Philippa Kowarsky is to join the BBC as Commissioning Editor of Storyville.

Her focus will be identifying and co-producing documentary feature films from around the world, “bringing unique stories and perspectives to diverse audiences across the BBC’s platforms.” She will report to Rose Garnett, Director of BBC Film.

Alongside Kowarsky’s appointment, Jo Lapping is to take on an enhanced role as Head of Factual Acquisitions, reporting to Sue Deeks, Head of Programme Acquisition. Lapping will acquire both documentary films and factual programming for the BBC, working closely alongside Philippa Kowarsky at Storyville to expand the range of feature documentaries available to audiences across BBC channels and BBC iPlayer.

Kowarsky joins the BBC from Cinephil, the international sales and advisory firm which she founded in 1997 and where she is currently Managing Director.

At Cinephil Kowarsky has represented and overseen a diverse slate of films including Joshua Oppenheimer and Christine Cynn’s Academy award-nominated and BAFTA award-winning THE ACT OF KILLING and Alexander Nanau’s Academy and BAFTA award-nominated COLLECTIVE.

Kowarsky is also an acclaimed documentary producer with credits including Dror Moreh’s Academy award-nominated THE GATEKEEPERS, Andre Singer’s powerful Peabody and Emmy award-winning NIGHT WILL FALL, and most recently Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s FLEE which won the prestigious Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and was in the Official Selection of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival.

Philippa Kowarsky said: “I am thrilled to be joining the glorious Storyville on the BBC. Crossing over from Cinephil, my company of over twenty years – and from sales, distribution and production – to commissioning is a thrilling prospect. As a firm believer in public service television and its role in democracies, I’m proud to be working for the BBC. I’m looking forward to merging my love of great storytelling with Storyville’s and to upholding its commitment to reach and include audiences all over the UK. It is an honour to follow this incredible legacy and continue the quest to find, nurture and support the best documentaries from around the globe. I’m excited to get going!”

Rose Garnett said: “Philippa’s extraordinary experience and formidable reputation as a champion for bold, original stories and filmmakers make this a truly exciting appointment. We can’t wait to see where she takes Storyville next.”


Jon Creamer

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