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In a surprising move that will likely turn heads across the U.K.’s film and TV industry and beyond, A24 has fired up the cannons of its global ambitions by poaching two of the country’s most experienced and respected executives.
Rose Garnett, director of BBC Film, and Piers Wenger, director of BBC Drama, will join the studio in newly created-roles that will be based in London and will see them oversee A24’s growing international film and TV slate.
Garnett joined BBC Film from Film4 in 2017 and has helped back films including Netflix’s current awards darling The Power of the Dog, plus The Favourite; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Room and Never Rarely Sometimes Always.
Wenger, meanwhile, has headed up the BBC’s scripted output since 2016 (after spending four years at Channel 4), with recent projects including I May Destroy You, A Very English Scandal, A Very British Scandal, His Dark Materials, The Salisbury Poisonings, The Serpent, The Tourist, This is Going to Hurt, plus Normal People and Small Axe (both in close collaboration with Garnett).
According to A24, the roles — which haven’t been given official titles as yet — will continue to see Garnett and Wenger “champion the creative community in the U.K. and beyond,” working with new and established producers, directors and writers to make “forward-thinking, talent-focused work.”
“The BBC is unparalleled as a place to make great work. Under the inspiring and generous leadership of Charlotte Moore, myself and the film team have been able to discover, support and celebrate voices and stories from across the U.K. and beyond,” said Garnett. “The BBC Film team was the best team to be part of: dedicated, bold, passionate and rigorous.”
Added Wenger: “After a decade as a drama commissioner it is high time I gave someone else a go. The last six years working for Charlotte and the BBC have been more creatively challenging, more emboldening and more fun than anyone has the right to in the name of work. I am indebted to the BBC and the extraordinary range of writers, producers and directors it has been my privilege to work alongside.”
A24 has several projects in the pipeline with the BBC, including Shane Meadows’ period drama series The Gallows Pole, Daina Oniunas-Pusićʼs feature film debut Tuesday starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Rose Holmer and Saela Davis’ Irish psychological drama Godʼs Creatures starring Emily Watson and Paul Mescal and Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter with Tilda Swinton.
BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore praised her two outgoing execs, describing Wenger as “an exceptional creative with a huge regard for public service, an eye for both the popular and the profound and an appetite for complexity and provocation,” and Garnett as a “dynamic and inspirational leader who passionately believes in the BBC and the creative power of British independent film.”
Both Garnett and Wenger will leave the BBC in May. Until appointments are made, Eva Yates is set to take on the role of acting director of BBC Film while Ben Irving will take on the role of acting director of BBC Drama.
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