IM Global Founder and CEO Stuart Ford has signed a multiple year extension to his CEO service contract it was announced today by a company spokesperson. The 43 year old executive founded the company with a launch at Cannes in 2007 and IM Global has since gone on to become one of the most visible and active companies in the independent sector.
The company had eight new films in the Cannes Market and played host to Martin Scorsese, who was in town to help IM Global promote his longtime passion project “Silence”. On the opening day of the Festival Ford and Scorsese combined to give a presentation to 300 foreign distributors in one of the Croisette’s most high profile events of the opening week.
An international sales powerhouse, the company customarily brings 15-18 new projects a year into the market across its unique structure of four separate sales labels handling mainstream commercial, arthouse, genre and foreign language films.
The company is also one of the most active financiers in the industry, backed by deep pocketed shareholder Reliance Entertainment. Forthcoming releases from the two companies in the remainder of this year include big budget family title “Walking With Dinosaurs” (Fox), technology thriller “Paranoia” starring Liam Hemsworth and Harrison Ford, British thriller “Hummingbird” with Jason Statham, “Angry Little God” horror flick from the Last Exorcist’s Daniel Stamm, and “Plush” directed by Catherine Hardwicke”. In June alone the company will have three of its own genre films go into production “Revenge of the Green Dragons” directed by Andrew Lau and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, “Stretch” by Joe Carnahan starring Patrick Wilson and Chris Pine and the sequel to the wildly profitable micro budget comedy “A Haunted House”.
In addition to a formidable sales and financing platform the company has built an extensive global infrastructure under Ford’s stewardship. The company has multi-year output deals for its own bigger budget product in more than 130 countries including the UK, Germany, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Canada and Latin America. The company owns prolific pan-Asian rights buyer Apsara Distribution which enjoys a precious multi-year output deal with Buena Vista International in the region. Forthcoming Apsara releases include “Lone Survivor” starring Mark Wahlberg and Ron Howard’s “Rush”.
In 2012 IM Global launched Mundial, a Latin American film sales joint venture with Mexico’s Canana which has already become a very visible presence in the market with a slate of 6 films including “Libertador” the biggest budget indie ever made in the Latin America region.
The company is also a partner with Canada’s Entertainment One in fruitful production joint venture Automatik which has so far produced 13 films in three years.
At the Cannes Market the company also announced an innovative foreign sales partnership with genre maven Jason Blum to launch Blumhouse International and give the prolific horror producer behind huge box office successes like the “Paranormal Activity”, “Insidious” and “Sinister” franchises his own market presence.
The company has offices in Los Angeles and London and will soon announce the opening of a Beijing office to act as a fulcrum for the company’s burgeoning Asian operations.
In 2010 Ford sold a majority stake in the business to Indian conglomerate (and Dreamworks Pictures backer) Reliance Entertainment, a part of the Reliance ADA conglomerate with interests in telecommunications, energy, construction, banking, financial services and media. Ford himself remains as the company’s second shareholder as well as overseeing all of the company’s day to day production, financing, sales, distribution, marketing, acquisitions, legal and strategic activities.
Said Ford: “It’s been a thrilling ride so far and I’m looking forward immensely to the next chapter of the IM Global story. We have become a pre-eminent foreign sales company, we are a respected and prolific film financier, we operate successfully across the wide release, arthouse and genre arenas, we have a strong foothold in the worlds of Hollywood, European, Latin American and Bollywood cinema, and we have joint ventures or partnerships with some of the most respected players in the industry. Meanwhile I have a hugely supportive corporate partner in Reliance and we are working with filmmaking legends like Martin Scorsese and Robert Redford. There is a lot for me to get excited about.”