Chris Cowey and Eugene O’Connor have joined production company 1185, as it also expands its central London post house.
Chris Cowey, known for producing Top of the Pops, Glastonbury and The Brit Awards, heads up TV entertainment, while Eugene O’Connor (director of Irish TV comedy series Killinaskully and DoP of Father Ted) brings six part comedy drama series Crazy Notions and his Irish comedy feature film Ziggyto pitch through 1185 Films at Cannes.
Rising young documentary director Alex Webster has also joined to develop 1185’s factual output.
The trio will work alongside 1185 Films founder, CEO and executive producer Nick Franco, who is acting as interim Head of Drama, while actively seeking another prominent industry veteran to complete 1185’s team.
The indie’s slate – from LGBT comedy-dramas to myth-busting mockumentaries, is building on the recent landmark of its horror film All You Need is Death (directed by Paul Duane), which is being picked up by distributor XYZ and also selected as part of the Stiges Film Festival as well as other festival lineups.
“Mipcom is about consolidating our position and reaffirming our existing relationships,” Nick Franco explains. “We have a few projects in particular that we feel we could find a home for and we’re looking forward to exploring new opportunities and partnerships with the outstanding slate we have put together.”
1185 is also expanding its central London post-production facility and cutting rooms to include online finishing and sound, after hosting top ITV dramas Grace, The Bay and Maryland. The team are looking for talent and new partners. Recent projects for the company include Miss The Kiss (Fugitive Films) and Music Is My Life (Speak Up Films).
Chris Cowey has produced and directed some of the world’s most groundbreaking and successful music shows. After working as a producer on pioneering live TV show The Tube for Channel 4 in the 80s, he went on to produce The Brit Awards (ITV), Glastonbury (C4, BBC 1 & 2) and The White Room (Channel 4) before taking over the BBC’s iconic Top of the Pops in 1997. He was responsible for transforming the programme into an internationally renowned brand. While the show’s Executive Producer, Director and Brand Director, viewing figures doubled to over five million and it was rolled out internationally to 126 countries.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with a talented bunch of people from all sorts of different disciplines because I like to make surprising and exciting media projects happen,” Cowey said. “There’s nothing more important than the flow of ideas coming from a talented team.”
Eugene O’Connor is a writer, director and cinematographer best-known for being director of photography for Channel 4’s Father Ted and The Beatles Anthology, plus directing four seasons of acclaimed Irish comedy-drama Killinaskully. He has also shot music videos, concerts and documentaries for global artists like Coldplay, Sting, Paul McCartney, Metallica, Andre Bocelli, Madonna and Lady Gaga.
“As well as writing my own comedy projects, we are working on a number of other comedy ideas and scripts, and looking to hear from new and not-so-new writers to hopefully give them a platform to get their scripts produced,” Eugene said.
Alex Webster has been making TV documentaries for various platforms since 2014, including the BBC, Channel 4 and Vice. He cut his teeth as an assistant producer on C4’s Dispatches, as well as for Louis Theroux and Leo Maguire, before earning his directing chops with 2016 documentary Young and Sterile: My Choice for BBC3 . He has since directed documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4, including My Life: The Greatest Circus in Palestine for CBBC and Sketch’s Prison Ink for All 4. Before filmmaking, he worked in journalism and foreign policy, with a particular focus on Arabic and Islamic politics.
“I’m incredibly excited to be part of this new creative force at 1185,” Webster said. “It’s the perfect place to pursue my passion for the documentary art form. I’m consistently impressed by 1185’s collaborative ethos and the team’s absolute faith in both emerging and established talent.”
Nick Franco is an award-winning executive producer, director and colourist with a successful 20-year track record of creating, directing, editing and producing for film, TV and advertising. He’s worked with the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, directors like Joanna Hogg and Paul Duane, global brands including Gucci, Nestle and Diageo, as well as iconoclastic talents like Bob Geldof, Zak Starkey, Stephen Hawking and the artists formerly known as the KLF.
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