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AFM: Dean Devlin Optimistically Expands Electric Entertainment

Amid massive uncertainty in the independent movie business, longtime Hollywood player Dean Devlin remains relentlessly optimistic about his 15-year-old Electric Entertainment.

Electric is currently in post-production on its third season of “The Librarians” for TNT, and in post-production on the Warner Bros. film “Geostorm,” which marks Devlin’s feature directorial debuts and stars Gerard Butler. He re-teamed with Ronald Emmerich for “Independence Day: Resurgence.”

He’s in pre-production on his second directing gig on thriller “Bad Samaritan,” launching pre-sales at the American Film Market. David Tenant and Robert Sheehan portray car valets who use their business as a front to burglarize houses of their unsuspecting patrons, until they target the wrong house.

“It’s the kind of bread-and-butter drama that major studios have mostly stopped doing,” Devlin said from Portland, where he’s in pre-production to start shooting next month. “It’s not the typical buzzy title but people can tell that David and Robert are going to be big. We’ve gotten huge interest so far at AFM.”

He’s recently promoted longtime associate Dionne McNeff to chief operating officer; launched a domestic distribution operation headed by former Netflix exec Zac Reeder; and is completing the move of Electric into the Hollywood building on that housed the Asylum and Elektra Records labels, which contains the basement echo chamber used by The Doors in recording their albums. There are no plans to refurbish that area.

“We have no investors outside of myself and we are operating from revenues off the library so we’re able to get financing by leveraging the library,” he said. Electric is a very passion-based company.”

Electric’s newly created domestic distribution division will release the Tribeca Film Festival title “The Book of Love,” starring Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Biel and Maisie Williams in early 2017. The company most recently released “Blackway,” starring Anthony Hopkins, Julia Stiles and Ray Liotta, and the horror comedy “Fear Inc.,”  staring Lucas Neff and Caitlin Stasey.

“We’re starting  six titles a year and we’re aiming for up to 12, which puts us in a great position to attract projects,” he said. “‘The Book of Love’ is the kind of James L. Brooks mainstream movie that the majors are ignoring.”

Depending on the success of the distribution operation, Electric may self-release “Bad Samaritan.” Devlin notes that he bought the Brandon Boyce script four years ago.

“Roland and I had almost bought [Boyce’s]  ‘Apt Pupil’ at Centropolis so when Brandon bought me the script, I fell in love with it but we had to get ‘The Librarians’ going first,” he added.

McNeff’s appointment was announced Wednesday at the opening day of AFM. McNeff, who joined the company in 2011, most recently worked for Electric as exec VP of operations and legal affairs and her industry career as an assistant for Devlin on “Stargate,” then joined Emmerich and Devlin at Centropolis Entertainment in 1995, initially as Devlin’s assistant on “Independence Day.”

“I couldn’t be more excited and proud to announce this promotion for Dionne, who has been a loyal and valuable member of our team since the beginning of my producing career,” Devlin said.

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