EXCLUSIVE: Former Focus Features President Robert Walak and veteran producer Alisa Tager have joined the executive team at Anonymous Content as Presidents of AC Studios. In their new roles, the duo will oversee development and production on projects across film, television, documentaries, doc series and podcasts.
AC Studios is the premium independent film and TV production studio that sits inside Anonymous Content. Recent projects include the Peabody Award winning series Dickinson and the George Clooney-directed limited series Catch-22; as well as Paradise Lost and Home Before Dark, which just wrapped filming on its second season; Defending Jacob starring Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery; and the upcoming film Swan Song, with Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Awkwafina and Glenn Close.
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We understand there are further significant projects to come, with both in- and out-of-house talent and with industry tastemakers Walak and Tager eager to get going in nimble fashion.
In their new posts, the pair will oversee a team of executives including Whitney Dibo, Vice President of Film and TV; Kevin Cotter, Vice President of Film and TV; Jessica Grimshaw, who joined the company this month from UCP and will serve as Senior Vice President of Film and TV, with a specialty in non-scripted, documentaries and podcasts; and Laurie Ross, Vice President of Development.
The AC Studios group will report directly into Walak and Tager who will in turn report to Anonymous Content’s Chief Creative Officer, David Levine.
Anonymous Content CEO Dawn Olmstead said today, “Film and television have never been more interconnected, from where and how viewers are consuming content, to the ways in which creators are finding inspiration and developing projects with the freedom to explore. As we continue to build AC Studios and create projects that speak to both this moment and the future of content, Robert and Alisa’s impeccable track records combined with their passion for great storytelling and forward-thinking approach to content make them the perfect pair to lead the team in meaningful and disruptive ways.”
Walak is an industry veteran who joined Focus in 2016 after arriving at Universal as Co-Managing Director of UPIP in 2015. During his Focus tenure, the studio’s films garnered 28 Academy Award nominations on titles such as Loving, Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, BlacKkKlansman and Harriet. He was pivotal in championing Downton Abbey’s move to the big screen where it became the highest grossing film in Focus history with more than $192M worldwide. He also shepherded the upcoming Edgar Wright psychological horror, Last Night In Soho.
As Deadline exclusively reported last summer, Walak stepped down from his post at Focus and took an advisory role with the Universal specialty label; that came to a close in March this year. Prior to Focus, Walak’s roles included Managing Director Europe/President Production, Acquisitions and Television at The Weinstein Company where he acquired and worked on titles such as Carol, Macbeth, Paddington, The Imitation Game and Lion, and executive produced the epic miniseries War And Peace and feature Woman In Gold. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Production at Alliance Films/Momentum Pictures shepherding projects such as The King’s Speech, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the Twilight franchise and Steve McQueen’s Shame, which he executive produced. Earlier in his career, Walak worked in business development at Endemol and was a producer at MTV Europe.
Tager’s producing credits notably include Arthur Newman with Colin Firth and Emily Blunt; Guillermo Arriaga’s directorial debut, Burning Plain; Joss Whedon’s feature debut, Serenity; and Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Enemy At The Gates and Seven Years In Tibet. She most recently worked at Los Angeles Media Fund where she developed and produced projects for film and television. Her productions there included Summertime, directed by Carlos López Estrada; and Shirley, directed by Josephine Decker and starring Elisabeth Moss. Both films premiered at Sundance in 2020. Previously, Tager worked with Samsung to produce virtual reality short films. In 2012, she produced and shot the footage for Jay-Z’s concert series at Barclay’s Center. Collider, her comic book imprint at Image with Marc Guggenheim, has two titles in circulation: Halcyon and The Mission. She has also produced a diverse range of projects in theater, music, art and video around the world.
Tager commented, “I have always loved having my hand in different initiatives and projects across the media landscape. I am beyond excited to join the team at Anonymous, a company that has inspired me for many years, as they have continuously been at the forefront of entertainment, pushing boundaries with incredible creators. As we begin to see entertainers and creators truly blur the lines of what content means, I look forward to building upon the legacy for which Anonymous is known.”
For Walak, “Anonymous Content is such a powerhouse in entertainment, consistently working with both the greatest creatives in the industry as well as finding and honing the next generation of talented voices to create some of the most innovative and impactful films and TV. I am thrilled to be part of the team and look forward to continuing their remarkable legacy developing and making groundbreaking projects.”
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