Dare Pictures hires 59%’s Cassandra Johnson-Bekoe to head scripted development

Cassandra Johnson-Bekoe

UK indie Dare Pictures has appointed 59% exec Cassandra Johnson-Bekoe to the newly created position of head of scripted development.

Reporting to Dare Pictures founder & CEO Derren Lawford, writer, producer and script editor Johnson-Bekoe steps into the role with immediate effect in which she will focus on developing the company’s scripted slate.

She will also bring with her an original slate of IP and work on new drama and film projects with a view to taking them from pitch to commission with a particular emphasis on the US and African markets. Johnson-Bekoe will also be tasked with engaging with agents to identify and develop relationships with emerging and established storytelling talent to bolster the slate.

She arrives at Dare Pictures from Daniel Kaluuya’s prodco 59%, where she served as senior development executive, overseeing the company’s slate and generating new IP across international and regional markets.

Prior to this she worked in scripted development, with production credits including season two of Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso; Riches, a Greenacre Films production for ITV; Secret Invasion for Marvel Studios/Disney+; and The Chemistry of Death from Cuba Pictures, for Paramount+.

Johnson-Bekoe also co-founded two collectives – ‘Black Women in Scripted’ which currently boasts over 300 members, a mix of established and award-winning writers, producers, executives, as well as new industry talent – and ‘The Colab’, a diverse network for industry professionals with over 250 members.

“This has been a year in the making and well worth the wait. We’ve been quietly acquiring life rights, optioning books and articles with a view to creating international and impactful dramas and films, so securing someone of Cassandra’s calibre and dynamism provides us with the perfect opportunity to accelerate our presence in scripted genres,” said Lawford.

“She has a truly impressive network of contacts in the UK, America and Africa and has already secured unique access to some incredibly powerful and distinctive stories for Dare which we’re really excited to see develop over the coming months.”

Dare, which is better known for its unscripted output, partnered with Germany’s Tondowski Films in January to produce high-end documentaries for the international market, co-hiring ITN Productions alum Fatima Shafiq to oversee the slate. The two companies previously worked together on three-part docuseries Crypto Queen with Channel 4, Sky Germany, and Fremantle.

More recently, Dare appointed Pjoys founder Michelle Morgan as chair, to take on an advisory and supporting capacity, working alongside Lawford, and the creative team on its business strategy, whilst ensuring its core mission and values remain central to the company as it enters its next phase of growth.

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