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10 Producers to Watch: Lila Yacoub

The British-born, New Jersey-raised Lila Yacoub has collaborated with directors Noah Baumbach (“Frances Ha,” “Greenberg,” “The Corrections”) and Marina Zenovich (“Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out,” “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”), as well as producing projects for Wes Anderson (“Moonrise Kingdom”) and working on films for Robert Redford and Stephen Daldry.

“I always wanted to be in films, and I started out doing musicvideos and gradually worked my way up,” says Yacoub, who has several new films due for release. First up is “Rosewater,” the directorial debut from “The Daily Show’s” host Jon Stewart due out Nov. 14, on which she has exec producer credit.

The drama, adapted from Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari’s memoir, used Jordan to double for Iranian locations — “because no other country would let us shoot there,” she says.

“We used local crews and shot for a very tight 33 days, as Jon had just a 12-week hiatus from the show, so it was very challenging.”
Even more challenging was post. “He had to edit while he was back on the show, so it was exhausting — and a very unusual way to do a film.”

To cushion the blows, Yacoub made sure to surround Stewart with “very seasoned and supportive department heads.”

She reunited with Baumbach on two more projects: “While We’re Young,” a story about aging and success “that’s very personal to me,” and an untitled project “in the vein of ‘Frances Ha’ that we shot around New York and we’re finishing up now. I love working with Noah, because I really respect him as a writer and director, and after so many films together, I know what he wants, so I try my best as his producer to get him what he needs — within the limitations we may have financially. I love figuring out the puzzle of each project, and each is unique.”

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