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Anton launches TV production arm led by Sangeeta Desai and Sarah Doole

Sangeeta Desai (left) and Sarah Doole

London-headquartered scripted producer and financier Anton is expanding its operations in the television space with the launch of a dedicated TV production arm led by former Fremantle execs Sangeeta Desai and Sarah Doole.

The company, which has produced and financed movie titles such as Paddington and Shaun the Sheep, and TV projects including The Pursuit of Love, His Dark Materials and Gentleman Jack, said it wants to “replicate [its] success as a disruptor in the film space by creating a boutique, independent TV studio, delivering premium talent-driven content to global audiences.”

One of the goals of the new television arm is to attract creatives to launch “diverse and ambitious” scripted labels across Europe.

The company, which has offices in London, LA, Paris and Berlin, said it will also look to sign direct and first-look deals with established on- and off-screen talent.

While Anton has been involved in the TV space for several years, this represents the first time that it has looked to build out its own division dedicated to television. Previously, in 2020, Anton set up a joint venture with former BBC Studios executive Tobi de Graaff to develop, package and finance high-end television, and in 2019 it invested €35m (US$39m) in French firm Newen’s slate of drama, documentary and animated projects.

Desai, whose former roles include CEO of Dubai-based OSN and chief operating officer and CEO of emerging markets for Fremantle, will lead the new TV arm, overseeing the overall strategy, operations and business development. Desai also sits on Anton’s board and was previously on the board of Canada’s Boat Rocker.

Doole, who was most recently the CEO of talent incubator Sow the Seed, will serve as creative director for Anton’s TV arm, overseeing its content plans. She was previously CEO of Red Productions and director of global drama at Fremantle.

Desai and Doole will be supported by Anton’s current VP of production and development, Jack Buckley, who has been promoted to head of development, and development assistant Millie Laubscher.

Since it was founded in 2008, Anton has produced and/or financed more than 400 titles. Its upcoming films include revenge thriller Femme, starring George MacKay and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, set to make its world premiere at Berlin Film Festival next month.

It also developed, produced and financed Mothers’ Instinct starring Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway and The End We Start From starring Jodie Comer and Benedict Cumberbatch, with both set to debut at film festivals later in the year.

The company said 2023 will see a “significant increase” in the number of projects it develops, produces and finances.

Speaking about the appointments of Desai and Doole, Anton founder and CEO Sebastien Raybaud said: “Their expertise, experience and enthusiasm will be invaluable. This move marks an important milestone in the development of the company.”

Desai added: “Anton has quickly gained a reputation for shaking up the way feature films are financed and produced, and I’m excited to explore how we can take advantage of Anton’s agility and flexibility to offer some of Europe’s best creatives the chance to realise their ambitions.”

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