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Protagonist Pictures has appointed Isabelle Stewart as Head of Acquisitions

Protagonist Pictures has appointed Isabelle Stewart as Head of Acquisitions with immediate effect, it was announced today by CEO Dave Bishop. The appointment comes ahead of a busy year for the international finance, production and sales company as it seeks to expand its critically acclaimed sales slate for the upcoming markets.


Reporting to Bishop, Stewart will oversee the procurement of the kinds of prestige titles that have become synonymous with the Protagonist brand. She will attend major festivals and markets with the Protagonist team whose current slate includes Sean Baker’s highly nominated The Florida Project, William Oldroyd’s debut feature Lady Macbeth, and Francis Lee’s much-lauded God’s Own Country, all three of which received 2018 BAFTA nominations.


Stewart joins Protagonist from Focus Features, where she was Director of Acquisitions and Production and worked on an impressive list of titles including Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete and Paolo Sorrentino’s Loro. Prior to her post at Focus, Stewart held acquisitions roles at Universal Pictures International Productions and Studiocanal.


In 2017, she joined Protagonist’s Director of International Sales George Hamilton as one of Screen’s Future Leaders: The Rising Stars in Sales and Acquisitions.


Stewart’s extensive practical experience is complemented by distinguished educational credentials, including Inside Pictures’ highly coveted Diploma of Film Financing and Leadership in 2014, where she was one of only 23 accepted applicants in that year.  


Protagonist CEO Dave Bishop commented: “I am thrilled that Isabelle has joined the Protagonist team. She is one of the most respected international acquisitions executives in the business and her incredible taste and wealth of industry knowledge will prove a huge asset as we continue to build our slate, connecting gifted auteurs with eager audiences.”


Stewart added: “Protagonist really stands for something: bold, innovative and fresh new voices in cinema. I’ve long admired the company and enjoyed doing business with them. I could not be more delighted to join this fantastic team at such an exciting time in their growth.”


Stewart’s appointment rounds out a year of expansion for Protagonist, which is gearing up for a similarly successful 2018.  The company is representing four titles in Sundance – An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, (Jim Hosking’s second feature which will screen in NEXT), Michael Pearce’s Beast, The Rider from Chloé Zhao and Jonas Åkerlund's Lords of Chaos which will screen in Midnight.




Protagonist Pictures is an international finance, production and sales company which has a proven track record in outstanding films and commercial successes. Based in the UK, the company handles films from around the world, always maintaining a strong focus on filmmakers with exceptional vision and storytelling skills.


Protagonist’s current successes on release around the world include The Florida Project from Sean Baker distributed in the US by A24, William Oldroyd’s BAFTA nominated Lady Macbeth, Francis Lee’s BAFTA nominated God’s Own Country, 2017 Un Certain Regard Grand Jury Prize winner April’s Daughter from writer/director/producer Michel Franco, Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire with its ensemble cast of Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley and Jack Reynor, and  Charlie McDowell’s The Discovery with Rooney Mara, Jason Segel and Robert Redford. Other titles include the 2017 Directors’ Fortnight Art Cinema Award Winner The Rider from Chloé Zhao to be distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, Toronto International Film Festival 2017 Official Selections Beast, from writer/director Michael Pearce and Clio Barnard’s Dark River starring Ruth Wilson, as well as Richard Loncraine’s Finding Your Feet to be released in the US by 30WEST/Roadside Attractions.


Currently in post-production are Vita & Virginia starring Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki, Kristoffer Nyholm’s Keepers, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, which will be distributed in the US by Amazon Studios, The Souvenir from Executive Producer Martin Scorsese directed by Joanna Hogg, zombie comedy Little Monsters starring Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad, and Juan Cabral’s Two/One starring Boyd Holbrook and Beau Bridges.


In pre-production are Paramour, directed by Alexandra-Therese Keining and starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Gypsy Boy starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Off Season starring Jon Hamm from the producers of Baby Driver and The Shape of Water and Hope Gap starring Annette Bening and Bill Nighy.


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