Searchlight Pictures has hired Derval Whelan as head of distribution, who returns to the specialty studio where she previously served for 14 years until 2021.
Based in New York, Whelan will responsible for strategising and implementing release patterns for the company’s upcoming slate and replaces Frank Rodriguez, who has joined Amazon MGM Studios as general sales manager.
The Searchlight roster includes awards season heavyweights Poor Things, the Venice Golden Lion winner directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Emma Stone, and All Of Us Strangers, Andrew Haigh’s romance which is nominated for four Gotham Awards and 14 Bifas and just won three crafts Bifas.
Whelan most recently held the title of president of distribution at Bleecker Street where she oversaw all aspects of theatrical distribution strategies on films including Dream Horse starring Toni Collette and Damian Lewis.
She previously held positions at Sony Pictures Classics, Miramax and mk2 USA, and started her career at Orion Classics.
During her time at Searchlight, the executive worked on 12 Years A Slave, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Shape Of Water, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Black Swan, and Slumdog Millionaire.
Presidents of Searchlight Pictures David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield said: “We’ve known Derval for a long time, she was part of some of our most incredible successes over the years. Her expertise and acumen in the distribution space are unrivalled, and we couldn’t be happier to have her back at Searchlight.”
In 2024 Searchlight will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
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