Future Leaders 2021: sales and acquisitions executives to watch | Features

After we, like so many others, hit pause last year heading into Cannes Film Festival, as the industry and the entire world navigated the early, disruptive months of the pandemic, we also had to park one of our favourite initiatives: Future Leaders.

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Screen International’s annual focus on the rising professional talents in a key sector of the film industry has, since its launch in 2012, traditionally been published around Cannes, the time and event of the year that concentrates industry minds most intensely and brings together international delegates in their greatest numbers.

As the festival returns, so does Future Leaders, and it felt appropriate for the ninth edition to return our attention to the rising stars working in sales and acquisitions, who we last showcased back in 2017. As windows shrink and cinemas face existential challenges accelerated by the pandemic, the value of sales agents and distributors as tastemakers and curators in the independent and arthouse feature film space has never been more fundamental or necessary. Never have these sectors required brighter minds who can appraise the current landscape and find the optimal solutions.

As selected by Screen’s trusted correspondents, who have canvassed their local industries for recommendations, we present our 2021 Future Leaders. These are talented, dynamic, ambitious executives in sales and acquisitions who look at the rapidly evolving landscape not with trepidation at the challenges to face but excitement at the opportunities and a determination to make sure the best is yet to come for independent and arthouse cinema.

For full profiles of our 2021 Future Leaders, click on the profiles below

  • Sonia Abbas (Spain) – Head of distribution and sales, Begin Again Films
  • Henriette Ahrens (Denmark) – Managing director, Notsold
  • Ashley Alexander (US) – Director, development and sales, eOne
  • Viki Antonopoulou (Greece) – Founder, Endorphin Film Sales
  • Leyla Atakishieva (Russia) – Senior manager, international distribution, Central Partnership
  • Manon Barat (Spain) – Sales and marketing executive, Film Factory Entertainment
  • Eddie Bertozzi (Italy) – Acquisition and marketing, Academy Two
  • Cinthya Calderon (Germany) – Sales manager, Media Luna New Films
  • Cao Liuying (China) – Co-founder and head of international sales, Parallax Films
  • Maria Chacon Brito (UK) – Acquisitions and distribution manager, Nordic Entertainment Group
  • Tom Chesover (UK) – International sales and acquisitions manager, Cornerstone Films
  • Ismene Daskarolis (Germany) – Marketing & acquisitions, Pluto Film Distribution Network
  • Jean-Felix Dealberto (France) – International sales and co-productions manager, Charades
  • Meriame Deghedi (Egypt) – Sales and distribution manager, Mad Solutions
  • Danielle Gasher (US) – Director, international sales, Voltage Pictures
  • Samuel Hall (UK) – Vice president, European production and sales, AGC Studios
  • Jean-Benoit Henry (France) – Sales agent, Les Films du Losange
  • Shane Kelly (UK) – Vice president, international licensing and distribution, Mister Smith Entertainment
  • Sophie J Kim (South Korea) – International sales manager, K-Movie Entertainment
  • Alice Laffillé (US) – Vice president, international sales, FilmNation Entertainment
  • Krisztina Laszlo (UK) – Senior sales manager, Bankside Films
  • Peter Lee (South Korea) – Assistant manager, international business team, Contents Panda
  • Marcin Luczaj (Poland) – Head of acquisitions, New Europe Film Sales
  • Alicia & Anaïs Poirier N’Diaye (France) – Marketing, programming and acquisition agents at Les Films 26
  • Paul Ridd (UK) – Acquisitions manager, Picturehouse Entertainment
  • Paulina Taher (UK) – Sales and marketing manager, Embankment Films
  • Niklas Teng (Denmark) – Festival & traffic manager, LevelK
  • Leo Teste (UK) – Director of sales & distribution, Film Constellation
  • Joe Toto (US) – Director, productions and acquisitions, Focus Features
  • Eli Touma (UAE) – Head of marketing and acquisitions, Front Row Filmed Entertainment
  • Stella Tümmler (Germany) – Theatrical sales & production manager, Cinemien Deutschland
  • Xu Jing (China) – Festival and sales manager, Rediance

Profiles by Martin Blaney, Elisabet Cabeza, Ben Dalton, Melanie Goodfellow, Jeremy Kay, Geoffrey McNab, Wendy Mitchell, Gabriele Niola, Jean Noh, Michael Rosser, Silvia Wong

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Future Leaders 2021: sales and acquisitions executives to watch | Features