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Former Miramax chief Daniel Battsek named president of National Geographic Films

January 20, 2010 | 10:55 am

Former Miramax Films chief Daniel Battsek, as expected, landed a new gig: president of National Geographic Films. Battsek, who was ousted as head of Disney's specialty label Miramax in October, will begin his new job on March 15, reporting to president David Beal.

He'll remain based in New York -- at least for the time being -- and be charged with overseeing the development, production, acquisition and distribution of the boutique company's movies.Battsek

But Battsek will get an early start on the job by attending the Sundance Film Festival this week in Park City, Utah, where he'll scout potential film acquisitions.

In October 2008, the production company's parent, National Geographic Entertainment, announced a $100-million joint financing venture with ImageNation Abu Dhabi to fund 10 to 15 films over the next five years. The film division is best known for the 2005 Oscar-winning documentary "March of the Penguins," which was released by the now-defunct Warner Independent Pictures.

The British-born Battsek worked at Disney for 18 years, originally in its London operation and the last four at Miramax, where he oversaw a number of acclaimed movies, including the 2008 Academy Award-winning best picture "No Country For Old Men," "The Queen" and "There Will Be Blood," as well as some disappointing releases such as "The Boys are Back" and "Extract."

-- Claudia Eller

Photo of Battsek by Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times