Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell Launch New U.K. Indie

Tessa Ross, Juliette Howell
Credit: House Productions

The former Film4 and Working Title TV bosses have launched House Productions, with investment from BBC Worldwide and a first-look deal with Access Entertainment, headed by ex-BBC TV director Danny Cohen.

The brief hiatus of acclaimed British producer Tessa Ross from the film industry has come to an official end.

The former Film4 boss — who departed the U.K. banner in 2014, leaving a multi-award-winning legacy of hits including Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years a Slave and The Last King of Scotland, and post-departure Ex Machina, Carol and Room — on Monday unveiled her new production company with another established name, Juliette Howell, the former head of Working Title TV.

House Productions, based in London with Ross and Howell as joint CEOs, will work across both film and TV and comes with two major partnerships already in place. BBC Worldwide has taken a 25 percent slice in the new indie, acting as global distributor, while Access Entertainment — the new division of Len Blavatnik's Access Industries and being headed up by former BBC TV director Danny Cohen — has a first-look deal to develop and finance feature films.

"Juliette and I are truly excited about what we can achieve together, and with our partners at BBC Worldwide and Access Entertainment," Ross said in a statement. "We’re going to build a creative and supportive home at House Productions and look forward to growing something unique and long lasting with both new and old collaborators."

Added Howell: "Along with our partners, Tessa and I share a vision for the company where the flow of ideas and creative talent between film and television can achieve the best and most ambitious work. House Productions will be the home of original, exciting stories, a place where ideas can be nurtured and produced in a supportive environment."

Cohen, who left the BBC in 2015 and joined Blavatnik's Access — which owns the Warner Music Group — earlier this year, described the first-look deal with House as an "important step" in the company's plans.

"I'm excited to get going on developing a slate of premium quality movies with them," he said.

House Productions also will benefit from additional investment and expertise from New York-based investor Laura Sloate.

While both hugely well-regarded names individually, Ross and Howell have worked together numerous times over the last 20 years on projects including Billy Elliot, Shameless, Slumdog Millionaire and Last King of Scotland.