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Palm Pictures Seeks to Increase Its Footprint

28 Nov, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Independent distributor Palm Pictures Nov. 28 said veteran film producers Jan Körbelin and Marina Grasic have joined the company as managing partners.

Körbelin and Grasic were executive producers of the 2004 Oscar-winning movie Crash and separately next year's Smart People (with Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker) and The Great Buck Howard with Tom Hanks, among other titles.

Palm founder and record executive Chris Blackwell, who will assume a more involved role in the company as chairman, hired the two, according to a spokesperson.

Körbelin, a former executive with ProSieben Television in Germany, said Palm hopes to evolve beyond a purveyor of largely eclectic fare and establish itself theatrically, electronically and on DVD as a major second-tier player.Palm plans to release about 8-to-9 movies theatrically and upwards of 12 DVDs in 2008, up from about 5 DVDs this year.

“Even though the DVD market is a mature market, it is becoming more and more a question of differentiation in the market,” Körbelin said. “We've seen in the independent markets where a lot of interesting films … can work very well in niche [markets] and some break out of the niche as say, March of the Penguins.”

He said Crash was originally intended for an urban market and quickly evolved to a greater audience.

Körbelin eyes Palm competing with Lionsgate and ThinkFilm, which he says do a good job producing content for an underserved consumer market seeking content beyond the major studios and independents.

“There really hasn't been a break out company that on one side is very artist friendly and on the other understands the audience's tastes,” he said.

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