Disney appoints Daniel Battsek as president Miramax Films

MUMBAI: Buena Vista International Organization film executive Daniel Battsek has been named Miramax Films president.

The announcement was made on 25 July by The Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook. In his new role, Battsek, who most recently has been executive vice president/managing director of distribution and production for BVI UK, will report directly to Cook.

Effective immediately, Battsek will focus his efforts on building a new executive team, as well as putting together a new slate of Miramax films.

He will work with Bob and Harvey Weinstein who will remain co-chairmen of Miramax on a non-exclusive basis through 30 September, 2005. During this period, the Weinsteins will focus their efforts on completing projects currently in production and will oversee the marketing and distribution of Miramax and Dimension films scheduled for release. As of 1 October, 2005, Battsek will take over all operations for Miramax Films which include creative, acquisitions, production, distribution, as well as marketing and publicity.

In making the announcement Cook said, "Daniel is a remarkable leader as proven by his dynamic and award-winning executive team. Their unprecedented success throughout the UK can be attributed to Daniel's savvy business sense, combined with his inspired enthusiasm, team spirit and great taste in material. His long rich history with The Walt Disney Studios where he has been involved in distribution, marketing, acquisition and production gives him a keen understanding of our goals as we further build upon the prestigious heritage of the Miramax name. We are thrilled to welcome Daniel into his new role as president of Miramax Films."

In commenting on his new position in leading Miramax Films, Battsek stated, "I am very much looking forward to the creative challenges this new role will bring, and am extremely gratified by the confidence Dick and others at the Studio, particularly BVI President Mark Zoradi, have in me to give me this amazing opportunity. I have enormous respect for everything that Miramax stands for and I hope my life-long passion for the film business will be a great asset to this prestigious label."

Battsek will relocate from the UK to New York where the Miramax headquarters will continue to operate independently.

Among the many projects already in the pipeline are Kinky Boots from director Julian Jarrold; Gone Baby Gone helmed by first time director Ben Affleck; Lucky 13 directed by Scott Marshall; and Hoax starring Richard Gere and to be directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Battsek will also collaborate with The Weinstein Company on such co-productions as Breaking and Entering, Derailed, Matador and Mrs. Henderson.

Under Battsek's stewardship, BVI UK has experienced over a decade of exceptional results with the year 2003 being a stand-out when the company topped the Distributor Market Share chart for the first time in its history. In addition to his responsibilities relating to BVI, Battsek has also built the UK Comedy Label into one of the leading British Production companies. Across these two disciplines, strong working relationships have been built both with such high profile British filmmakers such as, Stephen Frears, Nigel Cole, John Madden, Christopher Nolan, Anthony Minghella, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, as well as many influential filmmakers in the International film community.

Battsek was first introduced to Disney in 1991, when he was asked to start up a UK Company as part of the world-wide distribution network for BVI. In 1992, he officially joined The Walt Disney Studios. Battsek was promoted to vice president/managing director where he handled all aspects of theatrical film distribution in the UK. He built a strong team of key executives in finance, sales, marketing, technical and publicity, which have been recognized throughout the industry. He was later promoted to vice president, managing director and European acquisitions director of BVI (UK) Limited. His responsibilities also included involvement in the acquisition of distribution rights across numerous territories for such films as Muriel's Wedding, Shine, Central Station, Kolya and Ice Storm.

In 1998, he was promoted to senior vice president, BVI (UK) Limited where he oversaw approximately 35 films per year from the Disney, Touchstone and Miramax labels. With his expanding role, Battsek began acquiring and developing British film projects for worldwide distribution. He created the BVI UK Comedy Label which produced four films -- High Heels and Low Lifes, Hope Springs, Calendar Girls, which went on to gross over $95 million worldwide, and the soon to be released Kinky Boots.

Prior to joining Disney, Battsek was managing director of Palace Pictures where he was involved in all aspects of marketing, distribution and acquisitions in the UK and Ireland.

Battsek began his industry career at The Hoyts Film Corporation in Sydney, Australia where he quickly rose through the ranks to general manager in Victoria State overseeing distribution.

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