CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER
Avi Lerner is the Chairman and founder of Nu Image, Inc., Millennium Films and all related companies. With more than 350 films to his credit, he is one of the most experienced, prolific and successful independent producers of our time.
Born and raised in Haifa, Israel, Lerner began as manager of Israel’s first drive-in cinema. In 1979, Lerner anticipated the explosion of home video rental, which led to his pioneering the largest specialized video distribution company in Israel, and becoming a partner in the country’s largest theatrical distribution company.
In 1984, he executive produced the remake of King Solomon’s Mines. He then sold his Israeli company and relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he founded the Nu Metro Entertainment Group. The company’s interests grew to include owned and operated theaters; a video distribution division representing top studios and independent companies; and a production arm that made over 60 features distributed worldwide by major studios. Lerner eventually sold Nu Metro to join MGM/United Artists.
In 1992, he moved to Los Angeles and opened Nu Image, Inc., focusing on production and distribution for the home entertainment market. In 1996 he launched Millennium Films, which produces theatrical motion pictures.
Under the Millennium Films label, Lerner has produced such films as Expendables 1 & 2, Rambo IV, Righteous Kill, Brooklyn’s Finest, and The Mechanic.
The company’s forthcoming pictures include The Big Wedding, with Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Amanda Seyfried and Robin Williams; Gabriele Muccino’s Playing the Field starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid; and Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy, an official selection of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival starring Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, John Cusack and Nicole Kidman.
CO-FOUNDER AND CFO
Co-founder and CFO Trevor Short oversees legal, finance and administrative operations for Nu Image, Inc., Millennium Films and all related companies.
Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, Short obtained a Bachelor of Law from the University of Rhodesia and an MBA at the University of Cape Town where he was awarded the Gold Medal. In 1980 Short entered the world of banking and commerce, joining Standard Chartered Merchant Bank in Harare as head of Corporate Finance, responsible for takeovers, mergers and IPO’s. He then moved to Hill Samuel Merchant Bank in Johannesburg in 1984 as head of its Corporate Finance Division and subsequently to Investec Bank where he was responsible for eight IPOs on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, as well as numerous mergers and acquisitions
Short’s finance background led him to develop a tax based financing formula to produce motion pictures in South Africa. He succeeded in procuring over $200 million from private investors to fund the production of international films made in South Africa. Much of the financing he secured was for films produced by Avi Lerner’s Nu Metro group for international film companies. He also became a consultant to the Government of South Africa regarding film incentive legislation.
In 1989, Short left the banking sector to join Lerner as a shareholder in and Chief Executive of Nu Metro Entertainment Group in Johannesburg. He continued to arrange financing for Nu Metro’s film production and was directly involved in its expanding its theater chain. In 1991, Lerner and Short used proceeds from the sale of Nu Metro Entertainment Group to start a new studio in California. Nu Image, Inc. opened its doors in Los Angeles in 1992.
Short’s expertise; in finance, law, investments, tax legislation, subsidies, international and domestic banking has been applied to the many foreign co-productions undertaken by the Nu Image group over the years. This includes the development of Nu Boyana Studios in Bulgaria and Millennium Studios in Louisiana, both of which are full service production facilities available to the film industry and often used by Millennium Films.
Short has served as producer or executive producer on nearly all Nu Image and Millennium Films productions since the beginning. Recent films include The Expendables 1 & 2 and the forthcoming The Big Wedding, Playing the Field, and The Paperboy, a 2012 Cannes Film Festival Official Selection.
PRESIDENT, MILLENNIUM FILMS
Former Miramax Films and Warner Independent president Mark Gill was named President of Millennium Films in July 2011, with particular focus on development, packaging, production and marketing.
Gill has 25 years of film business experience and a production track record of more than $1 billion at the box office.
He most recently was the CEO and co-founder of The Film Department, an independent movie production and finance company, which produced the worldwide hit Law-Abiding Citizen. In the three prior years, Gill served as the founding president of Warner Independent Pictures. During his tenure, the company produced 15 films and earned 11 Oscar nominations, notably for March of the Penguins and Good Night, and Good Luck.
