FFI actively cultivates a diverse range of movies from a wealth of sources; a large portion of its product comes from companies or producers who know that FFI’s global reach and initiative is unparalleled and who trust its established business acumen.
Based in the U.K., Ms. Thompson oversees FFI sales, distribution, marketing, and publicity activities. Ms. Thompson also works on all facets of European production and acquisitions. She reports to Focus Features CEO James Schamus and Focus and FFI president Andrew Karpen.
One of the world’s leading international sales agents, FFI also encompasses international distribution, marketing and publicity. FFI has the special ability to tailor international distribution to suit each film, whether licensing distribution rights to independent companies, or securing distribution through Universal Pictures International. FFI distributes up to 10 titles annually, approximately half of which are from Focus’ considerable domestic production/release slate and half of which come from partners across the globe.
FFI has a strong presence at all of the leading international film festivals, from the Berlinale in February to Cannes in May to Venice in August. Among the prominent titles presented have been Burn After Reading (opened the 2008 Venice Film Festival), Brokeback Mountain, Lust, Caution, and Somewhere (respectively, 2005, 2007, and 2009 Golden Lion winners at Venice), and Volver (In Competition at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival). FFI’s sales and distribution teams are always on-site at each of the major festivals and active throughout the market.
Ms. Thompson came to FFI in September 2005, directly from the U.K.-based Pathé Pictures International (PPI), which is Pathé U.K.’s international sales and marketing division. Among the many films that Pathé had handled since its formation in December 2000 was Walter Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries, which Focus released domestically and shepherded to an Academy Award win.
Prior to joining Pathé, she was chief executive of The Sales Company, one of the U.K.’s top sales agencies through the 1990s. During her 14 years there, Ms. Thompson represented more than 100 films from the world’s most celebrated directors. She began her career with the Rank Organisation and Channel Four.
Brokeback Mountain, released worldwide through Focus Features and Focus Features International, is Focus’ all-time top-grosser, with global ticket sales of over $180 million (of which $97 million came from Focus Features International revenues). Brokeback Mountain won, among other honors, 3 Academy Awards; 4 Golden Globe Awards; and 4 BAFTA Awards.
Focus Features International’s other celebrated releases have included five more Academy Award winners, Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk to Her, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Fernando Meirelles’ The Constant Gardener, and Gus Van Sant’s Milk; and Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 21 Grams, Sean Penn’s Into the Wild, and Zhang Yimou’s Hero and House of Flying Daggers.
Key to FFI’s worldwide success is its proud record of maintaining collaborative and long-term relationships with exceptional filmmakers and talent, partnerships frequently extended over multiple movies.
FFI has established itself at the forefront of leading international film companies, having consistently produced, sold, and distributed award-winning motion pictures worldwide.