No legs.


Extending an olive branch? Pouring oil on troubled waters? Repairing burned bridges? Putting a good face on a bad situation?

Call it what you will, indie film marketing legend Bob Berney is speaking soothing words about his former business partner, movie producer Bill Pohlad. Berney shocked the movie world days ago by bolting from Apparition, the film distribution company the two founded only nine months offering words of praise for his onetime colleague.

In an interview with blogger Anne Thompson, the runaway executive called Pohlad "a bold producer and a good guy." 

Thompson got her exclusive sit-down with Berney at the Cannes Film Festival. Pohlad was counting on Berney to acquire films at the French gala. Instead, he is networking and considering his next move.

There had been speculation that Berney, the strategist who made smashes of such offbeat items as "Whale Rider," "Pan's Labyrinth," "Memento" and "Y Tu Mama Tambien,"  was joining Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who are set to re-launch their old studio Miramax. Or he was going to return to theatrical distributor Newmarket films, where he had directed marketing for his biggest hit, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." Neither is true, he told Thompson.

Berney is guarded about the issues behind his abrupt departure, but it boils down to the realities of running the operation with fewer resources, and less autonomy, than he expected. Plus kibbitzing about strategy. And disappointing returns on "The Runaways," the much buzzed-about, little-seen Joan Jett biography starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning. We're persistently seeking comment from Apparition, which remains clammed up. Meanwhile you can read Thompson's piece here.