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Sonar hires ex-HBO exec for LA development role

New York-based Sonar Entertainment has hired former HBO Films VP Sam Martin as executive VP, development and production.

Martin will head up a new LA office, though she will also operate from Sonar’s East Coast base. She was previously responsible for overseeing production and development of original movies for premium cable channel HBO.

JP Sarni, who worked with Martin at HBO, has also joined the company to take the role of VP, development and literary acquisitions, and Jean Balest is to become creative executive.

“We are actively and aggressively looking for content and looking to make deals,” said Sonar CEO Stewart Till. “This dynamic group, led by Sam, enables us to further build on our well-established record of delivering exceptional quality programming.”

“Sonar Entertainment is fully committed to the direct-to-series financial model,” said Martin. “Our focus will be on nurturing the vision of artists and creators from the ground up. We will leverage the company’s financial resources and powerful reputation in international sales as we collaborate with both traditional television networks and emerging digital outlets to give talent the space to develop innovative, quality programming.”

Sonar recently scored one such deal with author James Patterson and Robert de Niro’s prodco TriBeCa Productions to create spy series Private.