EXCLUSIVE: Samantha Racanelli, former SVP of Film Development and Production at Fifth Season, has been hired as President of Production at TeaTime Pictures. In the new role, she will oversee development and production working closely with Dakota Johnson and Ro Donnelly, who co-founded the company in 2019.
This hire reflects a major expansion for the production company which recently promoted Maddie Schiff to Director of Development and Hyunji Ward to Creative Executive.
More from Deadline
In addition, Boat Rocker, an independent, integrated global entertainment company, extended its current first-look deal with TeaTime to continue to develop and produce scripted and unscripted television and digital content.
“Dakota and Ro have an incredible appreciation for the content they want to create, driven by their unique taste for telling compelling and artful stories with broad commercial appeal,” said David Fortier and Ivan Schneeberg, Co-Executive Chairmen, Boat Rocker Media and Co-Chairmen, Boat Rocker Studios. “We’re thrilled to be extending our already successful partnership with TeaTime and excited to work with them as they continue to build out their slate, brand and business.”
Last year, TeaTime and Boat Rocker produced the comedy Slip, created, directed by and starring Zoe Lister-Jones, which is nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards including Best New Scripted Series.
Johnson and Donnelly met Racanelli on the Sundance Audience Award-winning film Cha Cha Real Smooth which landed at Apple. At Fifth Season, she oversaw many of the studio’s features including the ensemble comedy 80 For Brady (Paramount).
Previously an agent at WME, Racanelli packaged and sold such notable films as Chloé Zhao’s The Rider, Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, Trey Shults’ It Comes At Night and Waves, Sam Levinson’s Assassination Nation and Stephen Merchant’s Fighting with My Family.
Schiff served as an associate producer on TeaTime’s Slip. She previously worked at WME. Ward joined TeaTime as an assistant, having previously worked at UTA. Her focus will be across both film amd television and incubating new voices.
“We feel very lucky to kick off the year with such exciting developments. The renewal of our deal with Boat Rocker is a true joy, as we have loved having them as partners. We feel very supported and seen by their team, led by Nick Nantell,” said Johnson and Donnelly. “We have had the privilege of watching Maddie and Hyunji evolve powerfully and gracefully in their positions at TeaTime. They have worked hard to achieve their promotions and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with these amazing young women. And we are beyond thrilled to have Sam join our team. We fell hard for her during the process of making Cha Cha Real Smooth. She is a brilliant and beloved executive, and we are so excited for all the great things we will make together.”
Johnson and TeaTime Pictures are repped by CAA.
Best of Deadline