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FilmNation Entertainment CEO on Expanding Indie Banner Into TV

Glen Basner, who will receive the Industry Tribute at the 29th IFP Gotham Awards on Dec.? 2, also discusses spy film ‘355’ moving “pretty smoothly” despite a missing star, Fan Bingbing.

Eleven years after launching FilmNation Entertainment and becoming one of the most successful indie studios in the industry, Glen Basner might want to consider dropping the word “film” from the company’s name. After all, the production, financing and foreign sales outfit behind The King’s Speech, Arrival and The Big Sick, which employs 42, is moving aggressively into television (Derek Cianfrance’s limited series I Know This Much Is True), theater (The Band’s Visit, winner of 10 Tonys) and even podcasting (sci-fi series Hyper-Thetical, hosted by actress Kerry Bishé). Those projects complement a 2020 film slate that includes the Tom Hanks-led World War II drama Greyhound and the Cold War thriller Ironbark, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The 52-year-old Long Island native, who will receive the Industry Tribute at the 29th IFP Gotham Awards on Dec. 2, talked to THR about expanding his scope and why “everything moved forward pretty smoothly” on spy film 355 despite a missing star, Fan Bingbing.

What was the mindset behind your efforts to diversify?

In the past, we’d only thought about feature films, and it was limiting. There were stories that we felt excited to tell but were like, “That’s not for us because it’s not a feature film.” We saw talent migrate between all forms, and there was no reason for us to limit ourselves further.

You opened a London office and launched a U.K.-based television production company. Why is British TV so attractive?

There’s an amazing talent pool in the U.K. Legally, British broadcasters cannot own the idea of the content, and so British production companies are able to get commissions in the U.K. and end up owning

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