Philippa Kowarsky, executive producer of 2021 Sundance winner “Flee,” has been appointed commissioning editor of prestigious documentary brand BBC Storyville.
Kowarsky’s focus will be identifying and co-producing outstanding original documentary feature films from around the world. She will report to Rose Garnett, director of BBC Film.
Kowarsky joins the BBC from Cinephil, the international sales and advisory firm which she founded in 1997 and where she is currently MD. At Cinephil she represented and oversaw a diverse slate of films including Joshua Oppenheimer and Christine Cynn’s BAFTA winning “The Act of Killing” and Alexander Nanau’s Academy and BAFTA and Oscar nominated “Collective.”
Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s, “Flee,” which Kowarsky executive produced, won the grand jury prize in the world cinema documentary section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and was in the official selection of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival. Kowarsky’s credits also include Dror Moreh’s Oscar nominated “The Gatekeepers” and Andre Singer’s Peabody and Emmy winning “Night Will Fall.”
Kowarsky said: “I am thrilled to be joining the glorious Storyville on the BBC. Crossing over from Cinephil, my company of over twenty years – and from sales, distribution and production – to commissioning is a thrilling prospect. As a firm believer in public service television and its role in democracies, I’m proud to be working for the BBC. I’m looking forward to merging my love of great storytelling with Storyville’s and to upholding its commitment to reach and include audiences all over the U.K.. It is an honor to follow this incredible legacy and continue the quest to find, nurture and support the best documentaries from around the globe.”
Garnett said: “Philippa’s extraordinary experience and formidable reputation as a champion for bold, original stories and filmmakers make this a truly exciting appointment. We can’t wait to see where she takes Storyville next.”
Meanwhile, Jo Lapping takes on an enhanced role as head of factual acquisitions, reporting to Sue Deeks, head of program acquisition. Lapping will acquire both documentary films and factual programming for the BBC, working closely alongside Kowarsky at Storyville to expand the range of feature documentaries available to audiences across BBC channels and BBC iPlayer.