“There are always opportunities to change and grow,” Kosse tells Screen.
David Kosse has told ScreenDaily that the opportunity to work closely with the British independent film sector was his main motivation for becoming head of Film4.
“I’ve always loved the British film industry and have loved many British films over the years,” he told Screen shortly after the announcement.
“I worked with Polygram in the early 90s when I first came to live in the UK and have gone on to work closely with a number of companies.
“I worked on British independent films for a long time and the opportunity to get back to the independent sector and to work closely with filmmakers was the main reason for my decision.”
The London-based Universal Pictures executive will assume the role of director of film from November 1, replacing outgoing head Tessa Ross.
Praise and surprise
While the move has been widely praised by UK industry, many have also expressed surprise, for while Kosse and Channel 4 boss David Abraham have both stressed the executive’s links with the UK - not least that Kosse has lived here for 17 years - the move undeniably represents a significant shift in gear for both.
“There are some producers and distributors I know better than others but I know most of the key players that Film4 have invested in,” explained Kosse about his knowledge of the UK indie sector.
“I know most of those filmmakers, producers and distributors. However, I’m looking forward to getting to know more of them and reigniting relationships with those people I haven’t worked with for a while.”
Kosse said Film4’s annual budget of £15m ($25.2m) was not a problem for him after his decade at studio Universal: “It’s a smaller budget than at Universal but you’re involved in a deeper way in shaping the creative destiny of the movie. And it’s still a significant budget, coming as it does in equity and development.”
Kosse, who was instrumental in growing Universal’s international film arm and former UK distributor Momentum before that, sees significant opportunity for growth at Film4.
“I always think there’s potential for growth. That’s what I’ve done throughout my career,” he stated.
“I won’t know until my feet are under the desk but there are always opportunities to change, develop and grow. I’m not sure where they are just yet but I am convinced they will be there and I’ve usually done well at finding them.”
Film business changing
The executive denied that his appointment signalled a desire for sharper commercial instincts at the broadcaster’s film arm.
“I wouldn’t say so. I think it’s more about the film business changing globally,” he said. “The question is where that business is going. I think they saw in me someone well-suited to thinking about how best to position Film4 among changing business models.
“‘Sharpening commercial instincts’ sounds anti-filmmaker on the face of it. In reality, Film4 is a great place for young and innovative filmmakers and it will continue to be that.
“It will continue to be the place where the remit is to take chances on movies others might not. And we want to do that in the context of globally changing business models.”
Kosse added that while he hadn’t spoken to outgoing head Tessa Ross in recent weeks the “transition would be very smooth given how well we know and understand each other”.