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Cinephil Sets New Leadership, Strikes Joint Venture With WestEnd Films

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Tel Aviv-based sales outfit and advisory firm Cinephil is linking up with London’s WestEnd Films for a new joint venture that will see the companies unite on development, financing and sales.

The deal comes as Cinephil founder and managing director Philippa Kowarsky recently stepped down from the business — a leading sales firm whose credits include the Sundance-winning “Flee” and Oscar-nominated “Collective” — to take up one of the documentary industry’s most prestigious roles, as commissioning editor of BBC documentary strand Storyville.

Under the new pact, WestEnd and Cinephil will collaborate on upcoming projects and films. Maya Amsellem, the Tel Aviv-based co-founder and managing director of WestEnd Films, said “together with the knowledge and expertise of Cinephil, we can bring the best of documentary films and series to the screen. Philippa has built an impressive brand which we are honored to preserve and strengthen even further.”

Following Kowarsky’s departure, Cinephil’s former head of sales Olivier Tournaud has been appointed managing director. Meanwhile, Sundance Film Festival senior programmer Harry Vaughn has also joined the company. He most recently specialized in U.S. and World documentary features for the festival, in addition to serving as a program lead on Sundance’s Talent Forum, which connects the industry to documentary filmmakers.

“I am thrilled and honored to step up into Philippa’s (very) big shoes,” said Tournaud. “Philippa has built a remarkable catalogue of important and significant documentaries which the Cinephil team is excited to continue representing worldwide. Joining top-notch industry leaders, we couldn’t be more delighted about Cinephil’s joint venture with WestEnd and with Harry Vaughn getting on board.”

Vaughn added: “It’s a true honor to join Cinephil’s team. Having had the pleasure of working with them as a programmer for many years, I’ve witnessed first-hand the enormous respect and trust they’ve fostered within the documentary community. Their taste and track record are impeccable, and I can’t wait to jump into this new endeavor with them.”

Elsewhere at Cinephil, Shoshi Korman will add marketing to her current portfolio as head of festivals, while Noa Levy remains in charge of business affairs.

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