Former Focus Features International boss Alison Thompson and Weinstein Co president of acquisitions Mark Gooder have partnered to form Cornerstone Films, a production-finance and sales company with offices in London and Los Angeles. It will make its sales debut at next month’s Cannes Film Festival focusing on pics ranging from commercial, wide releases to talent-driven projects from auteur filmmakers.
As part of the deal, Cornerstone has partnered with London-based Potboiler Films and Berlin-based X Filme to begin filling the pipeline, providing up to two films a year for financing and sales to the new venture. Cornerstone already has its first pic lined up for the Croisette next month: the just-announced Holocaust denier drama Denial starring Hilary Swank and Tom Wilkinson and directed by The Bodyguard helmer Mick Jackson.
Thompson created Sunray Films in April 2014, about six months after FFI was shuttered. She will fold the company into Cornerstone Films, bringing over Asif Kapadia’s Amy Winehouse documentary Amy, which has a Midnight Screening slot in Cannes, and Vincent Perez’s Alone In Berlin, starring Emma Thompson, Daniel Brühl, and Brendan Gleeson.
“Mark and I share similar tastes and ambitions and with our combined experiences, we look forward to creating a brand new voice in the film community,” said Thompson. “At the same time, we are thrilled to be embarking on this adventure with two of the industry’s leading producers, Potboiler and X Filme, both of who have fantastic track records in producing the kind of films we aim to present to the market.”
Added Gooder, who had been at Weinstein Co since 2012: “I have long admired Alison as one of the leading specialists in film sales and I’m thrilled to be able to bring my complimentary set of skills to this new partnership. We have a shared, strong belief in the continued importance of quality theatrically driven material to drive the independent film model.”