As CineTel Films Inc. enters its 32nd year, the company is still bucking trends in the independent film and television business. When many independent film production and distribution companies are scaling down in size, or closing their doors, CineTel continues to grow and expand.
CineTel’s success can be attributed to its ability to find the right stories and sign name talent to productions that are economical and ultimately attractive to distribution outlets worldwide. At the end of 2003, CineTel sold its 100 film library and has begun to replenish it beginning with an aggressive slate of productions and acquisitions, already approaching 75 films.
The company began its expansion plan seventeen years ago with a new corporate building which allows CineTel to combine production facilities, screening room, editing rooms and corporate offices all under one roof.
Over the last five years, CineTel has also entered into co-production and distribution deals with Warner Bros., MGM, Miramax, Anchor Bay, New Line, Lion’s Gate Films, Lifetime and the Sy-Fy Channel.
“From the company’s inception, we placed a major emphasis on the creation of quality product at reasonable cost,” says Paul Hertzberg, CineTel Films’, President and Chief Executive Officer. “This has remained central to our company’s philosophy and has been directly responsible for our success.
“We are an alternative to the majors,” says Lisa M. Hansen, President of CineTel Pictures, Inc. and Executive Vice President of CineTel Films, Inc. “We are a strong viable production and distribution operation that is attractive to talent for a number of different reasons: artistic creativity, no bureaucratic hassles and the opportunity to reap the financial benefits of a picture when it becomes successful.”
CineTel’s production slate for 2010-2012 is the largest in the history of our company with 13 films planned for production. CineTel has also acquired the rights to three literary properties. These larger budgeted films are also on our development slate.
- I Spit On Your Grave, a remake on the 1978 classic female revenge picture originally written and directed by Meir Zarchi. Anchor Bay has acquired all domestic rights and the film was released theatrically in many countries throughout the world. A sequel will be filmed in 2012.
- Philadelphia Experiment, a SyFy World Premiere starring Michael Pare and Malcolm McDowell.
- Bloodline (Embrace of the Vampire), a remake of the 1994 thriller to be released by Anchor Bay.
Some of our recently completed television premieres include:
- Storm Cell (Lifetime Premiere) starring Mimi Rogers and Michael Ironside
- I Accuse (Lifetime Premiere) starring Estella Warren and John Hannah
- Poison Ivy 4 (Lifetime Premiere) starring Catherine Hicks and Greg Evigan
- Termination Point (Sy-Fy Channel Premiere) starring Jason Priestley and Lou Diamond Phillips
- Earthstorm (Sy-Fy Channel Premiere) starring Stephen Baldwin
- Descent (Sy-Fy Channel Premiere) starring Luke Perry and Michael Dorn
- Loch Ness Terror (Sy-Fy Channel Premiere) starring Brian Krause
- Stonehenge Apocalypse (Sy-Fy Channel Premiere) starring Hill Harper
Some of our past theatrical productions include:
- A Rumor of Angels, written and directed by Peter O’Fallon (Suicide Kings). This spiritually uplifting drama stars Vanessa Redgrave, Ray Liotta and Catherine McCormick. The film was showcased at the prestigious Seattle (closing night) and Toronto Film Festivals and was released theatrically by MGM/UA.
- Carried Away is a romantic drama that was theatrically released by Fine Line after appearing at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals. The film stars Dennis Hopper, Amy Irving, Gary Busey, Amy Locane, Hal Holbrook and Julie Harris. The screenplay was derived from a Jim Harrison novel and directed by Bruno Barreto.
- Where The Day Takes You, a gritty drama about homelessness. Theatrically released by New Line, the film stars Dermot Mulroney, Lara Flynn Boyle, Balthazar Getty, Sean Astin, Laura San Giacomo, Nancy McKeon, Adam Baldwin, Rachael Ticotin, Ricki Lake, Will Smith, Alyssa Milano, James LeGros and Peter Dobson, under the direction of Marc Rocco. The screenplay by Michael Hitchcock, Kurt Voss and Marc Rocco was produced by Paul Hertzberg and executive produced by Lisa M. Hansen. The film appeared at the Deauville and Tokyo Film Festivals.
- 976-Evil, directed by Robert Englund, this horror film was released theatrically by New Line Cinema.
