Warner Bros executive vice president of production Polly Cohen (pictured) hasbeen named as the new president of Warner Independent Pictures (WiP) followingMark Gill's abrupt departure last week.
The widely expected move puts in place a key lieutenant of WarnerBros production chief Jeff Robinov, to whom Cohen will report when sheofficially starts on June 1.
Her elevation also demonstrates a renewed emphasis on production atthe specialized division.
Cohen, a seasoned production executive who has risen swiftlythrough the ranks at Warner Bros, will have access to a new development fundfrom WiP's corporate parents.
Robinov told ScreenDaily that the fund would increase the pool of story ideas bygranting WiP power to buy pitches and ideas from filmmakers at an early stage.
"The company started out as a place to bring new filmmakersinto the Warner Bros family and we want to build on that," Robinov said.
"We want it to operate a little bit more like Warner Bros andwant to make movies in a more collaborative way with the filmmakers."
He praised Cohen's "collaborative spirit, great talentrelationships and ability to nurture the best stories."
For her part, Cohen told ScreenDaily that she was relishing the challenge andlooked forward to expanding her skills in the acquisitions arena.
"I went with theteam to Sundance to see how they operated and it's going to be a steep learningcurve, but I'm excited."
Robinov added that WiP's overall sensibility remained "anongoing dialogue."
"It comes back to the filmmakers as much as anything andwe'll see what comes up. We've never done anything in the genre world, forexample, but there's a shot that we will."
WiP's annual slate encompasses approximately five to eight titles,all generally budgeted under $20m.
Robinov diplomatically sidestepped the dramatic personality clashwith Gill that led to the latter's departure on May 2, preferring to say therewas "a difference in philosophies".
He added that Gill was still expected to segue into a productiondeal with the studio.
Cohen has overseen such tentpole Warner Bros projects as SupermanReturns and the HarryPotter franchise.
She is also working on the upcoming Warner Independent release Mama'sBoy as well as LicenseTo Wed, I Am Legend, and Blood Diamond for Warner Bros, and previously oversaw Gothika, Divine Secrets Of The Ya-YaSisterhood and AnalyseThis.
Prior to joining Warner Bros as a creative executive in 1997 shebegan her career at Jersey Films, working on such films as Gattaca and Living Out Loud.