See-Saw ups Simon Gillis to COO film and TV; Rachel Gardner to head of drama Australia

Simon Gillis and Rachel Gardner.

See-Saw Films has upped Simon Gillis to chief operating officer across both film and television as the company grows its business affairs and production teams.

The promotion for the London-based Gillis, who reports to joint MDs Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, comes alongside a number of new appointments.

These include Katie FitzGerald Frazer and Ellen Lister as senior business and legal affairs executives, and Emily Leach as senior production executive. Katie joins See-Saw from entertainment law firm Sheridans, Ellen from ITN Productions, and Emily from Film4.

In the Sydney office, Rachel Gardner has also been promoted from executive producer to the newly-created role of head of drama Australia.

Gardner has worked for See-Saw for the seven years, driving a slate of Australian projects such as recent Foxtel drama The End. Her move to head of drama forms part of the company’s ambition to further develop and nurture Australian talent. 

As well as supervising the film and television divisions’ day-to-day operations across both London and Sydney, Gillis will be responsible for leading commercial strategy across the group, including designing and implementing the financing, sales and distribution arrangements for See-Saw’s films and TV shows and those of its joint venture companies I Am That, with Garth Davis, and Picking Scabs, with Samantha Strauss. 

Gillis will also oversee business development, strategic partnerships and deal making, and run See-Saw’s in-house sales arm, Cross City Films. Gillis will co-executive produce See-Saw’s TV slate and continue to serve as executive producer on its films.

Gillis joined See-Saw in 2016 as head of commercial affairs, having previously held commercial roles at NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Company and the BBC.

Gillis was promoted to COO of film in 2019 and since then has executive produced Francis Lee’s Ammonite, Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, John Madden’s Operation Mincemeat and Thomas M. Wright’s The Unknown Man, with primary responsibility over their financing and sales.

On the news, Gillis said in a statement: “I am truly thrilled to expand my role at See-Saw, the home of so many extraordinary writers and filmmakers. There has never been a more exciting time to bring bold and powerful stories, in all their forms, to the global market, or to welcome Ellen, Emily and Katie to this brilliant team.”

Sherman and Canning said: “Simon’s contribution to See-Saw over the last five years has been extraordinary. He has an incredible commercial and strategic mind, coupled with a deep love of the creative process and the talent we work with. There’s no-one better to help drive the company forward, across both our London and Sydney offices, as we move into this next phase of growth.”