London-based Protagonist Pictures is restructuring as it stretches to fit increased ambitions. The company has had a strong year with Sundance and Berlin hits Frank and ’71, and a number of films in the pipeline. Part of the ramp up includes key appointments just ahead of bringing three titles to Toronto. 3311 Productions’ Eddie Vaisman is joining the company as head of production and acquisitions, U.S., kickstarting its U.S. business. He’ll look to strengthen Protagonist’s Stateside profile and build up its finance and production activities. Vaisman’s credits include producing In A World…, an exec producing Michael Polish’s Big Sur and the upcoming Ad Inexplorata with Mark Strong. He previously worked at Sony-based Avenue Pictures and in 2004 started out at Kathryn Bigelow’s Paramount-based First Light. In another hire, Vanessa Saal will join the company as head of sales. She’s moving over from Studiocanal where she was SVP of international sales. She previously worked at Kinology and Focus Features International. Also, Protagonist’s Dave Bishop has moved from his existing sales position to the newly created role of head of worldwide acquisitions. He’ll oversee the acquisition, finance and production of film projects, and continue to handle sales in the UK. Protagonist CEO Mike Goodridge said today, “It’s been a summer of transition for Protagonist and I couldn’t be happier that we have assembled such a brilliant group of people to spearhead the next stage in the company’s growth.” Among other shifts, Emily Gotto has been promoted to acquisitions executive, George Hamilton to sales coordinator and hired Hashim Alsaraf as deliveries manager.
Screening at Toronto for Protagonist are Israel Horovitz’s directorial debut My Old Lady with Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith; Peter Strickland’s drama The Duke Of Burgundy; and Debbie Tucker Green’s Second Coming with Idris Elba. Among its films currently in post are Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster with Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C Reilly, Ben Whishaw and Lea Seydoux; James Kent’s Testament Of Youth with Alicia Vikander; and Adam Smith’s Trespass Against Us with Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson. Shooting in the next six months are Rebecca Miller’s Maggie’s Plan featuring Greta Gerwig and Julianne Moore; Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship starring Sienna Miller; Andrea Arnold’s American Honey; and Brady Corbet’s directorial debut The Childhood Of A Leader with Berenice Bejo, Tim Roth and Robert Pattinson.