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Lantos signs with Cinetic
by: Oct 1, 2007 Print

Robert Lantos' Maximum Films on Tuesday unveiled its latest deal for Canadian rights to independent movies, this time with veteran U.S. film sales agent John Sloss and Cinetic Media.

The three-year deal will see Maximum domestically release movies that New York-based Cinetic financed and sold, often on the festival circuit.

The pact follows Lantos launching Maximum Films in August to release and sell independent films. To fill its release slate, Maximum has already signed separate distribution agreements with IFC Films, Fortissimo Films and HDNet/Magnolia Pictures in partnership with Entertainment One's Seville Entertainment division.

Sloss says the value of the Maximum pact lies with filmmakers being able to secure Canadian distribution for their indie projects directly.

Traditionally, U.S. distributors have insisted on taking North American rights for indie pictures, even though they never intend to distribute in Canada. Instead, the U.S. distributors sublicense rights to Canadian distributors, and in the process take a slice of the Canadian box office to offset their U.S. expenses.

Sloss says the pact with Maximum aims at giving filmmakers a direct line to the Canadian box office uncrossed from the U.S. revenues.

Without giving details, Sloss says Lantos had agreed to an "aggressive and beneficial" deal for filmmakers that offered them a higher percentage of Canadian box-office revenues than usual.

For its part, the deal with Cinetic enables Maximum to get early dibs on the next Little Miss Sunshine, Super Size Me or Napoleon Dynamite, little-known indie projects that Sloss nurtured and sold at festivals, especially Sundance or Toronto.

"John Sloss and his team at Cinetic have an incredible track record with an amazing eye for independent films that resonate with mass audiences. We look forward to this new and exciting business relationship," Lantos said.

Cinetic represented six titles alone at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, including Vadim Perelman's In Bloom, starring Uma Thurman, and Bill from Melisa Wallack and Bernie Goldmann.

Also in Toronto, Sloss recruited veteran CAA film agent Bart Walker to join Cinetic and launch a new management division to match filmmakers and investors.

Walker's client list at CAA included indie favorites Mira Nair, Sofia Coppola, Jim Jarmusch and Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope.

With Sloss being notorious for being able to get his titles into Sundance's lineup for sale, and Lantos known for a similar inside track in Toronto, their tie-up could prove an irresistible lure to indie filmmakers looking to crack the North American market.

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