Created by the late, and very great film producer, Simon Channing Williams and Gail Egan in 2000, Potboiler Productions has gone on to establish itself as one of the leading independent film companies in Europe.
Led by a passion for developing unique and exciting film and television projects, as well as encouraging and nurturing new talent, Potboiler began with Doug McGrath’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel Nicholas Nickleby. From there the company went on to produce original content such as the award-winning writer Tony Grisoni’s Brothers of the Head, directed by Lou Pepe and Keith Fulton, Paddy Breathnach’s Man About Dog and began its successful and long term relationship with novelist John le Carré, producing the Oscar-winning thriller The Constant Gardener directed by Fernando Meirelles.
In 2009 Andrea Calderwood’s Slate Films joined forces with Potboiler bringing with it, her wealth of experience producing award-winning films such as The Last King of Scotland and I am Slave.
Potboiler continues to work with great talent from across the globe and most recently has produced John le Carré’s thriller A Most Wanted Man, directed by Anton Corbijn, and starring the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdams, as well as Ewan McGregor and Naomi Harris in the subsequent le Carré novel Our Kind of Traitor. The Company has also recently produced Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos starring Kate Winslet and Matthias Schoenaerts and the British drama Trespass Against Us with Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson.
The Company still has Simon’s filmmaking philosophy at its core and Gail and Andrea, together with the small and supportive Potboiler team, continue to develop and produce thought-provoking and entertaining films and television dramas, stories which have meaning, resonance, integrity and heart.
Gail Egan is a qualified barrister and practised commercial law at Lincoln’s Inn before joining Price Waterhouse Corporate Finance. She then worked for the international media group Carlton Communications.
In 2000 she joined Simon Channing Williams in forming Potboiler Productions and together produced such films as Doug McGrath’s Nicholas Nickleby, De-Lovely with Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd, Fernando Meirelles’ Blindness, starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, Man About Dog with director, Paddy Breathnach, Brothers of the Head with directors. Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe, and Fernando Meirelles’ award winning film, The Constant Gardener, starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, who won an Oscar for her performance in the film.
More recently Gail has helped establish Potboiler as one of the leading independent production companies in Europe, producing Anton Corbijn’s John le Carré adaptation – A Most Wanted Man, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdams and the following le Carré novel, Our Kind of Traitor, directed by Susanna White starring Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgaard, Naomie Harris and Damien Lewis. In 2013 she produced Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos, starring Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman and Stanley Tucci and in 2014 Trespass Against Us starring Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson.
Gail also works with Mike Leigh’s Thin Man Films and has executive produced Vera Drake, Happy-Go-Lucky, Another Year and most recently, Mr. Turner.
Andrea Calderwood began her career in freelance production in Scotland, producing documentaries, short dramas and music videos with independent company Crash Films, before being appointed Head of Drama at BBC Scotland in 1994. She then joined Pathé Pictures as their Head of Production, executive producing eight feature films including Oliver Parker’s An Ideal Husband (1999), Lynne Ramsay’s Ratcatcher (1999) and The Claim (2000).
Through her own production company, Slate Films, Andrea’s producer credits include Hotel (2001), Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002), The Last King of Scotland (2006), HBO’s acclaimed Generation Kill; and I Am Slave (2008) directed by Gabriel Range and written by Jeremy Brock.
Slate Films joined forces with Potboiler Productions in 2009, and Andrea has since produced Biyi Bandele’s adaptation of the bestselling novel Half of a Yellow Sun (2013), based on the Orange prize winning novel by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Joseph Mawle and Anika Noni Rose; and is a producer on Potboiler Productions A Most Wanted Man (2014), directed by Anton Corbijn; Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos (2014); and Trespass Against Us (2015) starring Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson.
Through Slate North Andrea continues to executive produce Scottish-set TV drama including The Field of Blood and Iain Banks’ adaptation Stonemouth.
The longest serving member of Potboiler, Bek started her film career in 1995, working for Thin Man Films as a runner on the set of Mike Leigh’s Career Girls and post production of Secrets and Lies.
She soon became Simon Channing Williams’ assistant at Imagine Films and somehow, whilst continuing to look after Simon’s personal life, found herself looking after both Thin Man Films’ and, by then, Potboiler Productions’ finances.
Nowadays there’s not much Bek hasn’t experienced when it comes to films and finances. She also oversees the welfare of the Potboiler team and is reasonably approachable – even though she is actually quite scary when asked for money.
Susan Breen began her career as a script editor, then as a producer, working across a variety of television dramas for companies including the BBC, Talkback Thames and Initial. In 2007 she moved to Aardman Animations where, as Head of Features Development, she worked on features including Arthur Christmas and The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists. After a brief return to TV producing, Susan joined Film4 as Senior Development Editor, working on features including Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette and Todd Haynes’ Carol. Susan joined Potboiler in October 2013.
Joe started out at Company Pictures, working across TV shows such as Skins, Shameless, and Generation Kill. After a brief stint in Bristol with South West Screen Joe returned to London to work as assistant to Tessa Ross at Film4 before joining Potboiler in 2012.
Originally from the UK, Robbie spent several years in South Africa working in both TV & advertising before moving into sports broadcasting with SuperSport where he produced content for live outside broadcasts and magazine shows. In 2011 he moved to New York then Los Angeles to venture into feature filmmaking, studying at The New York Film Academy and working at 20th Century Fox on various productions.
After three years in the States he returned to South Africa to direct a behind-the-scenes rugby documentary Keeping the Cup, then came home to London and joined Potboiler in the Summer of 2014. Robbie recently co-produced the feature-length political documentary Imminent Threat, executive produced by James Cromwell.