Miramax brings in Columbia publicity veteran to promote Oscarcontenders

NEW YORK: Columbia Pictures veteran Dennis Higgins has secured top

billing at Miramax, joining as SVP and co-head of publicity.



Higgins will be based in New York, and will work alongside Janet Hill,

who will hold the same title. Hill is based in Los Angeles, and had been

acting department head since the departure of Marcy Granata earlier this

year. Granata had spearheaded the promotion of approximately 35 films a

year for Miramax since 1994.



Higgins will report directly to chairman Harvey Weinstein, and is

expected to begin strategizing Oscar campaigns, for which Miramax is

famed.



The company's huge promotion campaign behind Shakespeare in Love in 1999

helped it pick up Oscars for best picture, best screenplay, and best

actress for Gwyneth Paltrow.



Miramax will be pulling out all the stops in the run-up to the Oscars

next year, since 2001 was a poor year for the studio's main release,

Chocolat, which failed to take home an award despite unprecedented

hype.



Higgins' main responsibilities for Miramax will be in the theatrical

area, as the company is likely to focus its firepower on its upcoming

slate of movies including Gangs of New York, Serendipity, Iron Monkey,

and Amelie. Other upcoming releases include The Shipping News and In the

Bedroom.



Higgins will also supervise a publicity department that includes local

and field promotions, special events, and audiovisual personnel, as well

as publicists.



Higgins has worked at Columbia Pictures for the past 11 years, and was

most recently SVP of publicity. He has also run Columbia's New York

publicity office, and worked at 20th Century Fox and MGM/UA.



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