EXCLUSIVE: International production veterans Shebnem Askin and Michael Rifkin have been named co-directors of Sony Pictures International Productions. Reporting to Sanford Panitch, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, the couple succeed Laine Kline who resigned earlier this year.
SPIP is the local language production arm of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group and is present in more than 13 markets around the world including France, United Kingdom, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, India, Korea, China, Taiwan, Germany and Japan and is a market share leader in Spain and Russia.
Local language imagery is an important aspect of the business, the key to the individual market box office and with the ability to get any boat up. Some of Sony’s recent notable co-production releases include those from 2019 Padre No Hay Mas Que Uno which grossed $ 15.9 million in Spain to become the highest grossing Spanish film that year. The following, Padre No Hay Mas Que Uno 2, was released during the pandemic and grossed $ 15.3 million, the market’s largest title for 2020.
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Askin has worked in international production throughout his career and has been at SPIP since 2017 as production and consulting. Meanwhile, Askin brought the adaptation rights to the Italian comedy and box office success. Perfect strangers for Brazil and Japan. Prior to joining Sony, she was Executive Vice President of Programming at Fox International Channels from 2015 to 2017 and Senior Vice President of Sales and Acquisitions at Fox International Productions from 2009 to 2015, a period during which FIP produced 44 films in 12 countries. Askin was also president of the production and distribution company of Mark Cuban 2929 International from 2004 to 2008, working on images such as that of George Clooney. Good night good luck, by Steven Soderbergh couple experience, We own the night and Two lovers by James Gray and Enron: smartest guys in the room directed by Alex Gibney. Prior to 2929, Askin was Sales and Co-production EVP for Paris-based Pandora Cinema.
Rifkin has been with SPIP since its creation in 2015. He started at Sony Pictures in 2011 as a senior analyst within the Motion Picture Group within the business development team. Within this team, he worked on transaction analysis and green light for Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Animations and Sony Pictures Classics. Over the years, he rose through the corporate ladder and moved to a senior operational position at SPIP in 2015. He has supervised operations and strategy and has been involved in the green light of more than 100 films in 13 territories since. his beginnings at SPIP.
According to Rifkin, “It’s clear that in recent years, local language productions are becoming a more important part of the content pipeline for global studios. I am delighted to be able to help SPIP to become one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of local language films.
Askin adds: “I am delighted to continue my mandate at SPIP in this new position. As the demand for local production continues to grow, I believe we are well positioned to continue producing more and expanding our local productions to new territories, as well as producing films for some of the major streaming services in the world. world.
Other recent successes of SPIP include Japan Kingdom which premiered in 2019 and grossed $ 51.4 million making it one of the highest grossing Sony Pictures films on the market over the past decade. In Germany, 25 km / h grossed $ 10.3 million and in India Akshay Kumar-starrer Padman debuted at No.1 and grossed over $ 14.2 million.
Upcoming titles include a Spanish horror film La Abuela (October 22, 2021); The Spanish film by Alex de la Iglesia Veneciafrenia (November 2021); the first feature film of “The Fear Collection,” a multi-picture agreement and anthology of horror films in association with Amazon Prime Video; and official Cannes selections The Supremes (France 2021) and Petrov has the flu (Russia 2021).
In addition to producing content for theatrical release, SPIP has produced and continues to produce and co-produce titles for streaming including the Mexican comedy Guerra De Likes (Amazon Prime Video) and dramatic thriller Dial 100 in India.