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.