(Updated) Soldinger departs Firecracker in management shuffle

As Firecracker Films restructures its senior management team, founder and CEO Mark Soldinger (pictured) is leaving the UK indie to pursue a new venture.
December 10, 2014

Updated: Mark Soldinger has provided realscreen with a statement.

“After 12 years of leading Firecracker, and seeing it go from a tiny two-man operation to the medium-sized powerhouse it is today with a strong U.S. and UK presence, I felt it was the right time to move on and pursue new and exciting opportunities,” he said. “My earn-out period with [parent company] Tinopolis ended in April and that combined with the fact I’m about to become a dad made me think it was the perfect time to have a well deserved break, focus on fatherhood and concentrate on my next big venture.”

He added that he will continue to work in TV but with a focus on long-form unscripted specials in addition to series.

December 12 original story: Firecracker Films founder and CEO Mark Soldinger (pictured) is leaving the UK indie amid a senior management team restructure.

Soldinger, who moved from London to Los Angeles in 2009 to open the its first U.S. office, plans to pursue an unnamed new venture.

Sue Oriel, formerly Firecracker’s managing director, will replace him as CEO. In an email, she said the changes are designed to help manage both the company and its growing U.S. slate, which includes the fourth season of TLC’s Gypsy Sisters, Sinister Ministers for Investigation Discovery, Targeted Individuals for Discovery Channel, and projects for Lifetime, MTV and Fox.

In London, former head of programs Jes Wilkins has been promoted to chief creative officer and will oversee both UK and U.S. output.

Meanwhile, Mike Warner has been promoted to senior executive producer for the U.S. and former Sharp Entertainment exec Amelia Pulsford has joined as senior development producer for the U.S.

The shuffle follows the hiring of David DeHaney as UK director of factual and Mark Rossiter as UK head of development as well as the promotion of Alice Sharpe to senior VP of U.S. development.

Firecracker is best known in the U.S. as the producer of the TLC series My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, which debuted in 2012 and is a spin-off of the Channel 4 show Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. The series subsequently lead to another reality spin-off for TLC, Gypsy Sisters.

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.