After acquiring a raft of Australian feature films and documentaries for Universal Pictures Australasia over the past four years, Jason Behan is looking for new avenues to continue his involvement in development and production.
As VP acquisitions, he helped to transition the focus of acquisitions from the declining home entertainment business to an all-rights, all-platforms content strategy.
Among the titles he brought to the studio led by Mike Baard were John Sheedy’s H is for Happiness, Abe Forsythe’s Little Monsters, Alexs Stadermann’s 100% Wolf and Francis Annan’s Escape to Pretoria.
Kriv Stenders’ Slim & I and Brock: Over the Top, Mark Joffe’s Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy and Leanne Pooley’s New Zealand doc We Need to Talk About A.I. also found homes at Universal.
Among the upcoming releases secured during his tenure are first-time director Martin Wilson’s survival thriller Great White, Gracie Otto’s feature doc Under the Volcano, which looks at the many famous acts who recorded at the Caribbean studio founded by The Beatles producer Sir George Martin, and Oscar Kightley’s Dawn Raid, which examines the Polynesian record label for hip hop and R&B artists.
After the coronavirus pandemic forced global media companies including NBCUniversal to lay off staff, his position was abolished last week and his duties were assigned to acquisitions manager Amelia Rowe.
Sting interviewed in ‘Under the Volcano.’
“It’s an exciting opportunity for Amelia and I will be cheering on from outside the business and genuinely wishing her all of the success I know she will have,” Behan tells IF.
“I’m proud of the wonderful films that were produced in Australia and New Zealand. We were often involved from the concept stage, providing marketplace input where appropriate and supporting the producing team as much as possible.
“We also oversaw the content strategy for each film to create bespoke distribution plans for each project, particularly this year with COVID-19.
“I also had the opportunity to work closely with most of the screen funding agencies including participating in initiatives run by the South Australian Film Corporation in 2018 and Screenwest in 2019, which generated some very strong projects that are well into the development process.”
After working non-stop in the media for 27 years, he is looking forward to a break. As for the future, he says: “I’ve loved being more involved in the development and production process so I’m keen to continue to explore those areas.
“But the world is full of new, innovative and entrepreneurial distribution businesses that are in great growth and I would like to see if I can contribute to their local success while also pushing ANZ content out to the world.
“I’m not much for sitting idle so I suspect I’ll be working on a few projects here and there pretty soon.”