Yates, who joined BBC Film under Garnett in 2017 as commissioning executive and had been due to take up the position this month in an interim capacity, was unveiled as the new BBC Film boss on Wednesday.
She will now lead one of the U.K.’s most important backers of independent film and a unit that helps develop and co-produce around 12-15 features each year. In her role, Yates will also oversee the BBC documentary strand Storyville, now under the leadership of Philippa Kowarsky.
“Eva brings a wealth of experience to the role and is hugely respected in the U.K. film industry,” said BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore. “She has established relationships with many of the U.K.’s leading filmmakers, a passion for nurturing new talent, a real eye for quality, and I know she will continue to champion the ambitious range of films we’ve seen shine in recent years. I’m excited to see Eva lead BBC Film into the future.”
In five years at BBC Film, Yates has commissioned more than 30 feature films, most recently Aleem Khan’s six-time BIFA winner After Love, which also saw Joanna Scanlan win the BAFTA for leading actress, plus Harry Wootliff’s second film True Things, starring Ruth Wilson and Tom Burke, Tom Hardiman’s Medusa Deluxe and Stacey Gregg’s Here Before, starring Andrea Riseborough.
Yates’ other executive producer credits at BBC Film include Aneil Karia’s debut feature Surge, starring Ben Whishaw; Harry Macqueen’s Supernova with Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth; Fyzal Boulifa’s debut Lynn + Lucy; Bassam Tariq’s Mogul Mowgli, starring and co-written by Riz Ahmed; Blue Story by Andrew Rapman Onwubolu; Remi Weekes’ BAFTA Outstanding Debut award winner His House; iFeatures Make Up by Claire Oakley and Perfect 10 by Eva Riley; Sacha Polak’s Sundance hit Dirty God; and Akinola Davies’ Lizard, winner of the Sundance short film grand jury prize.
“BBC Film is a unique and special place: a home for filmmakers to discover, create and show their best work, so the opportunity to lead it into a new phase is simply too good to miss,” said Yates, who prior to the BBC spent eight years at Film4, where she executive produced Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not A Witch and Been So Long, starring Michaela Coel. “It is a great privilege to work within a BBC so ambitious for film and British creativity under Charlotte Moore and to take the reins from Rose Garnett, a truly exceptional creative leader and a dear colleague and friend to us all. If the filmmakers, the ambition and the change we have seen through in the last five years is any indication, we have very exciting times ahead.”
Upcoming features for Yates at BBC Film include Daina O. Pusic’s Tuesday with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lola Petticrew and Arinze Kene; Raine Allen Miller’s London rom-com Rye Lane; Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun which will premiere in the Cannes Critics’ Week 2022; and upcoming debuts from Charlotte Regan, Dionne Edwards, Adura Onashile and Georgia Oakley.
In March, it was revealed that A24 was making a double swoop on top BBC execs to boost its international ambitions, poaching both Garnett and BBC drama director Piers Wenger.