People/Biz

John Battsek, Prettybird team launch multi-platform prodco Ventureland

Passion Pictures co-founder John Battsek is departing from the company after 20 years to launch the multi-platform film and television company Ventureland with producers Kerstin Emhoff, Ali Brown and director Paul Hunter. The company, ...
January 21, 2020

Passion Pictures co-founder John Battsek is departing from the company after 20 years to launch the multi-platform film and television company Ventureland with producers Kerstin Emhoff, Ali Brown and director Paul Hunter.

The company, headquartered in Los Angeles with a team in the UK, is expected to produce a range of content across the documentary and scripted spaces.

Ventureland was created out of a “desire to have a truly agnostic approach to entertainment,” the company stated in a release, and “to bring original IP and breakthrough concepts to life.”

The creative studio plans to bring together “the best minds” from across all genres, including traditional entertainment, branded content, technology, music.

Battsek (pictured) — the producer behind the Academy Award-winning documentaries One Day in September (1999) and Searching For Sugar Man (2012) — and Emhoff have together produced projects such as Manhunt: The Inside Story of the Hunt for Bin Laden, The Tillman Story, The Final Year, Sergio and Legion of Brothers.

Since co-founding Passion Pictures in 1999 with Andrew Ruhemann, Battsek has produced documentaries such as Restrepo, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, Listen to Me Marlon, The Imposter, Hillsborough and Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars.

“Over the past decade of collaboration I have admired Kerstin’s leadership, drive and ambition and I am thrilled to now be partnering with her & the Ventureland team. Kerstin’s commitment to innovative and progressive filmmaking compliment my own experience and creative ambitions. I am excited to embark on this new chapter with impressive teams in both the U.S. and UK,” Battsek said in a statement. “I am delighted that now Ventureland and Passion will continue to collaborate on a number of projects currently mid production as well as sharing the intention to co-produce other documentary projects as often as possible in the future.”

Emhoff, Brown and Hunter, partners at California-based prodco Prettybird, are known for producing music videos and commercials of the last decade with a roster of talent that includes Melina Matsoukas, Tim & Eric, The Daniels, Janicza Bravo and others.

Prettybird has also produced live and interactive entertainment, including documentaries such as Showtime’s Ready for War.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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