×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MPD renamed Alliance Films

Distribution unit returns to roots

Motion Picture Distribution, the distribution arm of what was Alliance Atlantis Communications, is returning to its roots.

The company is being renamed Alliance Films under a new management team, headed by Canadian distribution impresario Victor Loewy, who co-founded the original Alliance Entertainment with Robert Lantos in the early 1980s.

“It’s absolutely a coming home; it’s very joyful,” Loewy said Monday. “It’s gratifying to be back.”

Former Miramax executive Charles Layton has been appointed prexy; Xavier Marchand, former managing director of MPD’s British division, Momentum Pictures and Spanish sister Aurum, is prexy of the international division.

Marchand was suspended from MPD in January “without cause,” according to Loewy, who said that Marchand continued to run the company from home, “even though he wasn’t supposed to do it. There was a big leadership vacuum in the interim period, so he did it anyway.”

Loewy himself has been intimately tied with the company from day one. His Alliance Entertainment became the largest production and independent distribution company in Canada until its sale in 1998 to rival Atlantis Communications, forming Alliance Atlantis Communications.

Lantos moved on while Loewy remained to head the distribution division, which was renamed Motion Picture Distribution. “It was a terrible name,” says Loewy.

Loewy has had his ups and downs with his former employers, most recently quitting 14 months ago.

But the tiff put in jeopardy an unknown number of MPD’s lucrative output deals, which include New Line, Miramax, Focus and the Weinstein Co., so Loewy was rehired as a consultant.

“I’m really glad that everything is behind us and we finally have a team in place, and we’re ready to start and ready to prove ourselves once again,” he said.

There’s still some housecleaning to be done. Alliance Atlantis Communications’ $2.3 billion sale to CanWest Global Communications and Goldman Sachs closed in August, and the company was broken up, with Goldman Sachs and Canadian partner EdgeStone Capital Partners, a private equity firm, taking on the distribution division.

That part of the transaction has yet to receive the greenlight from Heritage Canada, since Canadian distributors have to be controlled by Canadians.

Although it is unclear how much of the equity is held by Goldman Sachs and how much by EdgeStone, EdgeStone has the controlling interest in the company, Loewy said, including the majority of seats on the board and voting control.

That decision notwithstanding, Alliance Films is already on a shopping spree. The company is actively looking to acquire distributors to add to its stable, primarily in Germany and Scandinavia for now, but in other European countries later as well, he said.

In addition, Loewy and his colleagues are busy at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival, which runs until Saturday.

They are working to sign output deals with independent U.S. production companies as well as picking up individual films from Canadian producers for their Canadian operations and from Europeans for Momentum and Aurum.

Alliance Films is Canada’s largest independent distributor with a market share of between 15% and 23%, but Loewy must now compete with two of his former colleagues and closest protégés: Lantos, who recently hung out distribution shingle Maximum Films; and Patrice Theroux, who recently set up a distribution division for Toronto-based Entertainment One following its acquisition of Montreal-based Seville Pictures, a mid-sized distribution company.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Watchmen

    Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Talks 'Watchmen,' 'Matrix 4': 'I’m Not Nervous At All'

    Yahya Adbul-Mateen II is facing some serious pressure. The actor is in the middle of a massive career surge, taking on roles in HBO’s “Watchmen” and the upcoming “Matrix 4” — and with those roles, the expectations of their fans.  “I have the responsibility of upholding something that was already done while also bringing in [...]

  • David Lindelof Watchmen Premiere

    'Watchmen' Creator Damon Lindelof Weighs in on Martin Scorsese's Marvel Criticisms

    Damon Lindelof disagrees with Martin Scorsese about his recent claims that Marvel movies don’t qualify as cinema. The director’s proclamation, along with the polarized critical reception of “Joker,” are the latest salvos in a long history of questioning comic book movies’ place in cinematic history. The lingering question: Can superhero fare be considered “high art?” [...]

  • Anne Hathaway Modern Love

    Anne Hathaway Talks Mental Health Awareness, Playing a Bipolar Woman on Amazon's 'Modern Love'

    In Amazon Prime’s upcoming “Modern Love,” Anne Hathaway sheds light on an important facet of living with mental health issues, playing a bipolar woman who struggles with dating. “We’re all becoming more sensitive, wiser and more cognizant of gentility, and especially emotional gentility. I think those conversations are starting to happen. And I think the desire [...]

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Charlize Theron speaks at the GEANCO

    Charlize Theron Talks 'White Privilege,' Growing Up During Apartheid in South Africa

    Charlize Theron, during an onstage discussion with her “Gringo” costar David Oyelowo about philanthropy at Thursday’s annual fundraiser for Nigerian children’s educational and health program GEANCO, said she was a beneficiary of “white privilege” while growing up in Apartheid-torn South Africa. “I obviously am a white person who benefited from my white privilege,” Theron said [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content