Talent10 Names Global Film Leader Simon Swart CEO of Nthibah Pictures
Donovan Marsh's 'iamAllGirls' Based on a True Story about Human Trafficking Premiering Fall, 2019
By: Nthibah Pictures
Swart has diverse experience in all areas of film production and distribution by virtue of his 30+ years as a leading studio executive at Warner Brothers, The Walt Disney Studios and most recently 20th Century Fox. Swart left Fox to focus on producing with his film credits including 6 Below and the most profitable Indie release of 2018 I Can Only Imagine($83 million box-office) among others. He brings with him a variety of global strategic partnerships in multi-window distribution.
In addition to launching worldwide franchises, he championed and created new distribution markets as the market shifted to new formats (DVD, digital) and seized the opportunity to create a service organization offering distribution services to competitive smaller studios. This third-party distribution model started with Artisan/Lionsgate and grew to include MGM, Relativity, DreamWorks and Miramax, generating substantial fees and greater efficiency.
Nthibah Pictures is creating a streamlined end-to-end solution for independent films with a combination of investments in development (initially funding 2-3 films slated for 2019-2020 at five to fifteen million US dollars each), production, marketing and distribution. In keeping with Talent10's mission, Nthibah will bring to life powerful stories that address important social issues like director Donovan Marsh's iamAllGirls, which focuses on the international issue of human trafficking. Nthibah Pictures also has two other films currently in development - Alone and The First King - and is on the brink of green-lighting a number of new exciting properties.
Wayne Fitzjohn, Chairman of Nthibah Pictures and CEO of Talent10 says, "With our diverse portfolio, building on our success in the tech sector, we see a huge opportunity in the media space but we realized that the key to success was understanding and managing US distribution. Simon brings that experience with him. South Africa has a well-developed film production industry that has delivered award-winning work for decades. We firmly believe that we can become a significant player by meaningfully contributing and partnering with many of the recognized global leaders. Simon's appointment speaks to this strategy."
Swart notes "With a commitment to constant innovation at every stage, Talent10and Nthibah Pictures will bring commercial, powerful, independent movies to the marketplace with an evolved distribution structure. This will enable us to better manage risk and position ourselves for disproportionate returns while exploiting the disruption that is occurring across the marketplace. Nthibah Pictures has an incredible opportunity to develop impactful, creative voices from the US, South Africa, as well as countries outside the main film hubs. Thanks to the vision of Talent10, I am confident we can achieve that."
Currently in post-production, iamAllGirls is a fictional crime thriller based on actual events that unfolded in South Africa in the 1980's and centers around a notorious human trafficking ring that involved, amongst others, powerful politicians. Already testing well in U.S. markets, it stars Hlubi Mboya (SAFTA Best Supporting Actress winner, Dora's Peace) and Erica Wessels (Cannes premiered Die Stropers) and is directed by Donovan Marsh, whose latest project Hunter Killer starring Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman grossed $29 million. Building upon the film's themes, Nthibah Pictures is in advanced talks with international anti-human trafficking organizations to develop a social action awareness campaign tied to the release.
During his time at the major studios, Swart oversaw the release of hundreds of properties, including the exploitation of entire studio libraries, developing an intuitive and pragmatic understanding of what audiences wanted and what was working in the marketplace as it continued to change. At Fox he served as EVP and General Manager of North American Distribution, responsible for more than $3B in annual revenue, managing marketing and distribution of major franchises including Avatar, Stars Wars, Planet of the Apes, The X-Men, James Bond and Ice Age,as well as break-out and highly profitable independent titles Juno, Napoleon Dynamite, Black Swanand TheFault in our Stars. In 2002, Swart launched Fox Faith - the first major studio label dedicated to servicing the then underserved faith-based audience. He selected and secured rights to multiple successful properties such as Passion of the Christ, Strawberry Shortcake, Love Comes Softly, Ultimate Gift, andThe Bible which contributed to over $700m in revenue.
Talent10 was co-founded in 2012 by Sipho Nkosi, Chairman of Sasol and former CEO of mining giant Exxaro, CEO Wayne Fitzjohn and a small group of like-minded investors that include Mxolisi Mgojo, current CEO of Exxaro, with the specific aim of investing in disruptive opportunities from within South Africa that bring global solutions. It is this pioneering approach that saw Talent10 as funders and co-founders of breakthrough internet edge technology company IoT.nxt realize swift growth and set it on its way to becoming the next big thing in IoT. Talent10's belief and strategy was confirmed with Vodafone Group having just announced a 51% acquisition of the Internet of Things software start-up. These entrepreneurial perennials from Talent10 are taking the same approach to filmmaking and positioning Nthibah Pictures to be an innovator in the independent film space.
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