Stewart Till backs Daniel Battsek as head of BFI Film Fund
Till was speaking at a Skillset event held in London last night to celebrate the Skills Investment Fund reaching the £8m milestone.
Skillset’s chairman Stewart Till has publically endorsed Daniel Battsek for the job of head of the BFI’s Film Fund.
Speaking at an event to celebrate the £8m raised by Skillset’s Skills Investment Fund - a voluntary training levy raised on productions filmed in the UK in the last 12 years - Till told the room full of industry professionals: “I believe that Amanda Nevill and Tim Cagney from the BFI are here..if they are, could they appoint Daniel Battsek as head of the film fund. The whole industry wants Daniel, Daniel wants Daniel, please go ahead and do it.”
Josh Berger, head of Warner Bros UK, which was backing the event on behalf of Skillset, also suggested in his speech that he would be supportive of Battsek being appointed to the role.
The mention of Battsek won’t come as much of a surprise to most industry watchers; his name has led the speculation of the past few weeks of likely candidates for the job. The hiring process is ongoing, it is not yet known when the BFI will announce the appointment.
Tanya Seghatchian stepped down from the role of head of the film fund at the BFI in September 2011 to return to producing. She oversaw the transition from the UKFC to the BFI, holding the post for four years in all.
The new job will also supervises distribution activities (the P&A fund, headed by Pete Buckingham until his recent departure from the BFI, is now run by Alex Stolz) so the successful candidate will have likely worked with production and distribution.
The Film Fund’s senior production executives are currently Chris Collins, Lizzie Francke and Natascha Wharton, alongside Isabel Davis, Bradley Quirk and Fiona Morham.
Daniel Battsek currently holds a consultancy role advising on the partnership between Hyde Park/ImageNation and National Geographic Feature Group, after stepping down as head president of National Geographic Films following the announcement that Nat Geo Films would be closing its Los Angles Offices.
Prior to that, Battsek was president of Disney owned Miramax Films between 2005 and 2009. He entered the Disney fold back in 1991, when he was asked to start up a UK company as part of Buena Vista International’s worldwide distribution network. Prior to Disney he was managing director of Palace Pictures.
Meanwhile speaking about the achievement of the Skillset Investment Fund, Till said he believed that it was one of the key reasons that the goverment had brought in the 20% tax credit, and why the current goverment continued to be supportive of the industry.
Josh Berger, head of Warner Bros UK told the audience that “the work that Skillset has done has enabled us to make our studio’s biggest and most successful movies in this country.”
“Our success and experience we have had here has been so positive, that it really drove our decision to buy Leavesden Studios. We are here very much for the long haul. And the work that Skillset does is a fundamental piece in that puzzle.”
Warner Bros has contribued over 10% of the total SIF contributions to date, with the latest contribution from the final Harry Potter installment pushing the fund over the £8m mark.
Also speaking at the event were Iain Smith (via video link up from Australia where he is producing Mad Max), Sixteen Films producer Rebecca O’Brien and production accountant Matt Lawson.