Cassian Elwes

Guest Speakers

November 17 Module 2

Cassian Elwes is widely considered to be among the most influential figures working in independent cinema today. Elwes began his producing career while still in his early twenties with 1983’s Oxford Blues, starring Rob Lowe and Ally Sheedy, and has gone on to produce or executive produce over 50 films. He joined William Morris in 1995 and headed William Morris Independent for 14 years. His first effort was the long-stalled project The English Patient, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year. He quickly followed up with such indie hits as Slingblade and The Apostle, both of which were nominated for multiple Oscars. The next film, Monster’s Ball, won a Best Actress Oscar for Halle Berry.

Elwes is considered an expert in arranging financing and distribution for independent films, having done so for 283 films during his tenure at William Morris Independent. Additional titles during that time include Thank You for Smoking, Half Nelson, and Frozen River.

Since leaving William Morris Independent in 2009, Elwes has been involved in arranging financing and distribution for multiple films including Lawless, directed by John Hillcoat (The Road, The Proposition), co-written by Nick Cave (The Proposition), and starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy; and the upcoming thriller The Paperboy, directed by Lee Daniels (Precious) and starring Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron. Elwes is currently producing the period drama The Butler, also scheduled to be directed by Daniels and featuring an ensemble cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Alan Rickman, James Marsden, Jane Fonda, David Oyelowo, Aml Ameen, and Robin Williams.