Former WMI exec boards Independent Film Group
Rena Ronson has returned to indie packaging duty, this time at UTA.The former co-head of William Morris Independent has joined UTA as co-head of the Independent Film Group. She will share oversight of the department with UTA motion picture lit partner Rich Klubeck, who has headed the group since 2004. Indie unit also includes senior agent David Flynn and agent Bec Smith. Ronson will focus on film finance, packaging, foreign sales and distribution strategies. “Rena’s addition speaks directly to the vision we have for expanding our finance and packaging operations,” said Klubeck in a statement. “Her extensive experience here and abroad and her insight into the changing economics of the film industry will greatly add to our reach in the global film market.” Ronson added that she’ll aim to develop new strategies and solutions for indie filmmakers, producers and financiers in the challenging current climate. “The traditional models of distribution are not working,” Ronson told Daily Variety. “We need to make our industry strong again. We need to put our heads together and figure out how to make things work. To me, that’s an exciting challenge.” Ronson was part of the first wave of layoffs when William Morris and Endeavor merged in May. After a long stint in the foreign sales business, Ronson joined William Morris Independent in 1998. Over her decade tenure at WMI, which she ran with Cassian Elwes, she secured financing and distribution for more than 150 films. Among the projects she worked on are Jason Reitman’s “Thank You For Smoking,” Marc Forster’s “Monster’s Ball,” Miguel Arteta’s “The Good Girl,” Ryan Fleck’s “Half Nelson,” Sarah Polley’s “Away From Her,” Courtney Hunt’s “Frozen River” and Cherien Dabis’ “Amreeka.” In 2008, Ronson helped put together a partnership with Screen Capital Intl. to form pic financing venture Incentive Filmed Entertainment. Ronson assembled Incentive projects such as Don Roos’ Natalie Portman-starrer “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits,” which recently bowed at the Toronto fest, and Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine,” with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Prior WMI, Ronson was head of Lakeshore Intl. UTA’s indie group has packaged and repped projects from filmmakers including the Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, Charlie Kaufman, Alan Ball, Oliver Hirschbiegel, Greg Mottola, Miranda July and Fatih Akin.