Butler aims to turn Raw into a major force in film and drama production, building a slate of bold, authored U.K. and U.S. productions, working alongside Raw’s founder Dimitri Doganis, creative director Bart Layton, CEO Joely Fether and the department’s head of development Zander Levy.
As deputy head of film at Film4, which is the feature film arm of broadcaster Channel 4, Butler has been working across its production slate. Previously, she served as senior commissioning executive with responsibility for new talent and running Film4’s lower-budget feature slate.
She executive produced numerous titles including Paddy Considine’s BAFTA and British Independent Film Award winning “Tyrannosaur”; Ben Wheatley’s award-winners “Kill List” and “Sightseers”; Peter Strickland’s multi-BIFA winner “Berberian Sound Studio” and Clio Bernard’s first narrative feature “The Selfish Giant,” which premiered in Cannes 2013.
Films coming up in 2014 include Lenny Abrahamson’s Sundance premiere “Frank,” starring Michael Fassbender, David Mackenzie’s “Starred Up” and John Maclean’s debut “Slow West.”
In her earlier position as head of development for Film4, Butler also had a key role on acclaimed titles such as “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Attack the Block” and “Submarine,” and was associate producer on Sarah Gavron’s debut feature “Brick Lane.”
Butler’s relationship with Doganis and Layton began when she executive produced “The Imposter” for Film4, which they produced and directed respectively. The film launched Layton as a director to watch, and went on to become one of the highest-ever grossing documentaries at the U.K. box office, winning numerous international awards, including a BAFTA for outstanding debut, and both best documentary and the Douglas Hickox Award at the BIFAs.
In 2012, Raw launched a film and drama division and brought in young talent Levy from Origin Pictures to head up development. The team has since built a substantial slate in both the U.K. and the U.S. Its relationship with Film4 and support from Tessa Ross, controller of film and drama at Channel 4, remains central to this, and the company now has five projects in development with them. These include Layton’s next project, “American Animals,” and scripts by Peter Straughan, Gregory Burke and Joe Barton.
Butler commented: “We share an ambition to tell compelling stories that ask big questions about who we are and the world we live in, and to work with filmmakers and writers with strong voices who have a desire to both connect with and challenge audiences.”
As well as working across Raw’s film slate, Butler will also oversee Raw’s expanding TV drama slate. Since its launch in 2012, the drama department has taken on major script commissions for the lead broadcasters and networks, including the BBC, Channel 4, A&E and the Discovery Channel, amongst others.
Raw has a prolific factual output, and in 2013 the company produced over 100 hours of television. In the U.S. it produces “Gold Rush,” which airs on the Discovery Channel worldwide, and recently became the channel’s highest-rating series of all time; “Locked Up Abroad” for National Geographic, which is the longest-running series in the network’s history; and “Paranormal Witness,” which continues to grow its audience for SyFy.
In the U.K., the company is producing two documentary series for Channel 4, “Teenagers” and “Students,” both airing in 2014. It also produced the critically acclaimed drama “Blackout” for Channel 4, which it is now adapting as a feature, and “The Plot to Bring Down Britain’s Planes,” which won a BAFTA earlier this year.
Doganis commented: “Raw has a rapidly expanding drama slate in both television and film and Katherine’s vast experience and expertise in this area, and her amazing relationships with the very best writers and directors, can really supercharge this growth.”