Jeff Kleeman Appointed As Bold Films’ New CEO

Jeff Kleeman has stepped in as CEO for Bold Films, taking over for Gary Michael Walters, whose March departure from the company after nearly 20 years was just announced.

The studio executive-turned-producer, screenwriter and showrunner comes to the company from Ellen DeGeneres’ A Very Good Production, where he’s served as President since 2012, overseeing work on 26 series, specials and movies amounting to over 1,615 hours of live-action and animated content.

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Kleeman will report to Bold Chairman David Litvak, overseeing the company’s current operations, as well as its plans for expansion. He’ll now focus on building strategic partnerships, with a particular eye on international, while looking to leverage both existing Bold IP and new IP to generate multiple revenue streams.

Kleeman’s appointment comes at a time when Bold Films is looking to take on a more global footprint in development and production, as it continues to develop feature-length projects for both theatrical and streaming, as well as episodic content and live theater.

Working alongside Kleeman will be EVP of Development and Productions Jon Oakes, who has been with the studio for over a decade, and Creative Executive Sophia Kalin. Oakes has played an instrumental role in the development and production of Bold Films’ slate including such previously released titles as The Guilty, Oslo, Colette, Whiplash, Nightcrawler and Drive. The creative team is supported by Director of Productions, Licensing and Operations, Erich Ebner, who is responsible for relationships with buyers and distributors with respect to Bold’s catalogue and establishing preferred relationships with partners around the world.

Said Bold Films’ Chairman, Litvak: “I am excited to welcome Jeff to lead the company and help us build new relationships in the US and abroad. With his extensive background in both feature and television, his work as both a producer and a writer/showrunner and his illustrious career with MGM/UA, Paramount, and more recently building Ellen’s vibrant production company, I feel confident that Jeff will shepherd Bold Films to new heights.”

“It’s an honor to join David and his team to further expand the company’s diverse library with elevated films, scripted and non-scripted television, animation, and franchises that deliver unforgettable emotional experiences to audiences worldwide,” added Kleeman in his statement. 

Kleeman notably contributed to the launching of the Jack Ryan franchise with The Hunt for Red October, also helping to relaunch the James Bond franchise with GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is Not Enough. Other notable narrative feature credits include Star Trek VI, The Birdcage, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Judge, Rob Roy and Leaving Las Vegas. He’s worked on documentaries like Endangered and the upcoming Saving the Gorillas: Ellen’s Next Adventure, and also recently produced Netflix’s animated series Green Eggs & Ham, along with the first-ever fully animated stand-up special, Tig Notaro: Drawn, for HBO Max. Kleeman’s network television credits include Splitting Up Together, Little Big Shots, First Dates and Ellen’s Game of Games.

Bold Films has since its 2004 founding notched three Academy Awards from seven noms, a Golden Globe from six noms, and two Emmy nominations. Notable past titles from the company, apart from the aforementioned, include No Escape, Legion, Shot Caller, Stronger and Bobby, to name a few. Recent credits include Antoine Fuqua’s Netflix thriller The Guilty starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a 911 call center operator, Bartlett Sher’s Emmy-nominated HBO TV movie Oslo produced with DreamWorks Pictures and Marc Platt Productions, and Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux starring Natalie Portman and Jude Law.

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