The retirement of the U.K.’s most ubiquitous producer, Nik Powell, from moviemaking feels like the end of an era for the Brit film community.
After 22 years at Palace Pictures with Stephen Woolley and then at Scala Prods., Powell — a fixture at fests, markets and watering holes the world over — is hanging up his spurs to become director of the National Film & Television School.
His list of credits practically defines the past two decades of Brit cinema, with pics ranging from “Company of Wolves” and “Mona Lisa” to “The Crying Game” and “Little Voice.”
Powell, an irrepressible wheeler-dealer who often made movies happen one way or another, had a huge influence on a whole generation of Brit producers and execs, many of whom got their first break working for him.
Alumni of his (and Woolley’s) informal academy include the likes of Buena Vista topper Daniel Battsek, Film Council exec Robert Jones and former FilmFour chief Paul Webster.
“I’ve been mentoring people one way or another all my life, and I want to end where I started, seeing people into the future,” Powell says. “I’m 53, and I want to do a public-service job.”
Powell’s existing film projects all have other producers who will take over sole responsibility, with Powell as a sleeping partner.
“Ladies in Lavender,” the directorial debut of Charles Dance, starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, starts shooting in September, a couple of weeks before Powell takes up his new post. Also in the works are a Brian Jones biopic to be directed by Woolley and the Oz co-production “The Queen and I.”