Cohen Media Group Makes A Splash With The Acquisition Of International Sales Stalwart HanWay Films

Cohen Media Group Makes A Splash With The Acquisition Of International Sales Stalwart HanWay Films

EXCLUSIVE: In an eye-catching independent deal, Charles S. Cohen’s Cohen Media Group, owner of Landmark Theatres and UK cinema group Curzon, has added to his arthouse fleet with the acquisition of blue-chip international sales company HanWay Films, co-owned by stalwart Brit producer Jeremy Thomas and his partner Peter Watson.

HanWay will continue to be branded as an independent label selling independent features and Peter Watson will continue to serve as president of the company together with Gabrielle Stewart as CEO. All other staff will remain in tact, we’re told.

Philip Knatchbull, CEO of Curzon, negotiated the transaction on behalf of Cohen Media Group. Financial details weren’t disclosed.

Based in London, a sale of HanWay has been discussed for a number of years. HanWay execs said today the deal would allow growth and the ability to get involved in projects earlier. The company’s current slate comprises a dozen features both in release and soon to be released, with eight titles in production or scheduled to go into production this year. Among recent sales titles are Cannes title EO, Robin Wright feature Land, Oscar Isaac starrer The Card Counter and Viggo Mortensen drama Falling.

The HanWay Films library contains 350 classic independent films from master directors, including Andrea Arnold, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jane Campion, David Cronenberg, Clint Eastwood, Milos Forman, Amos Gitai, Stephen Frears, Peter Greenaway, Todd Haynes, Jim Jarmusch, Neil Jordan, Takeshi Kitano, Steve McQueen, Takashi Miike, Nagisa Oshima, Sally Potter, Wim Wenders and more.

Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company will maintain its close relationship to HanWay Films, which will continue to represent films from his upcoming slate. Peter Watson will also continue his role as CEO of Recorded Picture Company. HanWay Films will also continue to represent The Jeremy Thomas Collection, Thomas’s library of films.

Cohen Media Group’s own Cohen Film Collection is a library of more than 800 films, which includes classic cinema from Buster Keaton to the films of Merchant Ivory.

Real estate scion and producer Charles S. Cohen said today: “HanWay is an established and recognized leader in the international sales market and Jeremy Thomas has long had a commitment to a style of filmmaking that aligns perfectly with our vision. With the fundamental changes continuing to happen in our industry, we are proud to make HanWay part of our existing brand.”

Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas, known for producing movies including The Last Emperor and The Sheltering Sky, commented: “25 years in the sales agency business has given me enormous satisfaction. I am immensely proud of the business I have built with Peter Watson. In Gabrielle Stewart, the company has an outstanding CEO. I look forward to continuing the vital and stimulating relationship with HanWay that has sustained my films for so many years. I’m pleased to be handing over the baton to Charles Cohen.”

Peter Watson, President of HanWay Films added: “The opportunities for growth inherent in the integration of our sales business into a larger and dynamic international structure are very exciting. Together we are a force in independent cinema.”

Gabrielle Stewart, CEO of HanWay Films said: “This is a big opportunity to broaden our business with a greater focus on getting involved in projects earlier. We will have the dynamic ability to package, finance and develop IP in a host of different ways and with a greater connection to distribution, while remaining true to the filmmaker-friendly and marketing-driven spirit that defines us as a team.”

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