CEO, StudioCanal (France)
Marsh took over as StudioCanal CEO in 2019, handling operations across the company’s vast portfolio, which includes such European production subsidiaries as Germany’s Tandem (Shadowplay), the U.K.’s Red (It’s a Sin) and Urban Myth (War of the Worlds), and Spain’s Bambu (Cable Girls). This February, she was named to the management board of StudioCanal parent Canal+, honored by exhibitors group CineEurope as the international distributor of the year, and, on Oct.3, appointed deputy CEO of the entire Canal+ Group. In addition to the 30-odd features StudioCanal puts out every year, the studio is curator of the blockbuster Paddington franchise, and producer of a raft of high-end television series, including the period crime procedural Paris Police 1900 and new sci-fi thriller Infiniti.
What was your first job in the business?
“My first job was at a Paris-based Production company called Télé Images, lead by a bold, visionary producer Simone Harari who trained her staff thoroughly in the art and business of storytelling. My first steps in the global content rights business were taken in headquarters just meters away from the effervescent Champs Elysées, a dream opportunity for someone who had travelled 18,000km around the globe to settle in Paris.”
What is or has been the greatest challenge in being a woman in this (still very male-dominated) industry?
“Upon reflecting up on this question, it strikes me how disappointing it is that this question remains high on the list in 2022. The recent publication of the Film Français cover [which featured seven prominent French film figures, all men, under the headline “Objective: Reconquest”] was a stark reminder to me that inequality in the industry is deep-seated and significant progress still needs to be made. In terms of my own career, having grown up in a country frequently run by women, it admittedly did take some adjustment upon arrival in Europe in the early 2000’s. Ultimately however, I strongly believe that strong work ethic and authenticity will more than often prevail, and women should not feel like they need to endorse so-called masculine qualities to succeed. We are all different, and must lean into our strengths, rather than feeling an obligation to camouflage who we are just to be heard.”
Five years on from #MeToo, what impact do you think the movement has had on the business and you personally?
“Some ‘best practices’ arising from the movement seem to have finally infused the workplace. I do sense that one is now more empowered to call out unacceptable behavior in the workplace and that support networks are more visible across the industry. It is however, up to each and every one of us to continue to set a good example and create a positive, more respectful work environment than perhaps we’d seen in the past.”
What advice would you give young women just entering the industry?
“Stay true to your beliefs and values. Be brave, be bold, and try to support other like-minded ladies. Future generations quite literally depend on women giving other women opportunities to make a difference. And do not forget the words of Michelle Obama: ‘No one is born smart. You become smart through hard work.’”
What do you watch for pleasure?
“None other than the greatest movie(s) of all time… Paul King’s Paddington 1 & 2! It was such a privilege for Studiocanal to produce, distribute and finance the Paddington movies with Heyday, and to have duplicated the success thereafter with the Emmy winning animated series The Adventures of Paddington.”
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