Monday, February 22, 2010

Buyers Reps: Richard Glasser and Trans-Pacific

As I was about to comment on the happy news that Laurie Woodrow's Trans-Pacific has been acquired by Fierce Entertainment, I received the shocking and tragic news that Richard Glasser, one of the most beloved pioneers of a small special niche of people serving international film acquisitions called buyers reps suffered a massive stroke and died in Giovanna's arms after a loving reunion on his return from his Berlin trip for the EFM. He was home having a normal great time with Giva for just an hour before it occurred.

Richard was one of a small group called Buyers Reps which began as a small group of very specialized acquisitions executives buying for the larger international distributors.  Gordon Steele was one of the earliest of these pioneers and he repped (still does) the largest most prestigious distributors from around the world.  Laurie Woodrow's Trans-Pacific was started by Fortissimo's Michael Werner in the early days of the 1980s when international distributors started hiring "buyers reps".  Now, it seems perhaps, "buyers reps" are becoming industrial, though I doubt it.  It remains a person to person business actually begun by Asian go-betweens who would set up offices in LA and buy films for their companies back home where English was not the lingua franca.  One very early buyers rep I remember was Alvin Cassel who represented Toho-Towa.  We met in 1992 at a Crowne International Christmas party.  He wanted to use FilmFinders but when I solicited his boss in Japan, Steve Hirsch, another buyers rep, came after me and told me not to compete for his clients. 

Steve passed on prematurely and now I have just heard that Richard Glasser, another well loved buyers rep has also passed on prematurely.  Is the business a high pressure business?  These losses are painful as is that of Fortissimo's Wouter Barendrecht less than a year after.

Other buyers reps on the scene dating back to those early days and who are still actively in business include Gloria Feldman, Jerome Bliah and Andre Boissier, if his ABLO is still in that business.  Coming on the scene and taking over the Bjork operation, Kelly Green and Penny Karlin may not still be operating their partnership, though I have not heard that rumor confirmed.  There were some others whose names I seem to have forgotten.  Apologies for their exclusion. The newest and most active now are Orange's Mirjam Wertheim and Julie Kroll. 

Now Christopher Petzel’s LA-based management and production company Fierce Entertainment has acquired Trans-Pacific Media and Laurie Woodrow will serve as senior vice-president of international.  Laurie has been a long time rep of more than 15 of the top independent distributors in territories across Europe, Asia and Latin America, including DeaPlaneta in Spain, ZDF Enterprises in Germany, Dall’Angelo Pictures in Italy, Noble Entertainment in Scandinavia and CP Digital in Russia,

Congratulations to Laurie for her beautiful service and to Christopher Petzel for his vision in acquiring her company.

And my deepest felt condolences to the family of Richard Glasser.  He will be missed by all who knew him.  He was a wonderful man.

Here is the letter by Nikki Parker sent to his friends and colleagues:

To the many of you who are friends and colleagues of Richard Glasser..

Giovanna has asked me to let you know the tragic news that Richard suffered a massive stroke 4 days ago. He essentially died in Giovanna's arms after a loving reunion on his return from his Berlin trip for the EFM. He was home having a normal great time with Giva for just an hour before it occurred.

If you are like me when I first heard them, these words will ring untrue, and I wish they were.

If I can be of any solace, please contact me and I will try to help further explain this inexplicable tragedy. Giovanna, Gabriella, Cati and Elissa are all together with the rest of their loved ones and are
working through their pain with the strong support of each other.

They will be having a small family service very soon in L.A. and will be arranging a memorial service in the weeks to come.

We will advise you when it’s all figured out.

Please hold Richard and his family in your prayers during this sensitive time of shock and mourning.

Richard's magnanimous spirit has touched so many and it may be of comfort to you to know that, in death as well as in life, Richard smiles with you.

I’m very sorry to bring you this terrible message but it was important to the family to let you know.


Nikki Parker
Executive Vice President
Rogers and Cowan
84 Eccleston Square
London SW1V 1PX

Tel: 0203 048 0487


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