FilmNation CEO Glen Basner comes to Toronto with several films in the festival, a crowded slate of percolating pictures, and a new co-president of Production & Acquisitions to help handle that volume. FilmNation has hired indie film finance fixture Ben Browning to take that newly created position, relocating to LA to join co-president Aaron Ryder. This comes as Basner’s projects continue to get more ambitious. They include The Good House, which will reunite Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro, the Tate Taylor-directed In The Event Of A Moon Disaster, and the Denis Villeneuve-directed Amy Adams-starrer Story Of Your Life, the film that sold for a precedent setting $20 million in Cannes.
After sealing $50 million in additional capital with an equity-backed, revolving multi-bank credit facility with Bank Of America Merrill Lynch and Union Bank, FilmNation’s scope has expanded. In Toronto here, they’re selling the Noah Baumbach-directed While We’re Young with Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver and the Chris Rock comedy Top Five. The company also sold the Morten Tyldum-directed The Imitation Game.
“We have successfully collaborated with Ben in the past, and I know that his joining our team will be key in continuing to propel FilmNation forward,” Basner said. “Aaron’s and Ben’s talent combined is a real force for us as our slate and resources grow. Said Ryder: “Given the amount of films we are working on, we felt this is the perfect time to combine the acquisitions and production departments and grow the company overall. Ben’s experience will undoubtedly multiply the amount of films we take on to sell, finance and produce.”
Browning most recently served as president of Start Motion Pictures, and before that co-founded Wayfare Entertainment. Films he developed and funded include the 3D James Cameron-produced Sanctum, the Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck-directed It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, and the Neil Jordan-directed Ondine.
“I have a longstanding respect for FilmNation and have watched the company flourish over the past six years. Having previously collaborated with Glen and having seen how Aaron has established an assembly of remarkable projects, I have no doubt that this is an ideal environment for me to help take the company to the next level,” said Browning, a graduate of the London School of Economics.