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Daniel Battsek takes over as Director of Film4

08 Apr, 2016 Productions Posted in: Film4 staff, News

Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham today announced that Daniel Battsek will join the corporation as Director of Film4, following the news that David Kosse is to step down to join STX Entertainment.

Battsek will join Film4 in July, relocating to the UK from New York after fulfilling his contract as President of Cohen Media Group – where he has overseen the acquisition and release of projects including back-to-back Oscar® nominees Timbuktu and Mustang, as well as a development and production slate of films that includes John Williams’ renowned novel Stoner, a co-production with Film4.   Prior to this role Daniel was President of National Geographic Films, and before that President, Filmed Entertainment at Miramax Films.

David Kosse will continue working for Film4 during the transition period on a consultancy basis until October.

Battsek will inherit the increased spend announced by David Abraham and David Kosse in February 2016 of £25 million for the year, with the ambition of maintaining similar increased levels of Film4 funding in future years.

Under Battsek’s leadership, Film4 will continue to seek out new partnerships like those announced with Fox Searchlight and FP Films in February, which allow the company to take a greater stake in certain projects, with a view to seeing more of the returns flowing back to Film4 for investment in the company’s future slate.

Battsek also inherits a development slate which includes new work from Lenny Abrahamson, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrew Haigh, Steve McQueen, Martin McDonagh, Clio Barnard, Bart Layton, Garth Davis and Mike Leigh, as well as completed or near completed films from Andrea Arnold, Ben Wheatley, Ang Lee, Paddy Considine, Susanna White, John Cameron Mitchell, acclaimed theatre director Benedict Andrews, newcomers Toby Macdonald and Michael Pearce, and Danny Boyle.

Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham commented: “Daniel Battsek’s passion for independent, filmmaker driven cinema, and experience in film production, development and distribution at the highest level in both the US and UK markets, are second to none. He’s a perfect fit for the Film4 brand. We’re thrilled to bring this talented British executive back to the UK.

“As demonstrated by our record breaking year at both the Oscars and the BAFTAs, Daniel will inherit a Film4 business in fine creative and commercial health from David Kosse.  We’re sad he couldn’t have been with us longer but he’s had an incredible impact in the time he has led the division.  Both the exciting upcoming slate and the increased funding for original film we announced earlier this year are testament to the successful strategy implemented by David.   I’m delighted that he will be working alongside Daniel on a smooth transition over the summer and ensuring that it is business as usual for Film4 over this period.”

Daniel Battsek added: “I am hugely honoured to have been offered this opportunity. My career began with so many of Film4′s early productions and I have retained strong ties with British filmmakers throughout my time in the US. Joining Film4 feels almost like coming full circle. I look forward to returning to the UK and putting the experience I’ve gained on both sides of the Atlantic to good use.”

David Kosse said: “Film4 is a unique organisation and a very special brand and it was a difficult decision to leave, but joining STX at this stage is an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.  Over almost two years, I’m incredibly proud to have put in place a new strategy for Film4 which has boosted funding for the film industry to a record level and to have introduced an exciting new slate of high quality productions and developments with a diverse group of filmmakers.  David Abraham and the Channel 4 leadership team have been fantastic partners since day one and I look forward to continuing to work with them over the coming months.”

Having worked at the cutting edge of the independent sector on three continents, Battsek brings 30 years’ production, development and distribution experience to Film4. For the last three years Battsek has served as President of New York based Cohen Media Group, where he has overseen the acquisition and release of arthouse/crossover releases including back-to-back Oscar nominees Timbuktu and Mustang, as well as a development and production slate of films that includes John Williams’ renowned novel Stoner, a co-production with Film4. Prior to that he spent 2½ years at National Geographic Films, where as President he acquired projects for development and production including the  Oscar nominated documentary Restrepo, as well as National Geographic branded large screen and Imax 3D projects. Battsek relocated from the UK to New York in 2005, where he served for five years as President, Filmed Entertainment at Miramax Films. Projects he greenlit and/or acquired there included Oscar winners The Queen, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood and Oscar nominees The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Happy-Go-Lucky.

From 1991 to 2005, Battsek held the position of EVP and Managing Director, UK Distribution and European Production & Acquisitions at Buena Vista International, UK, where he oversaw all aspects of UK distribution for 18-25 releases per annum from Walt Disney Studios and their partners including Pixar and Miramax Films. At BVI, Battsek also set up a Comedy Production Label in 2001 which financed and produced three films, including Calendar Girls and Kinky Boots. Prior to that, Battsek spent six years as Managing Director of Palace Pictures, where he was responsible for the acquisition and distribution of quality independent titles from around the world for release in the UK, and he also spent three years as a Sales & Marketing Executive for Hoyts Entertainment in Australia, where he first cut his teeth in distribution.

