UPDATES EXCLUSIVE: Battsek Becoming Prez Of Nat Geo Films; Leipzig To Produce

NatGeographic_LogoLOS ANGELES (Jan. 20, 2010)—Daniel Battsek has been named president of National Geographic Films and will begin Monday, March 15. The appointment was announced today by David Beal, president of National Geographic Entertainment (NGE), to whom Battsek will report. Battsek will be responsible for development, production, acquisitions and distribution of all of NGE’s film endeavors.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far with National Geographic Films, and we’re thrilled to have Daniel Battsek, a true leader in the international film production and distribution community, take us to the next level,” said Beal.

“Daniel knows the independent film world and knows how to develop great films associated with iconic brands, so we’re excited to have him leading the National Geographic Films banner,” added Tim Kelly, president and CEO of the National Geographic Global Media group.

Battsek joins NGE after 18 years with Walt Disney Studios, the last four as president of Miramax Films where he led all operations including creative, acquisitions, production, distribution, marketing and publicity. During his time at Miramax, Battsek oversaw a number of acclaimed and award-winning projects, including “No Country for Old Men,” which won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Picture, and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “The Queen,” “There Will Be Blood”* and “Doubt.” Prior to joining Miramax, he was executive vice president and managing director of distribution and production for Disney’s Buena Vista International U.K., where he served in various capacities from 1991. Battsek was managing director of Palace Pictures from 1985 to 1991, leading their marketing, distribution and acquisition efforts in the U.K. and Ireland.

“National Geographic is one of the most respected and iconic brands in the world, and National Geographic Entertainment is a new and exciting way for this great creative resource to reach an even larger audience,” said Battsek. “I’m looking forward to expanding the activities of the film group to further build on the potential of the National Geographic brand.”

National Geographic Films will be composed of National Geographic Features group and National Geographic Cinema Ventures (NGCV), which includes theatrical distribution.

In October 2008 NGE and ImageNation Abu Dhabi announced a joint venture to finance feature films, committing $100 million for 10 to 15 features over the next five years. “The Way Back,”** currently in production and written and directed by six-time Academy Award nominee Peter Weir, is the first effort utilizing this fund.