Amazon Studios is adding two showbiz vets to its executive team: Bob Berney, former CEO of indie film distributor Picturehouse, who will head movie marketing and distribution; and former Disney/ABC TV digital chief Albert Cheng has signed on as chief operating officer.
At Picturehouse, Berney led the indie film marketing and distribution company’s marketing and distribution for such films as “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Passion of the Christ” and “My Big Fat Geek Wedding.” In his new role at Amazon, he will be responsible for overseeing distribution and marketing for all Amazon original movies.
Cheng most recently was executive VP and chief product officer of digital media at Disney/ABC Television Group — announcing in April that he was leaving the group after about a decade. In his new role, he will oversee Amazon Studios’ efforts across all business operations and software development.
In January, Amazon announced plans to produce up to 12 movies per year, which would be indie-oriented pictures with budgets ranging from $5 million to $25 million, according to Amazon Studios VP Roy Price.
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At the time, Amazon announced that producer Ted Hope would lead Amazon’s original movies creative development. Hope, an outspoken advocate for changing the way independent films are produced and distributed, co-founded and ran production company Good Machine, which produced “Eat Drink Man Woman” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” This spring Hope stepped down as CEO of Fandor, a streaming-video site specializing in indie and international titles.