Michael Cerenzie, SMIG Managing Director is a versatile, multi award winning producer, financier and entrepreneur. He brings more than two decades of experience, a diverse network of global relationships and a keen awareness of trends and opportunities in media and technology.
Mr. Cerenzie is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of The Stratagem Group, based in Toronto. The Stratagem Group is engaged in financing, production and development activities relating to feature film, television, digital media, VR and cross-platform technologies. Stratagem Studios Inc. has obtained substantial financial commitments to acquire, build and operate film and television production studios and related services in Canada and other regions. Stratagem Entertainment and its predecessors have produced award-wining and commercially successful feature films and television programs. Stratagem Rx arranges facilities, services and personnel in Canada for global film and television producers. Stratagem Financial collaborates with SMI Group in numerous sectors to develop cross-border opportunities involving Canadian individuals and businesses.
Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Mr. Cerenzie started his career in the restaurant and hotel business at 16 and launched a chain of casual and fine dining restaurants in Toronto at the age of 21. He then moved to the U.S., where he produced critically acclaimed films and theatre in New York and Los Angeles, closed substantial financing deals in Hollywood and innovative real estate transactions in Asia.
For 25 years after he moved from Toronto, Mr. Cerenzie lived in the United States, Japan and China, giving him a unique understanding of the global entertainment industry. During this time, Mr. Cerenzie produced dozens of theatrical motion pictures and more than 50 stage plays in New York, several of which won the prestigious Obie Award, the top award for off-Broadway stage productions.
Mr. Cerenzie produced the first-ever reality series for HBO. TV Guide referred to it as a “ground-breaking hit.” In his feature films, he collaborated with legendary, Academy Award®-winning filmmakers such as Robert Altman, Sidney Lumet, Martin Scorsese and Jim Sheridan.
Mr. Cerenzie’s first feature was co-developed and executive produced by Martin Scorsese. Mr. Cerenzie produced and financed Sidney Lumet’s last film, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. Lumet’s most critically successful film in 25 years, Devil starred Academy Award®-winning and nominated actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michael Shannon, Marisa Tomei, Ethan Hawke and Albert Finney and was named one of the American Film Institute’s Top 10 films of the year.
In both film and television, Mr. Cerenzie partnered with most of the leading major studios, networks and agencies, including MGM/UA, Paramount, Universal, Warner Bros., HBO, Showtime, CBS, CAA and WME-IMG.
The entertainment industry’s trade journal of record, Variety, named Mr. Cerenzie as one their “50 Creatives to Watch” and the California Film Festival created a special category and named him “Maverick Producer of the Year.” Mr. Cerenzie’s productions have premiered in Cannes, at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the Berlin, Venice and Sundance film festivals, won numerous awards and achieved financial success.
Mr. Cerenzie has extensive experience in the development, financing and branding of cross-border projects, particularly those involving North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He was instrumental in arranging more than $1,300,000 in financing for films, technology companies, real estate and urban development, forged partnerships that created synergies among mobile phone platforms, video-on-demand and emerging content distribution technologies, and invested in and incubated technology and marketing companies in digital and new media.
Mr. Cerenzie has also contributed as an on-air industry expert for Fox Business News, CNBC, and CNN, Bloomberg.com.
After nearly 25 years away from home, Mr. Cerenzie returned to Toronto in 2015. He founded the Stratagem companies to build in Canada the creative and financial capabilities and infrastructure that has helped make the United States, China and Japan succeed in the global entertainment and media industries.
Mr. Cerenzie is a Canadian citizen. He travels frequently, particularly to the United States and Asia.