Jim Meenaghan Named Co-Head of UTA Independent Film Group

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United Talent Agency has named Jim Meenaghan the co-head of its independent film group.

The executive joins longtime group leader Rena Ronson in the department, a packaging and finance machine that reports to the agency’s David Kramer.

“The partnership of Jim and Rena will be a powerful combination for our clients working in the independent market,” Kramer said in a statement.

Meenaghan comes over from the motion picture business affairs group, which he’ll still oversee. In his new role, he’ll advise on content financing structures and distribution deals.

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He’ll also work with Asian markets and is tasked with expanding UTA’s footprint in independent animation (a big seller in international markets of late, like the Michael Jackson chimp stop-motion film “Bubbles,” which sold for $20 million at Cannes two years ago). The group is also a key player on the festival and awards circuit.

“I’m really happy to take on this new role and work closely with Rena and the fantastic team she has built to further expand the focus of the Independent Film Group,” Meenaghan said.

Meenaghan worked with Tang Media Partners on the formation of Global Road Studios, more recently with Australian production company Grace, and with animation studio 3QU Media. Prior to UTA, he served as head of motion picture business affairs for independent studios Walden Media and Icon Films. He started his career at Walt Disney.

During her tenure as head of UTA Independent Film Ronson has doubled the size of the department. Recent high-profile independently financed films, productions and co-productions from UTA include: “The Big Sick,” “I, Tonya,” “I Feel Pretty,” “Lady Bird,” “Hidden Figures,” “Call Me by Your Name,” and “Room.”

Last year, six films the UTA packaged earned 12 Academy Awards and three wins — including Bryan Fogel’s documentary “Icarus.”

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STX Wins Amy Schumer’s ‘I Feel Pretty’ for US Distribution

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

STX is sitting pretty now that they’re in business with Amy Schumer.

The young mini-major acquired domestic distribution rights to the comedy out of Cannes. The title was repped by UTA Independent Film Group lead Rena Ronson. The package will begin shooting this July in Boston.

Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, screenwriters of films like “Never Been Kissed” and “How to Be Single,” make their directorial debut here.

Also Read: Sam Claflin to Replace Miles Teller in STX Thriller ‘Adrift’ (Exclusive)

The announcement, made by STXFilms Chiarman Adam Fogelson and production head Sam Brown, also disclosed the project’s logline for the first time. Admittedly, it sounds awesome:

In the comedy, an ordinary woman who struggles with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy on a daily basis wakes from a fall believing she is suddenly the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. With this newfound confidence she is empowered to live her life fearlessly and flawlessly, but what will happen when she realizes her appearance never changed?

Wonderland Sound and Vision’s McG and Mary Viola will produce with Voltage Pictures’ Alissa Phillips, Dominic Rustam and Nicolas Chartier. Schumer is also a producer. Schumer collaborator Kevin Kane will co-produce.  Jonathan Deckter will executive produce for Voltage.

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“Amy is a spectacularly talented comedienne and actress and this story could not be more perfectly suited to her incisive observational skills and humor,” Fogelson said.

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How Agencies Became So Vital To The Indie Film Ecosystem — Deadline Disruptors

Read on: Deadline.

When the major talent agencies—CAA, WMA & Endeavor (now WME) and UTA—started indie film departments, the idea was to help big clients get their passion—some called them vanity—projects made. That seems like a million years ago. These departments have become such prolific generators that they have become the life blood of independent films, especially the mid-budget segment of films for grown-ups that studios orphaned as they covet global tent poles and micro-budget genre…