Variety Names Four at Akin Gump to Dealmakers Impact Report

(Los Angeles) – Variety has selected four Akin Gump lawyers for inclusion in this year’s Dealmakers Impact Report: entertainment partners P. John Burke (who heads the practice), Marissa Román Griffith and Christopher Spicer, and senior counsel Alissa Miller. According to Variety, the honorees are “the people behind the most important entertainment industry deals of the past 12 months – executives, lawyers, financiers, entrepreneurs and others from all sectors of the business, including film, TV, games, legit, music and digital media.”

Mr. Burke and Ms. Miller were cited for their work on behalf of CIT Bank on the reported $180 million-budgeted science fiction film “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” Ms. Miller said the transaction was complex because of its cross-border nature, the number of parties involved and the large size of the film. Additionally, paperwork for the deal was in multiple languages, with production in multiple currencies and 10 significant financing entities. Mr. Burke and Ms. Miller represent banks and other financiers, distributors and producers.

Ms. Griffith was noted for her role advising producers and lenders. She has worked on co-financing deals, which she said are growing as film and TV projects share the funding burden and risks. Ms. Griffith also said it’s important to be “solutions-oriented,” as clients “dislike hearing ‘no’ without a plan B.”

Mr. Spicer, whose clients include large banking institutions, predicted a mixed future for single film and TV projects and slate deals. While volume has declined in recent years, he said online streamers, such as Netflix, “have partially picked up the slack” for banks. Spicer added that he expects more deal growth from over-the-top platforms.

Mr. Burke and Ms. Griffith were both named to the list in 2015.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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