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BBC Films head David Thompson calls it quits

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MUMBAI: UK pubcaster the BBC has announced that BBC Films head David Thompson will be leaving to set up a new independent production company.

His new company will focus on film and television drama and will launch in 2008 with a first look deal with BBC Fiction. Thompson will also continue to executive produce for BBC Films, a slate of existing projects from development through to completion over the coming years.

Thompson leaves his current role in four weeks. BBC Fiction controller Jane Tranter says, "After an amazing 32 years at the BBC, ten years of those as head of films, David Thompson leaves BBC Films with an impressive slate of international and domestic successes and a truly awesome contribution to the film and drama creative community in the UK.

"However, despite leaving the corporation to set up his new venture I am delighted the BBC will continue to benefit not only from his unrivalled years of expertise and experience, but from his infamous tenacity, impeccable taste and sharp wit," she said.

BBC creative director Alan Yentob says, "Under David Thompson, BBC Films has been responsible for some remarkable British movies and television drama and has consolidated his position at the forefront of British independent filmmaking working in partnership with all the major studios – with BBC Films gathering acclaim internationally."

Thompson said, "I feel really privileged to have had the chance to work for BBC Films for many years and the opportunity to work with such an amazing array of talent both new and established. I am delighted that my new arrangement with the BBC will enable me to build on these relationships in the years to come. I have also been lucky enough to work with a brilliant team at BBC Films to whom I am greatly indebted. I am particularly proud of the current slate of films in development and production which is our strongest to date. The experience of running BBC Films for a long time – both the creative and the commercial side – gives me confidence in this new venture!"

Thompson has executive produced films like Iris, Billy Elliot, Dirty Pretty Things and Notes On A Scandal. The current film slate – the majority developed by BBC films – includes Revolutionary Road starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet; The Other Boleyn Girl starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana; and The Edge Of Love starring Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy and Matthew Rhys.

The slate also includes the recently released Eastern Promises starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts directed by David Cronenberg. It looks at the Russian mafia.

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