Each year Variety’s New Leaders feature profiles the most prominent up-and-comers in the entertainment business. To determine this year’s worthies, Variety looked across disciplines, from television, digital, music and film, to law and finance, as well as content creators. They were proposed by their bosses and peers who have worked with them and seen their rise. All are age 40 or under, and Variety has measured them by the progress of their career trajectories: do they take calculated risks? How fast have they risen in their companies? Are they innovative and employ solutions to problems that are creative? As part of the salute to the qualities that keep the town humming, filmmaker/producer Travis Knight, who founded Laika Studios and is finishing up the anticipated “Bumblebee” for Paramount, as well as Variety‘s 10 Assistants to Watch along with the New Leaders will be recognized Oct. 17, at the Jeremy Hotel rooftop in West Hollywood.
Michael D. Ratner
Director/Producer, President and CEO,
OBB Pictures, 29
Ratner started OBB Pictures, a digital-focused original content production company, after bankruptcy rumors swirled around Relativity, where he had a first-look deal. OBB is behind Netflix’s “Historical Roasts” with Jeff Ross, “Cold as Balls” with Kevin Hart and a “30 for 30” called “Gonzo at the Derby” starring Sean Penn, for ESPN. His short film “The 30 Year Old Bris” played at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, and he says, “I don’t think I would have started the company as early as I did if it weren’t for a few of those quick wins and then also feeling like there’s no studio that feels stable enough so let’s just bet on ourselves.”