adam Batz and Richard Bard.

DMP will produce a slate of films budgeted between $10 million and $35 million. Company will finance from funding it is still finalizing and will co-produce with studios only.

Commitments from investors Bard and Batz cover overhead and development costs.

DMP will focus exclusively on mid-budget, youth-oriented fare, a niche O’Hair and Papariella believe is underserved by studios that concentrate heavily on producing large-budgeted tentpoles.

Papariella, currently prexy-CEO of 9th Floor Media, will fold that company into DMP. He will run the day-to-day operations while O’Hair oversees the production side of the business.

Popular on Variety

Papariella runs 9th Floor Media Holdings and recently partnered with Benderspink to start Brand X Entertainment, which looks for projects easily matched with corporate sponsors.

Joining the company are Josh Schaer, from 9th Floor, as director of development and U’s Mike Webber, who will assist O’Hair on the production side.

‘Talented executive’

O’Hair departs Universal at the end of the month. In a statement, he said, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such a skilled group of executives. I look forward to finding projects we can work on together in my new capacity.”

Production prexys Mary Parent and Scott Stuber bid him adieu as “an exceptionally talented executive.” They added, “Although we’ll miss him, we wish him the very best in his exciting new venture.”

While at U, O’Hair oversaw pics including “Bring It On,” “How High,” and “8 Mile,” as well as upcoming releases “Hulk” and “The Cat in the Hat.”

Close ties with Benderspink

Papariella told Daily Variety that he expects to continue his close relationship with Benderspink at the new venture. “We have come a long way because of people like J.C. Spink, Chris Bender and Richard Bard.”

The Brand X firm will now become a division of DMP and Benderspink.

Bard is a Denver-based investor who has founded a number of Nasdaq- and NYSE-traded companies.

Batz is a Kansas City-based investor who was one of the original investors in Thrifty Call, a Texas telco that sold for $400 million.