Veteran distribution exec Laurie May is launching Canadian distribution company Elevation Pictures at the Toronto film festival, it was announced Saturday.

The company's first move is a strategic alliance and output deal with Teddy Schwarzman's Black Bear Pictures, the Gotham production company behind "Broken City," the upcoming Robert Redford-starrer "All Is Lost" and Sundance hit "A.C.O.D." CAA brokered the deal.

Elevation's first release under the deal will be "The Imitation Game," directed by Morten Tyldum ("Headhunters") and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. Pic starts lensing this month.

"I am thrilled to be in business with Teddy Schwarzman, who has creative vision and produces films that will bolster the slate of Elevation Pictures," said May, who was co-founder and co-president of Maple Pictures, the Canadian indie distributor spun off by Lionsgate in 2005, and acquired by Alliance Films in 2011.

May served as an exec at eOne--which bought Alliance in January 2013--until April of this year.

"There is a tremendous opportunity in the Canadian distribution landscape following the consolidation of Maple, Alliance and Entertainment One," she said.

Added Schwarzman: "Laurie is filling a very important hole in the top tier of the Canadian marketplace, and brings with her years of experience, ethics and taste. I couldn't be more excited for Black Bear to partner with Elevation Pictures."


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