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Lorber crossing pond for U.K. homevid label

Co. looking to secure rights to pix, TV drama, docus

NEW YORK — With an eye to tapping the hugely lucrative but still nascent overseas market for DVD TV and film product, Gotham-based Lorber Media has joined forces with U.K. distrib 3DD Entertainment to launch a U.K. homevid-DVD label, inD, along with Brit indie production outfit Red.

The new indie label is looking to secure rights to both new and classic films along with TV drama, feature documentaries and music specials. New unit, headed by 3DD CEO Dominic Saville, also signed an exclusive marketing and sales agreement with Bertelsmann-owned Fremantle Home Entertainment.

Lorber Media, the brainchild of indie and foreign language film distributor Richard Lorber, first teamed with international sales agent 3DD in August 2002 to help the U.K.-based entity source U.S. programming for worldwide distribution. The two companies subsequently acquired the rarely seen American Film Theater collection of classic films

Together with Red — best known for producing Russell T Davies’ “Queer as Folk” for Channel Four, as well as “Clocking” and “Linda Green” for BBC1 — Lorber told Daily Variety the inD partners maximize value “in terms of relationship and product flow” in a U.K. market where producers are now freer to retain rights in the feature and TV product they produce. Looking to Red to be “a curator for the best of British TV,” Lorber is hoping the label will be characterized by a new and edgy range of titles.

“We are creating a new exciting home for the DVD rights owned by U.K. and foreign producers,” said Saville. He added inD’s approach will be to “establish ongoing long-term relationships” with top producers in the U.S. and rest of world.

Bates pix among first

AFT titles “Butley” and “In Celebration,” both starring the late Alan Bates, are expected to be the first releases under the new inD label later this spring. The DVDs will feature exclusive (and possibly the last) interviews with Bates. The AFT collection counts 14 films by celebrated directors such as Lindsay Anderson, John Frankenheimer, Arthur Hiller and Harold Pinter.

Lorber said the new partnership will be acquiring both U.K. and international DVD rights, and that the three entities will coordinate their efforts and leverage their distribution scale in order to secure better terms and additional territories. “This creates some critical mass and gives us leverage with our U.S., U.K, and worldwide sales agency business,” said Lorber.

With the U.K. market only just now catching the DVD sales wave that has fueled huge growth in U.S. content sales for both TV and film product, Lorber noted inD’s approach “will be more broad-based than (Lorber Media’s) U.S. niche strategy.”

In the U.S., Lorber’s DVD label, Koch Lorber Films, jointly owned with leading U.S. independent recorded music distrib Koch Entertainment, will soon release the Jacques Demy classic “Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” starring Catherine Deneuve. The film is getting a 40th anniversary theatrical release.

Lorber and Saville will be scouring Berlin, Rotterdam and the AFM in search of product for the label. Lorber is primarily responsible for sourcing U.S. and worldwide acquisitions (coordinated with North American buys for Koch Lorber Films) while Red will concentrate on the U.K. market.

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