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Aquarius Films has appointed seasoned industry executive Rachel Okine as Managing Director

 

 

The Academy Award-nominated production company Aquarius Films has appointed seasoned industry executive Rachel Okine as Managing Director with immediate effect, it was announced today by Aquarius Founders and Principal Producers Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford. Okine joins Aquarius at a dynamic time for the company whose upcoming slate of high-end, prestige projects across film and television includes Guy Pearce’s directorial debut Poor Boy, in which Pearce will also star; and the second season of the wildly popular series from Australian comedian Matt Okine, “The Other Guy”, which will premiere on Hulu in the US on February 14th.

 

Aquarius is also in development on the feature adaptation of Matt Okine’s critically acclaimed debut novel ‘Being Black and Chicken n’ Chips’. Several other key projects in development include the feature adaptation of New York Times best-seller ‘The Last Painting of Sara De Vos’ by Dominic Smith, written by Laura Jones (Angela’s Ashes, Oscar and Lucinda, Portrait of a Lady); and the film adaptation of Hannah Kent’s second novel ‘The Good People’.

 

Reporting to Aquarius founders Fielder and Staniford, Okine will be responsible for driving new business opportunities and financing models, working with the founders to strategize the company direction and steering Aquarius through the next stages of its growth. The company aims to have three-five projects in production per year and Okine will help manage Aquarius’ established strategic partnerships, which currently include Universal, Warner Bros. Australia, Anonymous Content, Netflix, Stan, SBS Australia and ABC Australia as well as seek new partners. 

 

In the last 18 months, Aquarius has cemented its position as a leading Australian-based production company, delivering high-end, prestige projects to audiences both domestically and internationally. Recent projects include Dirt Music, starring Kelly McDonald, Garret Hedlund and David Wenham, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019 and will be released in 2020; and “The Unlisted”, a 15-part Sci-Fi TV series for Netflix and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which was triple-nominated at the AACTA Awards and recently shortlisted for the Prix Jeunesse.

 

Okine is a senior creative leader and specialist in international acquisitions, financing strategy and story development. From 2017 to 2019, she headed acquisitions for STXinternational across its UK theatrical distribution and international sales operations. Prior to that, she was the Paris-based Vice President of International Production and Acquisitions for French-owned studio/distributor Studiocanal, where she acquired titles for the French, German and Australia / New Zealand territories such as Ballerina, Tully and Logan Lucky, as well as overseeing all multi-territory deals and coordinating the international production operations.

 

Okine began her career in the acquisitions department of FilmFour in London in 2001. Returning to Australia in 2002, Rachel was a founding staff member of leading independent film distribution company, Hopscotch, working across the publicity and marketing campaigns of the slate starting from first release Bowling For Columbine, and advising on all international and local acquisitions including The Sapphires, Charlie’s Country and first Aquarius feature film Wish You Were Here. When Hopscotch expanded into production, she headed up that division, producing a number of multiplatform projects, lifestyle television and short form content, and later as head of development for the feature film slate that included Russell Crowe’s directorial debut The Water Diviner, Adoration and Saving Mr Banks. After the sale of Hopscotch to eOne in 2011, these acquisitions activities expanded to form part of the multinational strategy. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the prestigious Natalie Miller Fellowship, awarded annually to a woman who has demonstrated professional excellence in the Australian screen industry.

 

“As Aquarius Films enters a period of expansion, we are delighted to have Rachel Okine join us to shepherd the company through this growth,” said Fielder and Staniford. “Rachel will also champion our long-term plan to expand Aquarius’ international footprint by working with a range of strategic partners right from the development stage. The high caliber of her work, coupled with her extensive experience in the industry and impressive international network make her the perfect fit as Aquarius’ new Managing Director.”

 

“I have an enormous amount of respect for Angie and Polly, both personally and professionally, and think their taste, dynamism and talent is second to none,” said Okine. “They have an impressive upcoming slate and I couldn’t be more delighted to be joining Aquarius at this exciting stage in the company's growth.”

 

 

ABOUT AQUARIUS FILMS

Aquarius Films is an award-winning Australian production company with a reputation for high quality, prestige films and television series that are both commercially successful and critically acclaimed. Founded by Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford, credits include Lion, produced in association with See-Saw Films, directed by Garth Davis and starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, made more than $140 million at the worldwide box office and was nominated for six Academy Awards® and four Golden Globe Awards; Berlin Syndrome, directed by Cate Shortland written by Shaun Grant and starring Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt, which premiered at Sundance and Berlin and was picked up by Netflix; Dirt Music, the film adaptation of the Tim Winton novel of the same title, adapted by Jack Thorne and directed by Gregor Jordan which premiered at TIFF 2019; “The Other Guy” (Season 1 and Season 2), a 6 x half-hour comedy created by and starring comedian Matt Okine, for Stan and eOne, Season Two premieres in the US on Hulu on February 14; and “The Unlisted”, a 15 x half-hour TV series for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and Netflix which was nominated for 3 AACTA awards. Aquarius is about to commence production on feature film Poor Boy, starring and to be directed by Guy Pearce, and a 4 x 1hr TV series for SBS.

 

Previous projects include: twice Archibald Prize-winner Del Kathryn Barton’s film “RED” starring Cate Blanchett; and Wish You Were Here starring Joel Edgerton, Felicity Price and Teresa Palmer, directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith, which opened the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 in the prestigious World Cinema Dramatic competition, and won numerous awards including the AACTA Award for Best Screenplay and the Film Critic’s Circle Award for Best Film.

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