Magazine article Screen International

Ben Roberts Likely to Remain at Protagonist through Cannes, Succession Plan Underway

Magazine article Screen International

Ben Roberts Likely to Remain at Protagonist through Cannes, Succession Plan Underway

Article excerpt

EXCLUSIVE: Interview process for Protagonist top position underway; shareholders committed to the sales company.

London-based Protagonist Pictures, set up as a joint venture between Film4, Ingenious and Vertigo Films in 2007, is coming off one of its most successful markets to date.

At the EFM there was strong demand for the company's slate, which includes anticipated titles The Sweeney, Richard Ayoade's The Double, John Michael McDonagh's Calvary and Kevin Macdonald's How I Live Now as well as completed titles like Streetdance 2 3D, which had its UK premiere in London last night.

But in the past three weeks, the company has seen the departure of head of sales Charlotte van Weede to eOne and, as announced yesterday, its CEO Ben Roberts, who will become Director of the BFI Film Fund.

Inevitably, the company is in hiring mode. Nigel Williams, chairman of the Protagonist Pictures board and the majority shareholder in the company, told Screen: "Ben and his amazing team have successfully grown Protagonist into a first class international sales company working with some of the best producers in the business. We are already making plans to ensure that the next stage of the company's growth proves to be just as dynamic and visionary."

Allan Niblo, producer and co-founder of Vertigo Films, told Screen: "The process has begun. We're organising interviews now and there have been some strong candidates come forward already."

Screen understands that Roberts will likely continue as head of Protagonist through Cannes. He is unlikely to contribute on staff to the BFI's public consultation of its Five Year Forward Plan For Film - likely to go out end of April.

Williams, Vertigo, Ingenious and Film4 have all pledged their ongoing commitment to Protagonist: "Ben was attracting good films and the shareholders Film4, Vertigo and Ingenious were providing good product - that will continue," said Niblo. …

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