The BFI will examine the health of Britain's independent sector and has formed a new commission to carry out the work, with Lionsgate U.K. and Europe boss Zygi Kamasa at the helm.The Commission on U.K. Independent Film is charged with studying the indie sector and issuing recommendations on how its future prospects – at home and abroad – could be safeguarded and improved.The work of the commission is part of the BFI’s wider five-year plan for U.K. film, which falls...
As CEO of Lionsgate’s European office, Zygi Kamasa oversees not only the British distribution company, but Lionsgate’s operations across Europe, and its international sales division. The U.K. distribution business has had a strong year creatively. Its films received 18 BAFTA nominations, including 11 for “La La Land.” In 2016, it was Britain’s eighth biggest distributor with a 4% market share, and a total gross of £54.2 million ($67.6 million).
In January, Lionsgate U.K. took a stake in Andrea Calderwood and Gail Egan’s Potboiler Television, further evidence of the desire of the U.S. studio’s British arm to push into bigger-budget U.K. television, as well as being a major force in British filmmaking. In the fall of 2016, Lionsgate hired Steve November, a leading ITV drama executive, as creative director of U.K. television.
The Potboiler deal is an example of the company’s broader commitment to British production, both TV and film. Lionsgate U.K. had teamed with Calderwood and Egan on several films, such as “Trespass Against Us,” starring Michael Fassbender.
In 2015, Lionsgate U.K. had revealed plans to finance and co-invest in up to 25 British independent films over the following four years. Recently acquired or co-produced British pics include Jonathan Teplitzky’s “Churchill,” starring Brian Cox, Lone Scherfig’s “Their Finest,” starring Gemma Arterton, and “The Limehouse Golem.” Upcoming British movies that Lionsgate has invested in include “On Chesil Beach,” starring Saoirse Ronan, and “Filmstars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” produced by Barbara Broccoli.
Lionsgate U.K. was previously known as Redbus Film Distributors, which was acquired by the U.S. company in 2005. Redbus was co-founded by Kamasa in 1998. An early success was “Bend It Like Beckham.”