On Tuesday, Variety and Lionsgate U.K. held a joint party at The Lanesborough, a Central London hotel, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the British movie distributor.
Alberto Lopez, international director of Variety, spoke of Lionsgate U.K.’s “passion, commitment and ambition” for supporting British films and filmmakers.
Lionsgate U.K. CEO Zygi Kamasa responded: “We are incredibly proud of what we have done in the last 10 years: the growth in the number of movies, both American films, but in particular our support of British films. It’s a passion we’ve had for the last 10 years and we actually did a count: we’ve done 58 British movies in 10 years, which we are really proud of. In the last three years alone, we’ve released 20 British films theatrically. So hopefully we’re going to carry on giving that support in the next 10 years.”
He thanked the team at Lionsgate U.K., adding that most of the senior execs have been with him for the majority of the 10 years, and some of them longer, particularly Nick Manzi, head of production and acquisitions at Lionsgate U.K., who was Kamasa’s first ever employee in 1998 at Redbus Film Distribution, Lionsgate U.K.’s original name before it was bought by its Hollywood parent. “He has been a real rock in acquiring, producing and getting involved in all our British films,” Kamasa said.
Kamasa also thanked other Lionsgate U.K. executives including Ross Cunningham, head of marketing, Matt Smith, head of distribution, Nicola Pearcey, president, theatrical distribution, and Lorna Mann, senior VP, publicity.
Others included in the thank yous were Marie-Claire Benson, marketing director of home entertainment, Emma Berkofsky, head of development and acquisitions, Melissa Frost, legal counsel, Alexandra Keen, exec VP, legal and business affairs, and Wendy Reeds and Crystal Bourbeau, both exec VP, international sales.
Among the guests in attendance were Gurinder Chadha, the writer-director of “Bend It Like Beckham,” which was an early hit for Redbus in 2002, Finola Dwyer, producer of “Brooklyn,” which Lionsgate U.K. has in theaters at the moment, Dexter Fletcher, the director of “Eddie the Eagle,” which is a forthcoming release for the company, and Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen, the producers of “The Limehouse Golem,” which is another upcoming release for Lionsgate U.K.
Other guests included filmmakers of past Lionsgate U.K. releases, such as Gail Egan and Andrea Calderwood, the producers of “A Little Chaos,” Rosie Alison and James Kent, the producer and director respectively of “Testament of Youth,” Gabrielle Tana, the producer of “The Invisible Woman,” Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, the directors of “What We Did on our Holiday,” and Andy Paterson, the producer of “The Railway Man.”
Further guests included Clare Stewart, head of the London Film Festival, Lindy King and Ruth Young from United Agents, Mike Goodridge, head of Protagonist Pictures, Thorsten Schumacher, head of HanWay Films, and Nik Powell, the director of the National Film and Television School.
Dexter Fletcher, Zygi Kamasa
Guy Jenkin (center), Andy Hamilton (right)
Zygi Kamasa, Finola Dwyer, Dexter Fletcher
Andy Hamilton, Nik Powell, Guy Jenkin