Gill previously spent eight years at Miramax Films as President of Miramax/L.A. He was involved in the production or acquisition of more than two dozen films, among them were The Talented Mr. Ripley, Central Station, Apocalypse Now Redux, In the Bedroom, Amelie, The Quiet American, Frida, Rabbit-Proof Fence, City of God and Under the Tuscan Sun.
He joined Miramax in 1994 and served three years as the company’s marketing chief, based in New York. Among the films he marketed: Pulp Fiction, Scream, Good Will Hunting, Trainspotting, The Postman/Il Postino, The English Patient, Life is Beautiful and Shakespeare in Love.
Before joining Miramax, Gill worked for six years at Columbia and TriStar Pictures, culminating in a three-year tenure as Senior Vice President in the marketing department. He worked on such films as The Age of Innocence, Awakenings, Boyz N the Hood, Bram Stoker's Dracula,In the Line of Fire, A League of Their Own, The Prince of Tides, The Remains of the Day, A River Runs Through It, and Terminator 2.
Prior to joining Columbia, Gill worked for nearly four years at Rogers & Cowan, the publicity agency. Before that, he served as a general assignment reporter for Newsweek magazine and for the Los Angeles Times.
PRESIDENT OF INTERNATIONAL
John Fremes is President of International for Nu Image/Millennium Films. He joined the company in January 2012 and oversees international sales and distribution of all Millennium’s motion pictures.
Previously, he was President of Worldwide Distribution for Essential Entertainment, where he was responsible for international sales & distribution as well as business affairs on such pictures as Barney’s Version starring Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike, and Minnie Driver; and director Ed Zwick’s Academy Award-nominated film Defiance starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber. He also executive produced the Roadshow Australia film Red Dog, starring Josh Lucas and Rachel Taylor.
Fremes moved to Essential from his position as President of Element Films International, where he handled worldwide sales on Five Fingers starring Laurence Fishbone and Ryan Philippe; Waiting starring Ryan Reynolds, Dane Cook and Anna Faris; The Last Time starring Michael Keaton and Brendan Fraser, and Mr. Brooks starring Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, and William Hurt.
Prior to Element, Fremes founded Fusion International Sales Corp in 1999. Before launching Fusion, Fremes was an independent producer and the founding President of Le Monde Entertainment Sales Corporation, a division of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc.
HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT AND CREATIVE AFFAIRS
Boaz Davidson is the Head of Development and Creative Affairs for Millennium Films. He has been with the firm and its parent company, Nu Image, Inc., since 1992. However, he is equally well known as the writer-director of the critically acclaimed worldwide hit film Lemon Popsicle, which debuted at the Berlin Film Festival, receiving its Panorama Audience Award and spawning more than a dozen sequels.
Davidson was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, graduated from London Film School, and moved to the United States in 1979. He joined Cannon Films, where he oversaw production on such films as: Going Bananas, Delta Force, American Cyborg, Salsa; and most notably an American version of Lemon Popsicle titled The Last American Virgin. Today both Israeli and American versions are considered cult classics.
In 1992, Davidson joined Nu Image, Inc. co-founders and played an integral role forming the new independent studio. He continued to write, direct, and produce such films as Looking for Lola, Shadrach, and The Big Brass Ring. In 1996, Nu Image formed Millennium Films, where Davidson has overseen the development and production of such films as The Expendables, Rambo IV, Righteous Kill, 16 Blocks, The Mechanic and Brooklyn's Finest and such forthcoming pictures as The Expendables 2, The Iceman, The Big Wedding, Playing the Field, and The Paperboy, an official selection of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
HEAD OF PRODUCTION
John Thompson grew up in Rome where his fine body of work in the Italian film industry throughout the 1980s and 90s includes Franco Zeffirelli's Otello (two Oscar® nominations, Cannes Official Selection, American Critics Award); Claude D'Anna's Salome (Cannes Official Selection); Lina Wertmuller's Camorra (four Donatello Awards, Berlin Film Fest official entry); Liliana Cavani's Berlin Interior (Donatello Award, Berlin Film Festival official selection); Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers (Cannes Official Selection); Ivan Passer's Haunted Summer (Venice Film Festival Official Selection); Jerzy Skolimowski's Torrents of Spring (Cannes Official Selection) and Giuseppe Tornatore's Everybody's Fine (Cannes Official Selection).
