The past two years have been filled with plenty of bad news for the indie film sector, so it was nice to see the introductions of two new companies over the weekend — first in the trailer for the Jamie Foxx-Gerard Butler thriller “Law Abiding Citizen,” the first film from Mark Gill’s Film Department, and then on the press notes for Jane Campion’s romantic drama “Bright Star,” the maiden voyage for Bob Berney’s Apparition.
Sure, they’re just logos, but they also mark the return of two of indie film’s smartest executives. Gill is the former head of Warner Independent who masterminded the release of “March of the Penguins” before leaving the company in 2006 to finance and produce mid-level films — you know, the kind Hollywood has all but abandoned — and sparked much debate when he gave his now-famous 2008 “The Sky is Falling” speech about the state of indie filmmaking. Berney is the esteemed former president of Picturehouse who turned “Pan’s Labyrinth” into a phenomenon and paved the way for “La Vie en Rose” star Marion Cotillard to win an Oscar, not to mention presiding over the record-breaking box office run of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” in 2002.
After the October 16th release of “Law Abiding Citizen,” The Film Department‘s circle F will next be seen attached to the Catherine Zeta-Jones/Justin Bartha romantic comedy “The Rebound” from “The Myth of Fingerprints”‘ director Bart Freundlich, followed by Keira Knightley drama “The Beautiful and the Damned” and 3-D thriller “The Peak” in 2010. Meanwhile, Apparition and its reflected font are getting off to a fast start with release of “Bright Star” on September 18th, followed by the Emily Blunt costume drama “The Young Victoria” and Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” with Sean Penn and Brad Pitt before year’s end.