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Maria Zuckerman Named President Of Topic Studios

·4 min read

First Look Media has promoted Maria Zuckerman to President of Topic Studios. She will continue to report to the company’s CEO Michael Bloom.

Zuckerman will continue to lead the Studio’s creative vision and overall strategy, including development, financing, and production across feature films, documentaries, television, and podcasts. She joined the Studio in May of 2019 as EVP & Head of Topic Studios.

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During her tenure, Topic Studios has expanded with a broad range of award-winning film projects, as well as ramping up their TV division and full-service podcast studio. In addition, the Topic Studios has brought in world-class creators such as Pablo Larraín, Destin Daniel Cretton, Awkwafina, Kevin Macdonald, Chris Smith, Nikyatu Jusu, Adam Leon and Toni Collette.

Zuckerman’s promotion comes just weeks after Topic Studios, along with its partners The Intercept and the Invisible Institute, were lauded as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the podcast Somebody, and the July 18 premiere of its newest TV series 100 Foot Wave, on HBO/HBO Max.

In announcing the promotion, Bloom said, “I’m thrilled to recognize Maria’s role in growing Topic Studios with her promotion to President. Maria and her team have built the Studio into a major creative force, giving new and established voices the opportunity to collaborate and produce truly extraordinary work. I know the Studio will continue to thrive under her leadership, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Zuckerman said, “It has been thrilling over the past two years to grow Topic Studios’ reach and slate of productions. By working with the most exciting creators and partnering with the most dynamic leaders in our industry, we are demonstrating Topic Studios’ unique full-service capabilities across all our formats, playing diverse roles bespoke to each project. I’m grateful to our stellar creative team and for the tremendous support of Michael Bloom, as well as our fantastic colleagues across First Look Media. I look forward to sharing so much more to come from Topic Studios.”

Projects developed by Zuckerman on the film side include the the Golden Globe winning Jodie Foster-Tahar Rahim movie The Mauritanian, Pablo Larrain’s upcoming Kristen Stewart Princess Diana biopic, Nikyatu Jusu’s psychological horror film Nanny, as well as a a film about the influence of Chinatown restaurants on California Punk produced by and starring Awkwafina; and Toni Collette’s directorial debut Writers & Lovers, adapted from Lily King’s bestselling novel.

In Topic Studios’ TV, Zuckerman has shepherded the Untitled Vincent Chin Project, the story of a tragedy that set off the largest-ever pan-Asian-American protest movement, with Destin Daniel Cretton attached to direct, for Amazon Studios; the adult thriller Savannah from Tracy Oliver, also for Amazon; and the English-language adaptation of the critically acclaimed Israeli comedy Nehama.

Topic Studios recently announced a slate development and production deal with Audible to produce four new Audible Original podcasts. These include American ISIS, a portrait of an ordinary American who become a fighter for The Islamic State; and The Messenger, a tale of friendship, lies, betrayal and terrorism, both currently in release. Also from Topic Studios is the thriller Imposters: The Spy on Spotify’s Parcast Network; the return of Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu on Warner Media Podcast Network; and the Pulitzer Finalist and IDA Award-winning investigative podcast, Somebody, with iHeartMedia. Upcoming podcasts developed under Zuckerman include Hurry Up and Kill Her, an investigation into the assassination of Malta journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Prior to Topic Studios, Zuckerman was a 20-year vet at HBO where she served as SVP, HBO Films. Her career slate included 30 titles from such talent as Richard Curtis, Peter Morgan, and David Yates. Her films earned HBO 95 Emmy nominations, winning 17 Emmy Awards, including three Best Movie/Miniseries; 22 Golden Globe nominations with five wins, including two for Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television; 23 BAFTA nominations and numerous NAACP, GLAAD and SAG Awards. Some of her HBO movies include Bessie, Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, Grey Gardens and Mary and Martha.

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