Dee Rees, Yessian LA lead the week’s industry moves

8+
“Mudbound” Director Rees

“Mudbound” Director Rees

“Mudbound” director Dee Rees signs with Anonymous Content

Production and Management Company Anonymous Content has announced Mudbound director Dee Rees has signed for commercial representation in the U.S. and U.K.

The news kicks off a groundbreaking 2018 for Rees, whose feature drama Mudbound has been met with sweeping praise and four Academy Award nominations, including two historic nods: Best Adapted Screenplay (for co-writers Rees and Virgil Williams), making her the first African American Woman ever to be nominated for Writing; and for Cinematography, with DP Rachel Morrison becoming the first woman nominated in that category.

Now streaming on Netflix, Mudbound explores the racial divide of the post-WWII South with sharp commentary and heart-wrenching results.

An alumna of New York University’s graduate film program and a 2008 Sundance Screenwriting & Directing Lab Fellow, Rees’s first feature Pariah premiered at Sundance in 2011 and won Excellence in Cinematography Award for the festival’s U.S. Dramatic competition. Pariah went on to be honored with the John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards; the Gotham Award for Best Breakthrough Director; and Outstanding Film –Limited Release at the GLAAD Media Awards.

Rees’s other work includes HBO film Bessie about the life of singer Bessie Smith, which won four Primetime Emmys, including the award for Outstanding Television Movie. She has also written and directed TV episodes for Fox’s smash-hit Empire and ABC’s miniseries When We Rise, about the history of the modern gay rights movement. political thriller The Last Thing He Wanted for the big screen.

Yessian LA adds Thera Conrad

The Los Angeles and New York offices of Detroit-based Yessian Music have expanded by adding two new key staffers.

Thera Conrad will head business development and sales. She was most recently the head of West Coast sales for production company Quietman.

Thera_Conrad_Yessian
New Business Development Head

“First and foremost, I’m stoked to join Yessian because of the people,” Conrad said. “I loved meeting with Michael and the team. I’m very excited about handling new business development and sales for the LA office. I see opportunities to implement new ideas and break down doors. Music is a wonderful thing and I feel so fortunate to be able to work in this industry. I was raised listening to James Taylor and Motown and have a love for all things music.”

Michael Yessian says that Conrad will help the company’s growing West Coast presence. “LA has been a continuously expanding market for us,” he said. “Bringing Thera on in a new business development capacity was the next piece in the puzzle to complement our creative and production teams we have built over the past few years there. We are ready to take our west coast operations to the next level.”

In New York, Angela Powers has joined as a Senior Producer. Most recently, she was the executive producer of Comma Music’s New York office.

Sundance “Breakthrough Filmmaker” Liu joins Nonfiction Unlimited

On January 27 2018, director Bing Liu was presented with Sundance’s Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking for his feature-length documentary film, Minding the Gap.

Now, Liu has joined Nonfiction Unlimited’s roster of directors
.

Bing_Liu_Nonfiction
Sundance “Breakthrough Director” Liu

“What attracted me to Nonfiction Unlimited was LJ’s [Nonfiction’s partner and Executive Producer Loretta Jeneski] enthusiasm for my creative voice and her willingness to work with me to develop it for the commercial realm,” Liu explained. “It was also comforting to know that she has an understanding of my scattered schedule as a filmmaker actively working on and developing new projects. She has worked with my trusted advisor Steve James since his Hoop Dreams days. With his introduction and recommendation, LJ and I are now off and running.”

Inspired by Liu’s work and very aware of his ongoing collaborations with James, Jeneski jumped at the chance to add Liu to Nonfiction’s roster.

“We take a lot of pride in the opportunities we are given to work alongside leading creatives and brand marketers to create breakthrough commercials, content and films,” Jeneski began. “After seeing Bing’s [Minding the Gap] film at Sundance, I knew he belonged with us. He has a very fresh style; his blend of artful, character-driven verité storytelling with beautiful cinematography is really special and totally engaging, and I anticipate it being in high demand beginning very soon.”

Station Film welcomes Chatfield

Sarah_Chatfield_Station_Films
Dynamic filmmaker Chatfield

Station Film has signed Director Sarah Chatfield to their roster for commercial representation in the U.S. The news was announced recently by Stephen Orent, Managing Partner, Station Film.

A dynamic visual storyteller inspired by both classic and modern fashion photography and film, Chatfield’s work embodies polished glamour and raw cinematic naturalism, according to the statement. Her style shines through in commercials for Adidas, Credit Suisse, Nike and Huawei, and fashion films for YSL and Eudon Choi which have screened in museums and galleries worldwide and been featured in publications such as Vogue, iD and Dazed & Confused.

Chatfield travels frequently between London and Los Angeles, but calls Los Angeles home. She is represented by Friend for the U.K.

RSA signs 22-year-old Ward

Ward has a poetic and vibrant style
Leonn_Ward_RSA

With having completed projects for RSA UK as well ask Black Dog, Director Leonn Ward is no stranger to RSA Films. Now Ridley Scott’s production company has announced they officially represent her.

Ward had already made a name for herself in the photography world with a debut global campaign for Adidas Originals. With a fine art background and eye for fashion, she brought her visions into the realm of moving pictures and developed a subtle, poetic and vibrant style that lends a certain intimacy to each of the pieces she directs.

Avid terminates CEO over conduct policies

Avid_Luis_Hernandez
CEO Hernandez terminated for behavior

Avid, the leading video editing software company, has fired CEO Luis Hernandez Jr. for violating “company policies related to workplace conduct,” the company announced last Monday.

The decision was made after a “special committee” that included members of its board of directors had investigated allegations against Hernandez. Avid said the exec was terminated for “non-financially related workplace conduct.”

After reviewing the findings of the special committee’s investigation, “the board of directors unanimously concluded that the findings warranted immediate termination of Mr. Hernandez’s employment,” the company said in a statement.

Avid tapped its president, Jeff Rosica, as its new CEO. Rosica has been with the Massachusetts-based company — a staple of Hollywood’s production community — since 2013. Nancy Hawthorne was elected as Avid’s Chairman of the Board.

 
Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.

8+
BackTalk