Film4 is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division, which develops and co-finances films and has an established track record for working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in UK and international filmmaking.  Film4 has developed and/or co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years – Academy Award-winners such as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, Asif Kapadia’s Amy, Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years and Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, Shane Meadows’ This is England, Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths, Yann Demange’s 71, Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and David Mackenzie’s Starred Up.

 

Film4-backed films scoop 3 Oscars, including Best Actress and Best Documentary Feature

29 Feb, 2016 Productions Posted in: Academy Awards

Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Asif Kapadia’s Amy and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina are honoured at the 88th Academy Awards…

Films backed by Film4, the UK’s leading film development and financing company, took home major Oscars for three of its internationally acclaimed titles – Room, Amy and Ex Machina – at last night’s 88th Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

The Room--(None)

Brie Larson picked up the Best Actress award for Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Asif Kapadia’s Amy was honoured as Best Documentary Feature and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina received the Best Visual Effects Award.

“On behalf of everyone at Film4 and Channel 4, I want to congratulate Brie Larson and the team behind Room, Amy’s Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees, and the Ex Machina visual effects team Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington, and Sara Bennett – on their well-deserved Oscar wins. I’m immensely proud of all our films and the remarkable filmmakers who have shared their vision and talent with us – it’s been an honour to be part of their journey. Supporting the British film industry both at home and globally is at the heart of everything we do at Film4 and I’m thrilled that the Academy has recognised this broad range of unique voices and stories,” said David Kosse, Director of Film4.

Alex Garland's Ex Machina, backed by Film4

Abrahamson’s Room and Todd Haynes’ Carol were also honoured in key categories at the 31st annual Independent Spirit Awards, held in Santa Monica on Saturday. Brie Larson won Best Actress, and Best First Screenplay was awarded to Emma Donoghue for Room. The Best Cinematography award went to Ed Lachman for Carol.

Film4 received a record 15 Oscar nominations this year for Todd Haynes’ Carol, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth and Asif Kapadia’s documentary feature Amy.

Channel 4 announces major increase to Film4 funding

09 Feb, 2016 Productions Posted in:

Film4 funding has increased to a record £25m in 2016, with major new deals announced with Fox Searchlight and FP Films. Film4 will be backing new work from Lenny Abrahamson, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrew Haigh, Steve McQueen, Clio Barnard, Bart Layton, Mike Leigh and Chris Morris.

Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham and Director of Film4 David Kosse today announced a major boost to the corporation’s commitment to film, increasing the funding budget of Film4 from £15m to £25m in 2016 – with the ambition of maintaining similar increased levels of Film4 funding in future years.

The announcement was made at an event to celebrate the success of Film4-backed films in the Awards season, with a record 22 BAFTA and 15 Oscar nominations – for the likes of Room, Carol, Ex Machina, 45 Years, Amy, The Lobster and Second Coming.

Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, backed by Film4

The significant increase in funding across 2016 will include two major new partnerships that demonstrate the scale of Film4’s future ambitions: a new co-financing deal with Fox Searchlight for Martin McDonagh’s new film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; and a new two year partnership with Entertainment Film Distributors and FP Films, the production company set up by The Inbetweeners creators Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, for four new comedy feature films.

These deals sit alongside a hugely diverse range of upcoming Film4 projects which continue Film4’s established track record of working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in the UK and internationally. These include The Selfish Giant director, Clio Barnard’s next film, Dark River; Bart Layton’s heist movie, American Animals, on which we will be partnering with AI Films; the next film from 45 Years director Andrew Haigh, Lean on Pete; a new film about Mary Magdalene from Garth Davis; Danny Boyle’s long-awaited sequel to Trainspotting; and new films from first-time filmmakers – Michael Pearce’s Beast; Toby MacDonald’s Old Boys; Adam Smith’s Trespass Against Us and Benedict Andrews’ Una.

Film4 will back Andrew Haigh's follow up to 45 Years, Lean On Pete

Film4 will back Andrew Haigh’s follow up to 45 Years, Lean On Pete

Film4 also has projects in development with some of the UK’s most acclaimed filmmakers such as Steve McQueen, Mike Leigh, Lenny Abrahamson, Yorgos Lanthimos and Chris Morris.

Channel 4 Chief Executive, David Abraham said: “Channel 4 has played a huge role in backing new and distinctive film talent for three decades and the record awards success this year is testament to the enormous impact Film4 has in the industry. We have the ambition for this impact to continue to grow and so I’m delighted that, under David Kosse’s leadership, Film4 will be substantially increasing its funding – which I hope will ensure that we are able to continue to nurture the next generation of filmmaking talent.”

Director of Film4, David Kosse said: “I’m tremendously proud of the diversity of the Film4-backed movies nominated for awards – and continuing to support such a wide range of voices is at the heart of my strategy for the future of Film4.  In an increasingly global and competitive industry, building new and bolder partnerships across both production and distribution will ensure both that Film4 is able to operate as a more self-sufficient part of Channel 4 and that we continue to maintain high levels of funding into the film industry.”