- Relentless, starring Judd Nelson, Robert Loggia and Meg Foster. This thriller was released nationwide by New Line Cinema and spawned three sequels.
- Too Much Sun, is a quirky comedy starring Robert Downey Jr., Eric Idle and Ralph Macchio. The film was directed by Robert Downey, Sr. and theatrically released by New Line Cinema.
- Past Midnight, starring Rutger Hauer and Natasha Richardson and directed by Jan Eliasberg. This original psychological thriller by Frank Norwood concerns an obsessed social worker who becomes dangerously close to a client convicted of a savage murder. The producer is Lisa M. Hansen. The executive producer is Paul Hertzberg. Quentin Tarantino was the associate producer. (USA Premiere)
- We’re Talking Serious Money, two hustlers--Dennis Farina and Leo Rossi-- run from New York to California rather than pay off a debt to the mob, and end up holding the trump card in a government bribery scandal. Fran Dresher also stars. Directed by James Lemmo, the comedic screenplay by Lemmo and Rossi is produced by Paul Hertzberg.
- Cold Steel, an action film directed by Dorthy Puzo, starring Sharon Stone and Brad Davis.
Other high profile television premieres include:
- Below Utopia, is a suspense thriller that was released by Artisan Entertainment in 1998. The film stars Alyssa Milano and Ice-T; written by David Diamond and directed by Kurt Voss (HBO Premiere).
- Scorcher, a special effects disaster film starring Mark Dacascos, Rutger Hauer, and John Rhys Davies directed by James Seale (HBO Premiere).
- Malevolent, a co-production deal with Evolution Entertainment, is a psychological thriller written by Peter Bellwood and Dennis Chryack, directed by John Terlesky and starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Kari Wuhrer and Steven Bauer (HBO Premiere).
- Chain of Command, a high concept action film starring Roy Scheider, Patrick Muldoon, Michael Biehn and Maria Conchita Alonzo. John Terlesky directed this film from a script by Roger Wade (HBO Premiere).
- Judgment Day, written and directed by John Terlesky, this special effects action film stars Ice-T, Mario Van-Peebles and Suzy Amis. Artisan acquires North American rights (HBO Premiere)
- Militia, an action film starring Dean Cain, Jennifer Beals and Frederick Forrest, written by Steve Latshaw and directed by Jay Andrews (HBO Premiere).
- Momentum, an action thriller directed by James Seale, starring Lou Gossett, Jr. and Teri Hatcher (Sy-Fy Channel Premiere).
It is indeed evident that thirty years after its founding, CineTel has certainly become one of the leading independent production and distribution companies in the entertainment industry. In addition to theatrical features, the firm has been highly successful in the production of pay television specials and home video product.
CineTel was founded in his home state of Illinois by Mr. Hertzberg in 1980 and was originally known as Chicago Teleproductions. Soon after the company’s formation, Lisa M. Hansen joined the organization and within two years became Vice President of the firm.
During its early days, Chicago Teleproductions produced comedy and musical programming for HBO, Showtime, Select TV, On-TV, RCA/Columbia Home Video and Media Home Entertainment. Among their programming was The Four Tops in Concert, An Evening at La Cage, and Well…It Seemed Funny at the Time starring Martin Mull. In 1982, the company was awarded a regional Emmy for the show Terminal Laughter, which starred Robert Klein, Tim Reid and Bruce Baum.
Changing the company name to CineTel Films, Hertzberg and Hansen moved the corporate offices to Los Angeles in 1983. After arriving on the west coast, CineTel had continued success with television productions, which included a special starring Jayne Kennedy and two 30-minute HBO specials entitled And If I’m Elected… hosted by the Smothers Brothers. Other titles include The Monterey Jazz Festival. E. Nick-A Legend in His Own Mind, Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, Surfin’ Beach Party and Golden Oldies I and II.
In 1985, CineTel began to direct its focus to the production of feature films and that year produced Armed Response, starring David Carradine and Lee Van Cleef. “In recent years, we have largely directed our concentration on feature film production, acquisitions and distribution,” says Ms. Hansen. “Now, more than ever, we are striving to acquire not only top quality product for worldwide distribution, but commercial properties with strong talented filmmakers and actors to produce in-house.”