Female entertainment executives have been slaying the industry. Here are the top 10 female producers
The most powerful women in the entertainment global film and television industry had already been working diligently toward that goal. The #MeToo movement has caused seismic changes in the entertainment industry, and female producers, studio executives, and channel heads see this as a historic opportunity to strive for true inclusion and diversity. The most powerful female entertainment executives in the world are unified in their desire to keep fighting for fundamental improvements in the industry and to empower younger women.
1. Mo Abudu, Founder, EbonyLife Media (Nigeria)
Nigerian producer and television pioneer Abudu made history in 2020 when her pan-African entertainment banner EbonyLife Media signed a multi-title deal with Netflix, making it the first African production company to enter into such an agreement with the global streamer. Earlier this year, Sony Pictures Television’s international production division extended its exclusive deal with EbonyLife, giving the studio first pick of the scripted television projects intended for global audiences that have been created, originated, or developed by Abudu’s company.
2. Rola Bauer, President, International Television Productions at MGM (Germany)
Bauer, a trailblazing, two-time Emmy-nominated international producer, moved on to the next challenge when French company StudioCanal exercised its option to purchase full ownership of Bauer’s Munich-based Tandem Productions banner in 2020. Self-described “news junkie,” Bauer looks to the larger world to inform the initiatives her team does for a worldwide audience.
3. Valerie Creighton, President, and CEO, Canada Media Fund (Canada)
Creighton had a crucial role in ensuring that the roughly 1,500 local productions the fund support continued to operate during the COVID-19 blackout as the chairman of the largest financier of Canadian television. Creighton, a 30-year industry veteran, has played a key role in advancing gender parity.
4. Christa Dickenson, Executive Director, and CEO, Telefilm Canada (Canada)
Dickenson, the CEO of prominent indie film financier Telefilm, has been wearing her hair short for the past 20 years to “give me an edge” and be taken more seriously in the male-dominated Canadian entertainment industry. Dickenson has switched the emphasis of the government funding organization Telefilm to supporting films from underrepresented filmmakers in an effort to improve Telefilm’s reputation and influence, which invests about $100 million in Canadian film each year.
5. Jane Featherstone, Founder, Sister (U.K.)
Sister has quickly become one of the most successful, intriguing, and award-winning TV production firms in the industry. It was relaunched as Sister in 2019 with the addition of the formidable team of Stacey Snider and Elisabeth Murdoch to the top executive team. Sister was originally founded as Sister Pictures by Featherstone following a protracted stint at British independent Kudos and its owner Shine.
6. Teresa Fernández-Valdés, Co-founder, Bambú Producciones (Spain)
Fernández-Valdés has been at the vanguard of the global television revolution as co-founder and co-president, together with business partner Ramón Campos, of the successful Spanish production company Bamb. Grand Hotel (2010–2013) and Velvet (2013–2016), two historical melodramas by Bamb, were among the first international non-English language television series to gain popularity.
7. Cécile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, Sky Studios (U.K.)
Frot-Coutaz, a veteran of the French sector, made headlines in May when Comcast’s Sky production unit named her CEO. She claims that in terms of diversity and equality, COVID has made it possible for people to fully perceive our coworkers as individuals with their own unique issues, implying that in some ways.
8. Rose Garnett, Director, BBC Film (U.K.)
The BBC’s film division, a significant supporter of independent film in the UK. After coming on board in 2017 from Film4, where she supported films like American Honey and Room, she helped rebuild nearly the entire creative team under the leadership of commission executive Eva Yates and head of development Claudia Yusef. She then assisted in overseeing a slate of audacious and diverse films.
9. Jay Hunt, Creative Director, Worldwide Video, Europe for Apple (U.K.)
Hunt, a highly regarded TV executive who oversaw a spike in profitable commissions at the British network Channel 4, seemed to disappear after being lured by Apple in 2017 to take over European commissioning. Hunt’s expertise, particularly with talent, is beginning to stand out, now that Apple TV+ is generating some buzz.
10. Christina Jennings, Chairman, and CEO, Shaftesbury (Canada)
AMC Networks recognized the success of Shaftesbury, which Jennings formed in 1987, and invested in the business earlier this year through a production relationship that will see Jennings’ production company create programming for the network.