The 36th London Film Critics Circle Awards

18 Jan, 2016 Posted in: Actors and Actresses, Awards

The Film4-backed 45 Years takes Best Actor, Best Actress and Best British Film at the 36th London Critics’ Circle Film Awards

Other prizes for Film4-backed films included Breakthrough Filmmaker for director John Maclean for Slow West, Best Documentary for Amy and a gong for cinematography for Carol’s director of photography Ed Lachman.

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Tom Courtenay wins Best Actor

At a black-tie ceremony hosted by comedian Robin Ince, Film4-backed films went home with a total of six prizes. Andrew Haigh’s tender drama 45 Years was named British/Irish Film of the Year by a voting body comprising around 90 of the UK’s professional critics. It also won the night’s top acting prizes, as veteran stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay were named Actress and Actor of the Year.

Tristan Golligher

45 Years producer Tristan Golligher

Adding to its list of honours in the US, Asif Kapadia’s Amy took the award for Documentary of the Year. Musician-turned-filmmaker John Maclean won the Philip French Award for Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker for his striking debut Slow West, while Todd Haynes’s period romance Carol took the multi-disciplinary Technical Achievement Award for Ed Lachman’s 16mm cinematography.

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Host comedian Robin Ince

Dench and Branagh

Judi Dench presented the Dilys Powell award for excellence in film to Kenneth Branagh

The full list of winners for the 36th London Critics’ Circle Film Awards:

 

FILM OF THE YEAR: Mad Max: Fury Road

BRITISH/IRISH FILM OF THE YEAR: 45 Years

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR: The Look of Silence

DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR: Amy

ACTOR OF THE YEAR: Tom Courtenay — 45 Years

ACTRESS OF THE YEAR: Charlotte Rampling — 45 Years

SUPPORTING ACTOR OF THE YEAR: Mark Rylance — Bridge of Spies

SUPPORTING ACTRESS OF THE YEAR: Kate Winslet — Steve Jobs

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR: George Miller — Mad Max: Fury Road

SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy — Spotlight

BRITISH/IRISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR: Tom Hardy — Legend, London Road, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant

BRITISH/IRISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR: Saoirse Ronan — Brooklyn, Lost River

YOUNG BRITISH/IRISH PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Maisie Williams — The Falling

PHILIP FRENCH AWARD FOR BREAKTHROUGH BRITISH/IRISH FILMMAKER: John Maclean — Slow West

BRITISH/IRISH SHORT FILM OF THE YEAR: Stutterer — Benjamin Cleary

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Ed Lachman, cinematography — Carol

DILYS POWELL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN FILM: Kenneth Branagh

 

Six Film4 titles score a record 15 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Director for Room

14 Jan, 2016 Productions Posted in: Academy Awards, Awards

Six Film4-backed films received a record 15 Oscar nominations for the 88th annual awards ceremony, which will air live on 28th February 2016, including Best Picture and Best Director nominations for Room.

“We are deeply grateful that the Academy and its members have embraced our films Carol, Room, Ex Machina, 45 Years, Youth and Amy and recognised the extraordinary talent and creativity in bringing them to audiences far and wide. 15 nominations across the films is an amazing validation of our belief in the potential of these bold, inspirational stories we championed at Film4. It’s enormously rewarding to see everyone’s hard work and creativity illuminated by an Oscar nomination and I am delighted to see so many of our friends and partners honoured today. Congratulations to you all – it’s very well deserved,” said David Kosse, Director of Film4.

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Amongst the films backed by Film4, Todd Haynes’ CAROL received 6 nominations including Best Actress for Cate Blanchett, Best Supporting Actress for Rooney Mara, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography and Best Adapted Screenplay.

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Lenny Abrahamson’s Room received 4 nominations including Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Actress for Brie Larson and Best Adapted Screenplay for Emma Donoghue.

Ex-Machina-Download-Wallpapers

Alex Garland’s Ex Machina received 2 nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Achievement in Visual Effects.

AMY was nominated for Best Documentary Feature and Charlotte Rampling was nominated for Best Actress for her role in 45 YEARS. Paolo Sorrentino’s YOUTH received a nomination for Best Original Song.

 

 

Film4-backed films Oscar® nominations in full:

 

CAROL

Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett
Actress in a Supporting Role: Rooney Mara
Adapted Screenplay: Phyllis Nagy
Achievement in Cinematography: Ed Lachman
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original score): Carter Burwell
Achievement in Costume Design: Sandy Powell

 

ROOM

Best Motion Picture of the Year: Ed Guiney
Achievement in Directing: Lenny Abrahamson
Actress in a Leading Role: Brie Larson
Adapted Screenplay: Emma Donoghue

EX MACHINA

Original Screenplay: Alex Garland
Achievement in Visual Effects: Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

45 YEARS:

Actress in a Leading Role: Charlotte Rampling

YOUTH

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original song): Simple Song # 3, music and lyrics by David Lang

AMY

Best Documentary Feature: Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees