Meet Apparition, Your Friendly New Neighborhood Oscar-Hunters

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Bob Berney is back. Again. Months after the esteemed indie-distribution wizard acquired the acclaimed Bright Star out of the Cannes Film Festival, he and money-man Bill Pohlad have officially established the company that they hope will catapult it and other prestige titles to glory. And if you know Berney at all, you probably have to like their chances.

Simply called Apparition, the outlet will open both Star and Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life by the end of the year, with an eye on eight or nine releases annually going forward. The principals go way back, with Pohlad having co-produced Fur, A Prairie Home Companion and other titles Berney had released during his days at the helm of the defunct Picturehouse label. He also produced Tree of Life, though he insisted today that Apparition isn't his apparatus for offloading his own movies in a tougher-than-ever indie market. We'll see; the company has also locked up a video output deal with Sony.

Berney had had been laying low since last year, when Warner Bros. pulled the Picturehouse plug mere months after it steered Marion Cotillard to an Oscar win for La Vie en Rose. He's done a lot of that over the years with equally unlikely material (Monster, Whale Rider, Pan's Labyrinth), so don't expect that to change. He said today that Apparition won't balk at documentary or foreign-language content, either, which will no doubt excite exasperated sales agents looking for any door to knock on that isn't at Sony Pictures Classics.

The adventure stars next month in Toronto -- where Berney will attend with his good taste and new checkbook -- and will only get livelier heading into awards season. Enjoy the shake-up; moviegoing in America just improved.

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Berney, Pohlad's new Apparition strikes output deal with Sony [Screen Daily]



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