EXCLUSIVE: UTA has signed almost a dozen senior production figures to its Production Arts division in the wake of the Oscar telecast snub to several major categories, including those who’ve worked on Dune, You and Bombshell.
The likes of Oscar-winning Dune VFX supervisor duo Brian Conner and Tristan Myles have been snapped up in the past few weeks alongside Bombshell hair designer Anne Morgan, Kings Man producer David Reid and Pennyworth/You exec producer Matthew Patnick.
UTA clients won four Oscars this year including The Eyes of Tammy Faye’s Justin Raleigh for Makeup and Hairstyling, Dune’s Greig Fraser for Best Cinematography and the same film’s Patrice Vermette for Achievement in Production Design. Many were influenced by UTA-repped Paul Lambert, the Oscar-winning Dune visual effects supervisor, to join UTA, according to the agency.
Speaking exclusively to Deadline, UTA Head of Production Pete Franciosa, who oversees the L.A. and London teams, said the agency has been “talking to the community” since the controversy around several categories being removed from the Oscars telecast.
“It’s tough to not be involved in the big part of the show so we want to celebrate these amazing artists,” he added.
Other new signings include Halo VFX supervisor Dominic Remane, Lord of the Rings’ Toby Wolters, Time Bandits’ James Ledwell, The Hobbit producer Zane Weiner and See duo Parker Chehak and Chris Wright.
The London branch of the UTA Production Arts team has been open for more than three years, signing up almost 300 clients and upping its number of agents per year by 50% including recently-hired Commercial Agent Polly Hartley.
Franciosa is lead point person and wanted to push into the UK as tax credit incentives led to a huge boom in TV and film production, which last year saw spend of almost £6BN ($7.5BN) as the UK emerged from the pandemic in a big way.
“The UK has become hugely important to our business,” he said. “This nation provides such a monetary draw to projects that have significant budgets. Our rise in growth has been very much along the lines of where the UK and European production space has grown.”
The UK tax credit incentive offers up to 25% of a film or show’s budget to projects that shoot at more than £1m ($1.25M) per hour.
Franciosa said UTA’s London operation has helped “modernize dealmaking” across the UK and Europe, bringing “more of a U.S. take” on deals to the local production arts sector.
“Fees were traditionally lower over here so we have looked to align them with what artists are being paid in the U.S. An artist producing an amazing film should be compensated worldwide at the same rate.”
He said UTA is unique in the way it has attacked the UK and European market and will continue investing in agents and clients “to be creative and magical.”
“I don’t think the UK has been caught on to in the way it has for us. We didn’t just want some British and European clients, we wanted amazing talent on the ground, overseeing a burgeoning business.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.