MPI Launches Theatrical Label; Taps Distribution Vets

The theatrical specialty release space has a new contender joining the fray. Chicago-based entertainment company MPI Media Group is launching a new theatrical distribution label with an initial slate of seven titles and have tapped veteran execs to spearhead operations. MPI's EVP Greg Newman will oversee the newly dubbed MPI Pictures, which will be led by former Wellspring co-chief and producer Marie Therese Guirgis who will serve as Head of Theatrical Distribution. Guirgis and Newman will attend the upcoming Cannes Film Market to acquire more titles for release under its label.

Also joining the team to oversee the initial MPI lineup are distribution executive Emily Woodburne (formerly of BEV Pictures) and marketing exec Dan Goldberg (formerly of Wellspring and IFC Films). MPI Pictures will specialize in foreign-language art house fare as well as "high end genre and American independent films," according to MPI.

""The audience for commercial foreign-language and independent films remains a flourishing niche in the marketplace,” commented Newman on launching MPI Pictures in a statement. "With the launch of our theatrical division we have the ability not only to release completed feature films that we acquire but also to release our own original productions. The commercial appeal of all our films reaches across all distribution platforms from theaters to Video On Demand, digital, DVD and beyond."

MPI Pictures' current roster of seven films include Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker's (Gunner Palace) SXSW '11 mixed martial arts doc Fightville, currently in release; Brian Crano's story of two friends starring Jason Ritter, Bag of Hammers; Mathieu Demy's directorial feature debut Americano starring Salma Hayek and Chiara Mastoianni; Guillaume Canet's drama Little White Lies with Francois Cluzet and Marion Cotillard; Catherine Deneuve and Romain Duris starrer The Big Picture by Eric Lartigau; Victoria Mahoney's Berlin '11 debut feature Yelling to The Sky starring Zoe Kravitz and Gabourey Sidibe; and crime drama The Heineken Kidnapping by Dutch director Maarten Treurniet.

MPI Media Group is a producer, distributor and licensor of films, home entertainment, historical footage and more. Founded in 1976, Chicago-based MPI Media Group remains one of the largest independent entertainment companies producing and distributing narratives and documentaries.


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