In a major shake-up at the top of the UK industry, respected veteran Film4 head Tessa Ross is leaving her post to become Chief Executive of the National Theatre. Ross, whose most recent official title is Controller of Channel 4 Film and Drama, has headed up Film4, the feature division of the network, for more than a decade. She is considered one of the most powerful executives in the UK business and so integral to it that she is sometimes referred to as the “Mother of British filmmaking.” Film4 is one of the biggest supporters of the UK industry and under Ross has developed and financed such Oscar winners as 12 Years A Slave, Slumdog Millionaire and The Last King Of Scotland.
Commenting on her departure, Channel 4 CEO David Abraham said, “Tessa’s job is one of the most coveted in film, both in the UK and internationally, and while she leaves big shoes to fill, we will shortly begin the task of identifying a new leader for the next chapter of Film4’s story. Meanwhile our commitment to investing in independent British film remains undimmed and we have every intention of building on the extraordinary reputation Tessa has created.” A peek at Film4′s credits is a who’s who of independent filmmaking talent. The upcoming slate includes Richard Ayoade’s The Double, Yann Demange’s ‘71, Daniel Wolfe’s Catch Me Daddy, Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner, Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank, Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette, and Todd Haynes’ Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. The company’s previous credits have included Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, Bart Layton’s The Imposter, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, Chris Morris’ Four Lions, Leigh’s Another Year, Ayoade’s Submarine, Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur, McQueen’s Hunger and Shame, and Meryl Streep-starrer The Iron Lady; all under Ross.
She will remain at Film4 until September, and will stay on as Chair of the Growth Fund Advisory Council once in her new role. She will join the National in November, working alongside current artistic director Nicholas Hytner. She will formally become CEO, sharing the leadership of the National with Rufus Norris, when he becomes artistic director in April 2015.