By Simon de Bruyn

Top Becker Group executives Richard Payten and Andrew Mackie finished up their six year stint at Dendy Films today, after tendering their resignation in January with plans to open their own independent distribution company from February 4.

The new company, called Transmission, was announced yesterday by Paramount Pictures – who have entered into an exclusive distribution arrangement with the duo which will see both companies co-fund the acquisition of local and international projects and market their release. The planned ratio of local films is one third.

‘We call ourselves co-dependent as opposed to independent,’ Payten told Inside Film. ‘While Paramount does not own any part of Transmission, we will work alongside them in a seamless operation. We were thinking about going out on our own before we had discussions with Paramount, but we felt that in the current environment that we needed to be attached to a studio.

‘So while we bring the independent acquisition capability to the table, and a really good local and international network of relationships, Paramount has the marketing muscle and strength of experience,’ he said.

Paramount managing director Mike Selwyn said he was looking forward strengthening their relationship, which was first born between Payten and Mackie’s former Globe Film Co and the old UIP brand.

‘They have a tremendous reputation in the independent film business and we are looking forward to a very productive collaboration.  When PPI was launched in January 2007, one of the main strategic objectives was to supplement our studio line-up with strong independent product and this deal will be a major step towards that,’ he said.

He said he also hoped the industry would change its mind about how the major studios approached independent films. ‘People categorize the major distributors as unable to distribute arthouse films but we hope this partnership will change that,’ he said.

As a crucial part of the new deal, Paramount and Transmission have also partnered with the new film production venture of Emile Sherman and Iain Canning, See-Saw Films, to non-exclusively distribute its local projects.

Transmission will source Australian/NZ projects from all producers in the territory, with UK based Canning forming part of the Transmission acquisitions team, and taking an ownership stake in the new Transmission venture.

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