A24, the indie studio behind “Moonlight” and “Lady Bird,” has tapped BBC executives Rose Garnett and Piers Wenger to oversee its international film and TV slate.
The appointments are a major coup for A24 — and a heavy loss for the BBC — given Garnett and Wenger are the go-to execs in the U.K. for film and scripted television, respectively, anywhere the Beeb is concerned.
Garnett most recently served as director of BBC Film, where she has overseen a slate of movies including “The Power of the Dog,” “The Nest” and “Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always.” Prior to that, she worked at Film4 where she helped produce the likes of “The Favourite,” “Room” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.”
Wenger served as director of BBC Drama, where he has overseen such hit television series as “I May Destroy You,” “Bodyguard,” “A Very English Scandal” and “Normal People.” Previously he was head of drama at Channel 4 where he commissioned “Humans,” “National Treasure,” and “The End of The F**cking World.”
Both Garnett and Wenger will leave the BBC in May. Eva Yates will serve as acting director of BBC Film in the interim, while Ben Irving will be acting director of BBC Drama until an appointment is made.
Both Garnett and Wenger will continue to be based out of London.
Reflecting on his departure, Wenger quipped that “after a decade as a drama commissioner, it is high time I gave someone else a go.”
He continued: “The last six years working for Charlotte and the BBC have been more creatively challenging, more emboldening and more fun than anyone has the right to in the name of work. I am indebted to the BBC and the extraordinary range of writers, producers and directors it has been my privilege to work alongside.
“There are mountains to climb everywhere but I predict a magical time ahead for BBC Drama as the next generation of thinkers and taste-makers step up to shape its future,” Wenger added. “I want to pay tribute to the colossal talents of the team in place and I will be watching with pride and awe as they start the process of carving out a fresh vision.”
Meanwhile, Garnett called the BBC “unparalleled” as a place to make great work.
“Under the inspiring and generous leadership of Charlotte Moore, myself and the Film Team have been able to discover, support and celebrate voices and stories from across the U.K. and beyond,” she said. “The BBC Film Team was the best team to be part of: dedicated, bold, passionate and rigorous. I know that the creative confidence and the imagination of the next generation of commissions and commissioners will produce wonderful films. Thank you to all my colleagues and to the filmmakers that let me work alongside them.”
The industry heavyweights depart the BBC during a turbulent period for the public broadcaster, whose main source of funding, the nationwide U.K. license fee, has been frozen at the current rate for two years under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government. This affects the level of funding available to commissioners like Garnett and Wenger, and affects how competitive the BBC can be alongside streamers and studios.
A24 and the BBC have worked closely with each other. Upcoming A24 projects in partnership with BBC include Shane Meadows’ period drama series “The Gallows Pole,” Daina Oniunas-Pusićʼs feature film debut “Tuesday” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Rose Holmer and Saela Davis’s psychological drama “Godʼs Creatures” starring Emily Watson and Paul Mescal, and Joanna Hogg’s “The Eternal Daughter” with Tilda Swinton.
A24 has a full slate of films that also includes “Everything Everywhere All At Once” starring Michelle Yeoh and due to premiere at SXSW, as well as Alex Garland’s “Men” and Ari Aster’s “Disappointment Blvd.” starring Joaquin Phoenix.
(Pictured, L-R: Rose Garnett, Piers Wenger)