Shaftesbury’s Christina Jennings named producer of the decade

From a media release:

Christina Jennings Named Producer of the Decade by Playback

Christina Jennings, Chairman and CEO of Shaftesbury Films, has been named Producer of the Decade by Playback, Canada’s film, television and digital entertainment industry journal of record. The recognition was made as part of Playback’s special Decade in Review print issue, which looks back at the major accomplishments in the Canadian film and television industry over the past 10 years.

Jennings established Shaftesbury in 1987 and has since built the company into a position of unique leadership and strength as one of Canada’s largest creators, producers and distributors of original content for television and multiple platforms. With diversified operations including drama, kids, factual entertainment, digital media and sales and distribution, Shaftesbury produces and distributes a wide-ranging, globally relevant slate of programming that is available in Canada and more than 120 countries worldwide.

Over the past decade, Jennings’ diversified business model, investment in a broad development slate and innovative co-production and distribution partnerships with leading Canadian, American and international broadcast partners, has resulted in continuous growth for Shaftesbury. Since 2000, the company has expanded from eight to 45 full-time employees, tripled its production volume and created 40,000 jobs in the Canadian film and television industry across 55 productions, including 26 made-for-television films, 16 television series and seven mini-series.

In the following excerpt from Playback’s Producer of the Decade story, Patricia Bailey writes:

Fearless and inspiring. A big brain with the heart to match. A risk-taker who lives for a good story. That’s how those who work with Christina Jennings describe the woman who, over the past decade, has emerged as one of this country’s most innovative and successful producers. Since 1987, Jennings has brought thousands of hours of award-winning television programs and feature films to audiences in Canada and around the world.

Despite the global recession and an increasingly fragmented and competitive media landscape, Jennings and her team have nearly tripled Shaftesbury’s production and development output from $29 million in 2005 to over $80 million in 2009.

In 2000 Shaftesbury was a small enterprise with eight full-time employees; today the Toronto-based company employs 45 people and is one of Canada’s largest creators and distributors of drama and kid’s content for television. In fact, Shaftesbury’s sales and distribution division now accounts for 25% of the company’s revenue.

Most who work with Jennings believe she is a rare bird: a bright light in a tough and frequently discouraging business whose unique style combines business acumen with a keen artistic sensibility and immense generosity of spirit. And of course she possesses a must-have character trait for any truly powerful producer: relentless determination.

“She’s so enthusiastic she can talk you into doing just about anything,” says Canadian actress Wendy Crewson, who has starred in a number of Jennings’ productions including ReGenesis. “Whatever she’s got going on she’s behind 100 percent. She has been a production engine in this city. She’s kept so many of us working. She knows what will sell.”

For the full article on Jennings in Playback’s Decade in Review issue, click here.

About Christina Jennings and Shaftesbury

Founded by Christina Jennings in 1987, Shaftesbury is one of Canada’s largest creators, producers and distributors of original content for television and multiple platforms. With diversified operations including drama, kids, factual entertainment, digital media, and sales and distribution, Shaftesbury produces and distributes a wide-ranging, globally relevant slate of programming that is available in more than 120 countries worldwide on networks including CTV, CBC, Citytv, Global/Shaw Media, TMN, HBO Canada, BBC, Fox International Channels, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Turner, ITV and UKTV.

Shaftesbury is known for its innovative international co-productions, financing and distribution partnerships as well as award-winning storytelling spanning multiple genres and formats including Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, a mini-series based on the award-winning book by Dr. Vincent Lam; two seasons of The Listener for CTV and Fox International Channels in 120 countries; and four seasons of Murdoch Mysteries for Citytv, Alibi in the UK and broadcasters in 100 countries worldwide. Shaftesbury’s newest series, Good Dog, is a half-hour comedy from acclaimed writer, director, actor and producer Ken Finkleman that will premiere on The Movie Network and Movie Central in spring 2011. Shaftesbury also produces a variety of leading children’s programming, including the global hit Life with Derek, which is broadcast in more than 120 countries, and the movie follow up to the series, Vacation with Derek.

Building on Shaftesbury’s leadership in dramatic and children’s storytelling, Jennings recently expanded and further diversified the company’s business with the launch of Shaftesbury Factual, a new division focused on the production of non-fiction entertainment across a broad spectrum of genres. Shaftesbury’s other divisions include Smokebomb Entertainment, the company’s digital media division responsible for the development and production of original online series and companion web experiences for Shaftesbury’s slate of properties; and Shaftesbury Sales Company, which manages international sales and distribution for the company’s content.

Jennings is a graduate of the film program at the Canadian Film Centre and sits on the Centre’s Board of Directors. Jennings received the PROFIT Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship at the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards in 2008, and the Lionsgate/Maple Pictures Innovative Producer Award at the 2009 Banff World Television Festival. Jennings was named Playback’s Person of the Year in 2007 and Producer of the Decade in 2010. Visit www.shaftesbury.ca for further information.

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Diane Wild

Diane is the founder of TV, eh? She loves books, movies, TV, science, space, traveling, theatre, art, cats, and drinking multiple beverages at the same time.
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