The London-based Cohen Media Group (CMG) announced on Thursday the acquisition of HanWay Films, the firm founded by Jeremy Thomas and that was co-owned by Peter Watson.
CMG is led by real-estate mogul Charles Cohen, who has also acquired Landmark Theaters and Curzon, the UK cinema chain. Financial details of this week’s deal have not been disclosed, but it was revealed that HanWay will retain its branding as an independent label. Watson will continue as president with Gabrielle Stewart as CEO.
The deal was negotiated on behalf of CMG by Philip Knatchbull, the president of Curzon.
HanWay is noted for having amassed a library of some 350 classic films from many acclaimed moviemakers including Andrea Arnold, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jane Campion, David Cronenberg, Clint Eastwood, Milos Forman, Amos Gitai, Stephen Frears, Peter Greenaway, Todd Haynes, Jim Jarmusch, Neil Jordan, Takeshi Kitano, Steve McQueen, Takashi Miike, Nagisa Oshima, Sally Potter, Wim Wenders, among others.
In discussing the new alignment, CMG founder Jeremy Thomas was quoted as saying: “Twenty-five years in the sales agency business has given me enormous satisfaction. I am immensely proud of the business I have built with Peter Watson.
In Gabrielle Stewart, the company has an outstanding CEO. I look forward to continuing the vital and stimulating relationship with HanWay that has sustained my films for so many years. I’m pleased to be handing over the baton to Charles Cohen.”
Cohen chimed in by declaring that “HanWay is an established and recognized leader in the international sales market and Jeremy Thomas has long had a commitment to a style of filmmaking that aligns perfectly with our vision. With the fundamental changes continuing to happen in our industry, we are proud to make HanWay part of our existing brand.
Peter Watson, who will continue in his role as CEO of Recorded Picture Company, concurred, adding that “The opportunities for growth inherent in the integration of our sales business into a larger and dynamic international structure are very exciting. Together we are a force in independent cinema.”
According to Gabrielle Stewart: “This is a big opportunity to broaden our business with a greater focus on getting involved in projects earlier. We will have the dynamic ability to package, finance and develop IP in a host of different ways and with a greater connection to distribution, while remaining true to the filmmaker-friendly and marketing-driven spirit that defines us as a team.”