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Topic Studios Hires HBO Veteran Maria Zuckerman

Topic Studios has hired veteran HBO executive Maria Zuckerman as executive vice president to lead overall strategy including development, financing and production of films, documentaries, TV, podcasts and digital programming.

Zuckerman worked for nearly 20 years at HBO, where she most recently served as senior VP of HBO Films. She oversaw production of more than 30 titles during her tenure, resulting in 17 Emmy Awards. In 2015, Variety named Zuckerman one of Hollywood’s New Leaders in Television.

“Maria is a super smart, creative executive who filmmakers and talent love to work with,” said Michael Bloom, CEO of First Look Media & Topic. “Combined with her extensive experience at HBO and her impressive background working with established and new voices, we knew she had the right sensibility for us.”

Notable films shepherded by Zuckerman include “Bessie,” starring Queen Latifah and directed by Dee Rees, which won four Emmys; Stephen Frears’ “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight”; the one-man show “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” directed by Spike Lee; “Mary and Martha,” starring Hilary Swank; and “Grey Gardens,” starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.

Topic initially operated under the parent company name First Look Media. The first film it co-financed and produced was “Spotlight,” which won the Academy Award for best picture. Since then, its credits include Debra Granik’s “Leave No Trace”; the political documentary “Dark Money” from Kimberly Reed; Steven Soderbergh’s Panama Papers drama “The Laundromat,” starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas; and “The Climb,” premiering in the Official Selection at Cannes later this month.

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