May 29, 2024

Deckert Distribution CEO Liselot Verbrugge is to launch a new company as the German sales agency prepares to wind down its operations in 2024, with founder Heino Deckert moving fully to production. Verbrugge is attending IDFA documentary festival this week, where the Sundance awarded film “Against the Tide,” one of the agency’s bestsellers this year, is playing in the Best of Fest section.

Amsterdam-based Verbrugge joined Deckert at the start of 2019 as head of sales and acquisition, starting with the roll out of double Academy Award nominated “Honeyland.” She took over the reins of the company as CEO two years ago.

Verbrugge commented: “I am very happy with what we managed to build over the last few years here. But with the company officially residing in Leipzig, there were certain practical elements that became obstacles. Both in the legal sense of running a company from another country, as in sharing part of the German team with [Heino Deckert’s production company]”

Verbrugge added: “As Heino is now stepping out fully, it is time for a new phase. So after a lot of thinking and talking to Heino, I have decided to start over with a new company in the Netherlands. There will be a fresh start with a new name, but also some Deckert Distribution DNA, as part of the team will join me. I am very happy to also have festival manager Hanne Biermann on my side again, who I have been closely working with for over four years.

Sundance awarded film “Against the Tide” plays in the Best of Fest section at IDFA.

“Twenty years after the launch of Deckert Distribution and with nearly 30 years of experience in international sales, founder Heino Deckert is closing this chapter, as the company will cease its active outreach in the course of 2024.

“Having been involved in several companies throughout the years, and a well-known face in the international film industry, he now wants to fully focus on production.”

Deckert said: “As my production company, besides documentaries, is making more and more fiction films, I feel it is time for me to stop working in distribution. We have just started the release of our Venice title ‘The Universal Theory’ by Timm Kröger, have another title in production right now, and several more in the pipeline. So it’s good for me now to concentrate just on this.”

Deckert Distribution’s successes over the years include titles like 2010 Oscar nominated “Rabbit a La Berlin” by Bartek Konopka and Piotr Rosolowski, “Heimat Is a Space in Time” by Thomas Heise and the afore mentioned Sundance hit “Honeyland” by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska. With such titles as “Against the Tide” and “Close to Vermeer,” 2023 has been a strong year for the company, both in theatrical and broadcast/VOD sales.

A handful of films from the Deckert catalog will also follow Verbrugge to the new company, but she is not intending to have a catalog of the same size. Verbrugge added: “Through the years Deckert Distribution has built up a vast back catalog with so many strong, award-winning titles. But with the changes in the market we also see the benefit of being lighter as a company. With less films and a less complicated structure we are more flexible to move within this ever changing landscape.”

Preparations for the new company, that will have its launch on Jan. 1, 2024, are now in full swing. Verbrugge said: “It is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun to build the new set up. We have many exciting plans for the new year, including new titles. There will be a new admin department joining us in the Netherlands and we are looking forward to a start full of new energy.”

The new company name will be announced in the following months.

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