Life and career
Battsek is a graduate of Oxford Brookes University where he majored in social and political studies.
Between 1985 and 1991, Battsek was managing director of Palace Pictures where he was involved in all aspects of marketing, distribution and acquisitions in the UK and Ireland. Battsek began his industry career at The Hoyts Film Corporation in Sydney where he quickly rose through the ranks to general manager in Victoria State overseeing distribution.
In 1991, Battsek went to work for Disney when he was asked to start up a UK Company as part of the worldwide distribution network for Buena Vista International. In 1992, he officially joined The Walt Disney Studios. Battsek was soon promoted to vice president/managing director where he handled all aspects of theatrical film distribution in the UK. He was later promoted to vice president, managing director and European acquisitions director of BVI (UK) Limited. His responsibilities also included involvement in the acquisition of distribution rights across numerous territories for such films as Muriel's Wedding, Shine, Central Station, Kolya, and Ice Storm.
In 1998, he was promoted to senior vice president, BVI (UK) Limited where he oversaw approximately 35 films per year from the Disney, Touchstone and Miramax labels. With his expanding role, Battsek began acquiring and developing British film projects for worldwide distribution. He created the BVI UK Comedy Label which produced four films, like High Heels and Low Lifes, Hope Springs, Calendar Girls, and Kinky Boots.
On 24 July 2005, he was named President of Miramax Films, after Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein left the company, due creative and financial differences with Disney exec, Michael Eisner. Since he took control of the company, Miramax has released films that have enjoyed success in the critical, including The Queen, No Country for Old Men or Doubt. He has re-focused the study to produce films of high quality but low budget.
On 20 January 2010, Battsek was announced as President of National Geographic Films. He began 15 March 2010. Battsek replaced Adam Leizpig. Battsek was President of National Geographic Films acquired projects for development and production, operated a boutique theatrical distribution arm for art-house titles and documentaries, including the Oscar-nominated Restrepo, and oversaw National Geographic large-screen and IMAX projects.
Battsek joined Cohen Media Group in 2012 as President,. working alongside CMG Chairman and CEO Charles S. Cohen in acquiring, producing and distributing top-tier films in a wide range of genres. Battsek has helped make the company North America’s premiere independent theatrical and digital distributor of contemporary art-house and foreign films. He also helps oversee CMG’s Cohen Film Collection, the library of some 700 cinema classics being restored for theatrical and Blu-ray release. Recent and upcoming releases include festival-winning favorites Mustang (France’s Official Academy Selection) and Rams (Iceland’s Official Academy Selection) along with the Kent Jones documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut, 2015 Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film nominee, Timbuktu by Abderrahmane Sissako and My Old Lady, with Maggie Smith and Kevin Kline. Past CMG releases include Rachid Bouchareb’s Outside the Law (2011 Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film nominee), Benoît Jacquot’s Farewell, My Queen, Ziad Doueiri’s The Attack, based on the international best-selling book by Yasmina Khadra, and The Last of the Unjust from Claude Lanzmann, the director of Shoah.
- The Daily Telegraph: "The most influential Britons in America: #12 DANIEL BATTSEK - Film studio chief" January 9, 2008
- Jewish Journal: "New York real estate magnate Charles Cohen builds a movie studio" by Danielle Berrin February 20, 2015
- Broadway World: "Daniel Battsek Named President Of Cohen Media Group" December 12, 2012