Thompson returned to Los Angeles to helm production for Millennium Films in 1998. Films he has produced or co-produced for Millennium include American Perfekt written and directed by Paul Chart (Cannes Official Selection); Susanna Styron's Shadrach (Venice Official Selection); Some Girl from Rory Kelly (Best Director Award, LA Independent Film Festival); Audrey Wells' Guinevere; George Hickenlooper's Big Brass Ring, as well as Prozac Nation, Nobody's Baby, The Replicant, Try Seventeen, Undisputed and other successful productions.
Continuing as Millennium’s Head of Production, Thompson has gone on to produce The Mechanic, The Expendables, Brooklyn's Finest, Righteous Kill, Rambo IV and soon to be released The Expendables 2, The Big Wedding, Playing the Field and Stolen.
A native of Long Island, New York, Frank DeMartini has been the General Counsel of Nu Image since 2001 and is responsible for day-to-day legal matters, corporate structure, international taxation and is in charge of litigation at all aspects of the company. He began his entertainment career 27 years ago as an entertainment attorney specializing in representing actors, writers, producers and directors. Soon after he became a specialist in all aspects of motion picture and TV production from development through financing and distribution.
In addition, he has been producing films since 1997. His film credits include Mozart and the Whale, starring Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell; Journey to the End of the Night starring Brendan Fraser and Mos Def; Mad Money, starring Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes,The Prince and Me: The Elephant Adventure and Elephant White, starring Djimon Honsou and Kevin Bacon.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS
Lonnie Ramati, Executive Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, began working for Millennium Films and Nu Image, Inc. in 2002. With more than 30 years’ experience in business affairs, legal and financial services for the entertainment industry, Ramati’s purview at Millennium Films/Nu Image is in contracts and agreements for productions, talent, finance, distribution, soundtracks/albums and music publishing, globally.
Born in New York City, Ramati attended Princeton University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in the top 1% of his class. He received his Juris Doctorate from Osgoode Hall Law School, one of Canada's largest and most prestigious law schools. After graduating in the top 5% of his class at Osgoode, Ramati practiced music and film entertainment law in Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Ramati’s move to a career in business affairs began when he relocated to Los Angeles, CA.
Since then, he has worked for more than 40 Independent Film and Television Alliance distribution companies as well as film and television’s foremost distributors, foreign and domestic.
The numerous companies Ramati worked are Carolco and its Live Entertainment (Artisan Entertainment), Telefilm Canada and Mark Damon’s Vision International. His Carolco film credits include: Superman and Supergirl; Roman Polanski’s The Pirate; First Blood, Rambo and Rambo III starring Sylvester Stallone; Angel Heart starring Mickey Rourke; Red Heat with Arnold Schwarzenegger; Extreme Prejudice starring Nick Nolte; and Spike Lee’s She's Gotta Have It. As Vice President of Business Affairs for Vision, Ramati worked on such films as High Spirits starring Peter O’Toole, Daryl Hannah and Steve Guttenberg; Bat 21 starring Gene Hackman and Danny Glover; Full Moon In Blue Water with Gene Hackman and Teri Garr; Wild Orchid starring Mickey Rourke; and I Come In Peace with Dolph Lundgren.
Eventually, Ramati formed his own firm providing consultation in business affairs, business management, finance and distribution. After 14 years being his own boss, Millennium Films/Nu Image persuaded him to join their rapidly growing company.