Protagonist Pictures, ‘1917’ Executive Producer Mogambo Forge Production Partnership (EXCLUSIVE)

In a further expansive move into production, London-based Protagonist Pictures is teaming with Madrid’s Mogambo, executive producers on “1917,” for a multi-year, multi-title strategic production partnership.

Announced on the cusp of the Cannes Festival, the deal sees the two companies allying to finance, co-produce and sell up to five films a year, Protagonist CEO Dave Bishop and CCO George Hamilton, announced alongside Mogambo founders Ignacio Salazar-Simpson and Ricardo Marco Budé.

They added in a statement that the partnership will focus on jointly green-lighting prestige third party filmmaker-driven titles with budget ranges of $5 million-$25 million, as well as strategic co-productions and development.

Negotiated by Mogambo’s legal director Carlos Segovia and Protagonist’s COO James Pugh, Hamilton and Head of Acquisitions Luane Gauer, the alliance is another building brick for both companies as they seek to leverage co-production to create bigger and more ambitious movie productions.

They can also bring to the table Protagonist Pictures’ muscle as a top European sales company. That clout may also facilitate the companies’ tying down top talent, which is always looking to make movies at the budget which their artistic ambition requires.

“Together, the two companies will be able to offer finance, production and sales for films in Europe, the U.S. and beyond,” Protagonist Pictures and Mogambo said in a joint statement Monday.

Mogambo will serve as producers on all projects on which they invest, whether fully or co-financing. Protagonist will executive produce and handle worldwide sales on all the partnership’s titles, they added.

In the run-up to last year’s virtual Cannes market, Protagonist Pictures and Germany’s Augenschein Sales announced a worldwide sales partnership on select films from Augenschein’s slate of English-speaking films. Part of a company refocus, the Mogambo deal takes that structure to another level. It plays off the two companies’ partnership on Nora Fingscheidt’s anticipated “The Outrun,” starring Saoirse Ronan, which is also co-produced by top German outfit Weydemann Bros.

“Bishop has ushered the company into a progressive new era. Protagonist has been expanding well beyond the traditional method of financing films through pre-sales to also include executive producing, co-production and development,” the same statement explained. “Following this strategic evolution, partnerships with key production and finance companies like Mogambo have become a central focus for Protagonist and form an essential part of the expanded role for the company,” it added.

For Salazar-Simpson and Budé, the partnership is also a meeting of like minds. “Following the frequent discussions with Luane over the past year, we have come to greatly admire and respect her impeccable creative taste and business acumen, which we were delighted to find resonates through the whole of the Protagonist team,” they said.

“We discovered that a shared creative and commercial vision underpinned with a passion for filmmakers is at the very heart of both Mogambo’s and Protagonist’s DNA. Together we are excited to build projects with the very best filmmakers to create prestigious and bold films for a global audience.”

“As Protagonist’s evolution proceeds at pace and we continue to grow both our financing and production activities, a partner like Mogambo is a perfect fit,” Hamilton added. “As producers and financiers Mogambo bring both the creative strength and the financial muscle to allow us to work with filmmakers to deliver films across a significant budget range.

Launched in 2014 by Salazar-Simpson and Budé, a finance expert, Mogambo took an executive producer credit on Sam Mendes’ “1917,” produced Alex de la Iglesia’s “Veneciafrenia” with his label Pokeepsie, and took an associate producer credit on “Pain and Glory.” It also has a string line in broad audience comedies, backing smash hits “Father There Is Only One,” “Undercover Wedding Crashers” and “The Perfect Family.”

An institution on the U.K. film scene, Protagonist will hit Cannes with its latest sales slate, which takes in Raymond De Felitta’s New York comedy “Artist in Residence,” starring Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia and Josh Hutcherson; Rebecca Miller’s romantic comedy “She Came to Me,” starring Anne Hathaway, Marisa Tomei and Joanna Kulig; the underwater thriller “The Dive,” by Maximilian Erlenwein; Directors’ Fortnight title “Enys Men,” Mark Jenkin’s awaited follow-up to BAFTA Outstanding Debut winner “Bait”; and Un Certain Regard entry, Pine Ridge Reservation-set “War Pony,” the first feature from Riley Keough and Gina Gammell.

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