Sally Woodward Gentle was most recently creative director at Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films. Now striking out on her own, the exec has launched production company SID Gentle Films with financial backing from Ron Burkle‘s global investment firm The Yucaipa Companies. SID Gentle is eyeing scripted drama, TV movies and miniseries as well as indie features. The company is already in development on a Neal Purvis/Robert Wade-penned project for the BBC, and a supernatural thriller from Ben Court and Caroline Ip, also for the BBC. Former Carnival exec Henrietta Colvin is also joining SID Gentle Films as head of development. Lee Morris, who’s currently producing Da Vinci’s Demons, will come aboard as managing director in the New Year. Woodward Gentle’s producing credits include Channel 4′s BAFTA award-winning Any Human Heart, ITV drama series Whitechapel and Helena Bonham Carter drama Enid. She is also exec producing Carnival’s upcoming romancer The 7.39 starring David Morrissey, Sheridan Smith and Olivia Coleman.
EXCLUSIVE: Deborah Oppenheimer has been named to the newly created role of executive vp at Carnival Films, giving the company a dedicated full-time presence in Los Angeles, as the company expands further into the US and international markets. Oppenheimer will be responsible for launching new scripted series for Carnival and will continue to oversee its flagship series, Downton Abbey, which has sold into more than 200 territories and has been seen by 120 million viewers worldwide.
Oppenheimer will play a pivotal role in the company’s domestic and international growth strategy, reporting directly to Carnival Managing Director Gareth Neame. Over the past three years, Oppenheimer has led the Los Angeles operations for NBCU International Television Production, working across all its labels – including Carnival (Dracula), as well as Matchbox Pictures (Camp), and Lucky Giant (Family Tree). Oppenheimer also was responsible for, and exec produced, the HBO and BBC2 co-production of Family Tree from director Christopher Guest. Oppenheimer worked closely with Carnival Films, managing Downton Abbey’s success in the US, and oversaw its production of Dracula, which will air on NBC in the US.