Each year Variety’s New Leaders feature profiles the most prominent up-and-comers in the entertainment business. To determine this year’s worthies, Variety looked across disciplines, from television, digital, music and film, to law and finance, as well as content creators. They were proposed by their bosses and peers who have worked with them and seen their rise. All are age 40 or under, and Variety has measured them by the progress of their career trajectories: do they take calculated risks? How fast have they risen in their companies? Are they innovative and employ solutions to problems that are creative? As part of the salute to the qualities that keep the town humming, filmmaker/producer Travis Knight, who founded Laika Studios and is also being honored with Variety’s Creative Leadership Award. The New Leaders, Variety’s 10 Asis finishing up the anticipated “Bumblebee” for Paramount, as well as Variety‘s 10 Assistants to Watch will be recognized Oct. 17, at the Jeremy Hotel rooftop in West Hollywood.
Director of Development, Paramount, 33
Canton came to Paramount as a creative executive in 2014, becoming director of development for newly founded Paramount Players in 2017. Among her accomplishments: acquiring “Book Club” in conjunction with exec VP of worldwide acquisitions Syrinthia Studer’s team. She’s working on Tiffany Haddish’s “Nobody’s Fool,” “What Men Want,” starring Taraji P. Henson, and “Dora the Explorer.” “Be open to new ideas, points of view, and taking risks because if there’s one truth about our industry, it’s that it’s always evolving,” she says.
VP, Global Business, Head of U.S. Productions, CJ Ent., 32
The Korean-American producer-exec oversaw and co-produced CJ Entertainment’s 2013 hit “Snowpiercer,” and with his team has developed more than 15 English-language properties including Phyllis Nagy’s “The Vanished.” He also launched CJ’s first genre label, 413 Pictures. The goal: to take a strong leadership position among Asian companies and filmmakers, “and not only create more unique, and sentimentally different, movies from what we’ve seen so far in the U.S, but be the first to achieve this with regularity,” he says.
Covert Media, SVP Development & Production, 36
Develops and builds Covert’s slate and serves as an executive producer on all titles, including the star-studded “Ophelia,” starring Daisy Ridley, which premiered at Sundance; “The Secret,” starring Katie Holmes and based on the best-selling book; the high-concept horror project “The Ice Cream Man” to be directed by director and artist Nicholas Verso; and “Resurface,” produced alongside Broken Road Prods. “I’m excited for the future of the movie business,” she says. “Now more than ever it feels like a time to take risks and to do things differently.”
Head of Development and Production, Everyman Pictures, 33
She shepherds projects that align with Everyman’s political and comedic sensibilities, as well as thrillers, sci-fi and psychological dramas. Earned an Emmy nomination for “All the Way,” co-produced “Trumbo,” “The Campaign,” “The Brink,” the Emmy-winning “Game Change.” She is executive producer on an untitled Fox News projectand is also producing a drama about the 1970 Kent State shooting. “I strive to support the filmmaker’s vision, and influence it where I can so that what jumps off the page shines on the screen,” she says.
Partner, Archer Gray, 38
As COO and CFO, Singh oversees venture capital and content financing investments in startups as well as its strategic partnerships. Steered the acquisition of Colony; launched documentary and digital divisions, and was instrumental in overseeing financing of “TransMilitary,” Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next” and the theater production of “The Elephant Man.” Orchestrated partnership with Protagonist Pictures. “As the proliferation of content and formats accelerates, the notion that ‘content is king’ is challenged. The bar is higher. Content has to be experiential and connect in a visceral way to stand out.”
Executive, Production & Development, Marvel Studios, 36
Key film development and production executive at Marvel with its 20 films and $17 billion-plus global box office and a development slate with more than a dozen titles through 2022. The 10-year Marvel veteran started as an assistant to the head of post-production on the studio’s first film, “Iron Man,” and her fingerprints are all over the “Avengers” mega-franchise. “Films like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Captain Marvel’ are helping to diversify the industry, and the audience response is creating momentum we can use to continue pushing that forward.”