Chicago Teleproductions was a forerunner to CineTel Films. Paul Hertzberg founded CineTel Films.
In the early 1980s, Hertzberg, along with Lisa M. Hansen, went to Cannes for the first time and attended would later become MIPCOM. During the festival, the two CineTel executives found themselves with unsalable entertainment shows, with the exception of Hansen's film acquisition The Courier of Death, which sold out quickly. Observing this success, CineTel Films switched its business focus from television programming to feature film production.
The company also distributes to international markets films produced by CineTel Pictures, a separate company, while New Line Cinema distributes those films to domestic markets.