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Indie distributor Apparition loses CEO just days before heading to Cannes

and Sean O'Neal

In an e-mail circulated to Apparition staff on Monday, CEO Bill Pohlad announced that co-founder Bob Berney had resigned from the indie distribution company, just days before he was meant to go to the Cannes Film Festival and seek out new acquisitions. Both Deadline and the Los Angeles Times reported that the news came as somewhat of a “blindside,” leaving the future of the company uncertain.

Berney started Apparition after working as an executive in the indie world for several other distributors, including IFC Films, Newmarket Films, and Picturehouse—which Warner Bros. shut down two years ago. Berney launched Apparition with the financial assistance of Pohlad to much eager anticipation within the film community, and since its founding, the two had been one of the more promisingly prolific indie distributors, releasing six films since last fall. The Young Victoria and Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day have thus far been its most financially successful titles out of a lineup that also includes Bright Star, The Runaways, Black Dynamite, and The Square. Furthermore, Apparition still plans to release Terrence Malick’s Tree Of Life and Sundance hit Welcome To The Rileys later this year.

As to why Berney would choose right now to exit, Deadline speculates that he may have been upset by Pohlad’s decision to give Doug Liman’s spin on the Valerie Plame scandal, Fair Game—which will première at Cannes—to Summit instead of Apparition. In the meantime, Pohlad has put Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Valerie Bruce as the in charge while he figures out the next step.


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