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Toronto, February 25 - Paragon Entertainment Corporation Chairman and CEO Jon Slan disclosed that HandMade Films, the company's feature division, will put five new theatrical features into production during the first half of 1997, bringing to 11 the number of films produced by the company over a period of 18 months.

The new titles, an eclectic mix of dramas and comedies in the tradition that characterises the HandMade imprimatur, include "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels," a humourous story about a collection of characters and their law dodging scams, "Written in Water," a drama of intrigue about a successful novelist whose life and career are radically altered by an obsessive fan, "Lotto Boy," a dark comedy of deceit, blackmail and murder about a couple of working class anti-heroes whose lives are strangely complicated and endangered by a big lottery win, "Another Life," a drama about a young woman whose romantic daydreams of her Edwardian girlhood lead her into the nightmare of an unhappy marriage, and culminating in stark tragedy, and "Life's Companion," a human comedy of emotional transformation about a man who must face dramatic changes in his life following the death of a former classmate, a consummate practical joker.

The five new titles will be unveiled at the upcoming American Film Market, February 27 to March 7, in Los Angeles, joining the six features lensed by Paragon/HandMade Films in 1996 now in various stages of post-production and pre-release, also being presented there.

Mr Slan, Chairman and CEO of Paragon Entertainment Corp., has stated: "I'm very proud of the production slate that HandMade vice president Gareth Jones has assembled. These films are essentially material-driven, and like those we produced in 1996, we are confident they will attract similarly important quality casts." He added: "Paragon/HandMade is off to a strong start with five features already set in the first half of 1997, and we expect to firm plans shortly for additional productions to begin during the year."

"Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels" marks the feature debut of writer Guy Ritchie, and is produced by Matthew Vaughn, with production scheduled to begin on London locations in April.

"Written In Water" will be directed by Tod Mesitow from a screenplay by Diana Wagman, with Liza Kaufman and Camille Dan producing. An April start is planned on locations in the U.S. off the North Carolina coast.

"Lotto Boy" will be directed by Tom Quinn from a screenplay by Bob Mandl, with Steve Wakefield and David Webb producing. Filming in North America is scheduled to begin in June.

"Another Life" will be directed by Philip Goodhew, who penned the screenplay, with Angela Hart producing. Production is scheduled to begin in June on locations in England.

"Life's Companion" is written and will be directed by Lyle Kessler, with filming in the U.S. scheduled to begin in June.

The six features produced by Paragon/HandMade in 1996 include "The Wrong Guy," starring Dave Foley, Jennifer Tilly and David Higgins, to be released in the U.S. by Hollywood Pictures; "Intimate Relations," starring Julie Walters and Rupert Graves, who was named Best Actor at the Montreal Film Festival for his performance in the film, to be released in May in the U.S. by Fox Searchlight Pictures, "Dinner at Fred's," starring Christopher Lloyd, Gil Bellows, Parker Posey (winner of a special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for her performance in "The House of Yes"), Kevin MacDonald and John Neville, "The James Gang," starring John Hannah and Toni Collette, "Sweet Angel Mine," starring Alberta Watson, Margaret Langrick, Oliver Milburn and Anna Massey, "The Assistant," starring Gil Bellows, Joan Plowright and Armin Mueller-Stahl (Academy Award Best Supporting Actor nominee for "Shine").

At the upcoming American Film Market, Paragon/HandMade will be screening "The Wrong Guy" as well as promo reels of "The Assistant," "The James Gang," and "Dinner at Fred's".

Paragon acquired HandMade Films and its distinguished library in 1994. HandMade Films' titles include "Time Bandits," "Mona Lisa" and "Withnail and I."

Paragon Entertainment Corporation is a leading independent entertainment company engaged in the development, financing, production and distribution of quality television programming and feature films. A publicly traded company with its financial base in Toronto, a strong parallel presence in Los Angeles, and development and production operations in London, Paragon trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "P".

Advisory to editors:

UNS does not warrant or make any representations regarding the correctness, accuracy or reliability of the contents of the press release. Under no circumstances shall UNS be liable for damages resulting from the use of information contained in the press release. All facts should be independently checked.

SOURCE Paragon Entertainment

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