BBC Films restructured with 'secure funding'


LONDON -- BBC Fiction controller Jane Tranter unveiled Tuesday her long-anticipated shake-up of the pubcaster's moviemaking arm BBC Films.

Tranter has restructured the unit, creating a BBC Films Board and pledged that "the funding is secure" for the filmmaking arm.

She told The Hollywood Reporter that a final decision on the level of funding would be made in the middle of October this year but could not confirm any figures for the level.

But sources within the BBC were confident that the current level of annual funding, which stands at £10 million ($20 million), will remain and may even rise.

Tranter said the day-to-day management of BBC Films and decision-making will now be the responsibility of the nascent board, which comprises Commissioning Editor Christine Langan, executive producers Jamie Laurenson and Joe Oppenheimer and Commercial Affairs and General Manager Jane Wright.

Langan, Laurenson and Oppenheimer will report to Tranter with Wright reporting to Claire Evans, Operations and Business Affairs chief, BBC Fiction.

Tranter told THR that she prefers a flat board structure rather than a hierarchical one because it means BBC Films will gain four different voices and tastemakers when taking decisions, she said the new look structure would "allow for a plurality of voice and vision and a collaborative approach to decision-making, while giving the individuals on the Board real independence in their executive producer roles."

Each board member has been given specific areas of responsibility.

Wright will chair and be responsible for day-to-day operations, raising finance, distribution and executive producing duties.

Langan will exec produce as well as taking on the responsibility for management of the development slate and the development team at BBC Films.

Laurenson will exec produce as well as working with digital channel BBC4 and Ben Stephenson, Head of Drama Commissioning, on the channel's slate of single films.

Oppenheimer will also exec produce while managing the close creative relationship with HBO Films.

Added Tranter: "The intention is to create a structure that felt flatter and fairer to the creative community out there."

The changes also mean tweaking editorial and business structures, with the Board, Tranter and Evans currently putting together a game plan.

Tranter said she is aiming to capitalize on what audiences see as key BBC strengths. "This move will bring BBC Films back into the heart of the BBC, and in particular BBC Fiction, enabling much greater creative collaboration across BBC Fiction – Drama, Comedy and Acquisition – with films very much at the center of the department."

Evans added: "The firm intention is that ideas and projects can now flow between the departments much more easily. We also want to be even more ambitious with our external partnerships across fiction, and become better partners ourselves. We are open for business across the board."