03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Film Publicists Duel To Be Top NYC Tastemakers

Getting film stars photographed on the red carpet with corporate logos is key to the business model of Andrew Saffir, the 41-year-old founder of the Cinema Society. Mr. Saffir's company hosts exclusive film screenings and parties for the elite in New York's celebrity, fashion and media circles. It's a practice that has gone on for years, but Mr. Saffir has added a new twist to these exclusive gatherings of movie stars, studio moguls and paparazzi: the luxury brand sponsor who pays for the event. Sponsors of Mr. Saffir's events have included Chanel, Calvin Klein Inc., Vanity Fair magazine and The Wall Street Journal, which has underwritten nine.

In the past two-and-a-half years, Mr. Saffir has quickly established himself in territory that New York-based film publicist Peggy Siegal, 60 years old, has dominated for the past two decades. In the late 1980s, when many studios streamlined and moved their publicity departments to Los Angeles, Ms. Siegal created a business niche by hosting small screenings and dinners for the influential New York press. For years, studios have paid Ms. Siegal -- known for her ability to get journalists, socialites and veteran film and stage professionals into film-screening seats -- to plan such affairs for them. In addition to funding the events, she says, studios pay her a fee starting at $15,000.

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