- LOS ANGELES & LONDON
The Corner Shop, a commercial production house launched nearly eight years ago in the U.S. by executive producer Anna Hashmi and director Peter Thwaites, is opening an office in London, marking the company co-founders' return to their U.K. roots. The Corner Shop London will be headed by Hashmi, company partner and director Sara Dunlop, and executive producer Chia Tucker. Hashmi will split her time between the L.A. and London offices.
Brits Hashmi and Thwaites' alluded to U.K. lineage includes their working together at the venerable London house Gorgeous in 2008, with Thwaites winning the DGA Award for commercials the following year. Hashmi and Thwaites eventually moved stateside and went on to open The Corner Shop in 2013.
Now on both sides of the Atlantic, The Corner Shop offers a mix of established storytellers such as Thwaites, Ellen Kuras and the comedy duo Peter Martin. Plans call for the company to actively level the field for important, diverse voices and perspectives with a string of strategic signings in the offing.
The Corner Shop’s legacy includes developing first-time spot directors like Malik Vitthal whose “The Talk” for Procter & Gamble out of BBDO New York won the primetime commercial Emmy Award in 2018. Part of P&G’s My Black Is Beautiful initiative, The Corner Shop-produced piece centered on different African-American parents having “The Talk” with their kids about racial bias and how it can make life more difficult--and at times even more dangerous. In one of the film’s most poignant moments, a girl behind the wheel of a car insists she’s a good driver and her mom doesn’t need to tell her what to do if she gets pulled over. The girl has no intention of getting pulled over because she obeys the speed limit and the rules of the road. Mom doesn’t doubt that but she has to explain to her daughter, “This is not about you getting a ticket. This is about you not coming home.”
The Corner Shop is also assembling a lineup of talented women filmmakers led by commercial director Dunlop who joined its U.S. roster in 2019, and now becomes a partner in the U.K. operation which will also rep her in Europe. (She had earlier been repped in the U.K. as a director by Rattling Stick) The Corner Shop has additionally taken on U.S. and U.K. representation for several accomplished female directors, including Tamara Kotevska, a Macedonian who last year earned an Oscar nomination for the groundbreaking feature documentary Honeyland; Russian American filmmaker, photographer and Magnum nominee Diana Markosian; and Sundance Ignite Fellow writer-director Luna Carmoon.
Beyond its commercialmaking endeavors, The Corner Shop is investing in talent who are additionally accomplished writers, proactively supporting them to develop culturally relevant entertainment. Current commissions include a Channel 4 scripted comedy anthology series, co-written and to be directed by Emmy-nominated Sindha Agha; a global documentary series about life during the pandemic across 48 countries led by Kuras; and A Revolutionary Act, a documentary short behind the scenes of the Black Panther movement by filmmaker and activist Malakai for Participant Media. Most of these projects at The Corner Shop are in turn intentionally set up to encourage new and alternative voices in directing and writing.
Reflecting on the London launch, Hashmi shared, “Growing up in the industry in the U.K., I never dreamt I would or could run a production company as a mixed-race girl from Croydon. So, I am really excited to be returning to the U.K., after working in America for the past 10 years, opening The Corner Shop USA in 2013, winning awards, fostering young directors and building an eclectic, diverse roster of talent. And we are so lucky to have exceptional executive producer Chia Tucker and our new partner and award-winning director Sara Dunlop, who just happens to be another mixed-race girl from Croydon.”
Tucker joining The Corner Store as U.K. EP marks her reunion with Hashmi. The two earlier worked together at Gorgeous and MJZ in London. Tucker went on to serve as an EP at Rogue in the U.K. and had most recently been freelancing prior to coming aboard The Corner Store.