Kosse is joining Netflix as VP of International Film and will be leading a team out of the streaming giant’s London offices. He begins next month and will report to Netflix’s film chief Scott Stuber with whom he previously worked at Universal.
In recent months speculation has been rife in industry circles that Kosse could be joining the service. His hire represents yet another statement of intent by Netflix and is a blow to STX’s overseas ambitions.
In the newly created position, Kosse will oversee all of international film production and acquisitions at Netflix with a focus on making and acquiring significant non-English language films with worldwide appeal. He will also work on UK-originated English-language movies (“There are several high profile UK movies in the works,” he tells us) and he will have resource to further grow Netflix’s expanding overseas ranks.
The service has around 300 staff in the European HQ in Amsterdam, another 70+ in London and a new office and production studio is opening in Madrid. The Paris office is launching this year and German and Italian bases could be next. There are also around 300 staff in Singapore and offices in Japan and Mumbai, among other international outposts.
While foreign language series such as Money Heist from Spain and Dark from Germany have boosted Netflix’s foreign-language TV footprint, Kosse’s hire is about generating more globally successful movies such as triple Oscar winner Roma, the company’s most high profile foreign film to date.
Kosse told us, “We want to make significant movies which will have a big impact in major markets such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain but which can also travel to our subscribers around the world. Movies such as Roma and Intouchables. The focus right now for this division is to establish the foreign language movies in the same way Netflix has established series that have travelled.”
Netflix is also making other moves in its international film division. In an expanded role, Funa Maduka, Director of International Film and Acquisitions, will manage a growing slate of projects across development and production, while continuing to acquire non-English language films. During her tenure at Netflix, Maduka has picked up acclaimed foreign language movies including Oscar nominee On Body And Soul, Cannes hit Divines and Spirit Awards nominee Happy As Lazzaro. Maduka will be relocating from LA to London.
Meanwhile, Teresa Moneo is joining the company in London as Director of International Film. She joins from Ola Films, where she has been developing film and TV projects. She was a longtime executive at Focus Features, where she oversaw production of a slate of projects from the UK, as well as a consultant for Pathe Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox.
Stuber, head of Netflix’s film group, said of the changes, “David has spent his career launching and building international film divisions. With the majority of our audience outside the U.S., it’s the right time for us to be building our international film presence. Having worked with David for years at Universal, I know there’s no one better suited for this role. David will be joined by Funa Maduka, whose eye for foreign cinema has contributed greatly to our celebrated international slate, and Teresa Moneo, who has an incredible acquisition and production track record and will be a great addition to Netflix. I’m incredibly excited to see what this team will do.”
Kosse added, “By making international content available globally on such a large scale, Netflix is shattering cultural boundaries in a way no other company has. And, what a team to do it with – I’m thrilled to work with Scott again and to work with the incredible team he has assembled. Together, we will continue the momentum, uncover more amazing international and emerging storytellers, and inspire new conversations around the world.”
Kosse’s exit from STX has prompted speculation over the future of the mini-studio’s international operation. He isn’t the only senior international executive who was been rumoured to be leaving. There’s no word yet from the company on how it will restructure the overseas team following Kosse’s departure. Many were unaware of today’s announcement.
Kosse joined STX in 2016 establishing the company’s distribution operations in the UK and setting up a string of key output deals abroad. At the recent EFM in Berlin STXinternational was shopping movies including Gerard Butler starrer Greenland, Jennifer Lopez pic Hustlers and Dakota Johnson drama The Friend, all of which were in demand. But like many, the distributor has found UK releasing tough sledding: last year the company didn’t have a film in the UK’s top 50. The studio got its first stateside number one this year in the shape of Kevin Hart starrer The Upside and that film took $2M in the UK.
The ambitious STX, which remains a vitally active film distributor, abandoned plans for a Hong Kong IPO late last year. The deep-pocketed outfit tasted disappointment early on when it thought it had acquired Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman for international distribution but ultimately lost it to Netflix (STX has co-retained China rights). Ironically, Kosse will now be reacquainted with Scorsese’s highly anticipated film at the online titan.
Prior to STX, Kosse led the UK’s Film4, whose slate during his tenure included The Favourite, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Ex Machina and Fighting With My Family. At the film arm of UK broadcaster Channel4, Kosse pushed through an increase in budget and introduced a new commercial strategy which saw Film4 grow its risk and revenue share in projects.
Prior to Film4, Kosse spent a decade at Universal, latterly as president of international, driving the significant overseas success of movies such as Les Miserables, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Mamma Mia! and Mama.