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Colin Callender, CBE, (born 1952)is an English television producer and was president of HBO Films.



Callender holds a BA with Honors in Philosophy and Politics from the University of East Anglia. Callender began his production career at the Royal Court Theatre in London as stage manager working with directors such as David Hare and Sam Shepard. Later he joined Granada Television as a graduate trainee.

From 1978 until 1983 Callender was managing director of Primetime Television Ltd, an off-shoot of RPTA Ltd, a London-based television distribution company that handled the international sales for many leading independent producers including London Weekend Television. Primetime used RPTA's knowledge of and contacts in the burgeoning international television marketplace to pioneer European co-productions and pre-sales on many British television dramas and series with the BBC and ITV companies such as Granada, LWT, HTV and Southern Television.

In 1983, Callender won an Emmy Award for his work as producer of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1982 film), winning Best Miniseries in a category that included other nominees The Winds of War and The Thorn Birds. The 9-hour miniseries was the first to be produced independently in the UK for the newly launched network Channel Four and was distributed worldwide by PolyGram and underwritten by Mobil in the US.

Before joining HBO, Callender was the managing director of The Callender Company Ltd. from 1983 through 1987. Based in London, the company was one of the UK's leading motion picture and television producers. Under the banner of the company, he produced the official British entry to the 1987 Cannes Film Festival -- Peter Greenaway’s The Belly of an Architect.

In 1986, Callender entered into a joint venture with Bernie Brillstein and The Brillstein Company to develop and produce movies. This partnership resulted in Prisoner of Honor, a film starring Richard Dreyfuss depicting the infamous Dreyfus Affair, which was produced by HBO in 1990. Callender also created and produced the British cult hit The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross which changed the face of late night television in the UK and launched the career of British TV personality Jonathan Ross.

During this time Callender was also executive producer of such films as the CBS movie Arch of Triumph (1985 film), starring Anthony Hopkins and Lesley-Anne Down; The Bretts, a 13-hour miniseries sponsored by Mobil Oil for Masterpiece Theatre; Timeslip for HBO starring John Taylor of Duran Duran; and the Grammy-nominated White City written by and starring The Who’s Peter Townshend for Vestron.

HBO NYC Productions

Under Callender's direction, HBO Showcase produced 27 films from 1988 to 1995, winning critical acclaim and some of HBO's highest ratings for its bold dramas. The division launched the directing career of Forest Whitaker and featured the emerging talents of Rosie Perez and Cuba Gooding, Jr., among others, while garnering HBO’s first Emmy Award for drama.

As the head of HBO Showcase, Callender was the driving force behind the creation of HBO NYC Productions, the movie division launched by HBO chairman Jeff Bewkes in January 1996. Under Callender’s direction, HBO NYC produced 13 distinguished films. It quickly made its mark in the industry with films like 1997’s Miss Evers' Boys, starring Alfre Woodard and Laurence Fishburne, winner of a Golden Globe Award and 5 Emmy Awards including Lead Actress, Made for Television Movie and the coveted President’s Award; and 1999’s A Lesson Before Dying, with Don Cheadle and Cicely Tyson, winner of a Made for Television Movie Emmy and the first honor ever bestowed to a TV movie by the National Board of Review.

HBO NYC produced other innovative films including: Emmy and Golden Globe nominee If These Walls Could Talk, executive produced by Demi Moore, who starred with Cher and Sissy Spacek; In the Gloaming, the Emmy-nominated film featuring the directorial debut of Christopher Reeve and starring Glenn Close; Subway Stories, executive produced by Jonathan Demme and Rosie Perez; Emmy-winner Always Outnumbered, based on the Walter Mosley book starring Laurence Fishburne; and When Trumpets Fade directed by John Irvin.

HBO Films

As the head of HBO Films, Callender was responsible for overseeing the development and production of all films, theatrical and for the network, as well as miniseries under the HBO Films banner.

Callender was also responsible for HBO’s joint venture with New Line Cinema – the distribution company Picturehouse (company), which in 2006 released Robert Altman’s highly acclaimed A Prairie Home Companion (film) and the award winning Pan's Labyrinth from acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro which won two Oscars at the 2006 Academy Awards, and Oscar favorite Ma vie en rose in 2007.

Under Callender, HBO Films earned a reputation for tackling sophisticated, prestigious projects that range from provocative independents such as the Oscar-nominated Maria Full of Grace; to epic movie events like Mike Nichols' multiple award-winning Angels in America (miniseries), based on Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play and starring Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson, to Fred Schepisi’s Emmy-winning and star-studded adaptation of Empire Falls (miniseries), based on Richard Russo’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Ed Harris, Helen Hunt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright Penn, Aidan Quinn and Theresa Russell.

Under Callender, the HBO Films slate also includes such acclaimed projects as Life Support (film) starring Queen Latifah, Longford (film) starring Jim Broadbent, Lackawanna Blues from director George Wolfe, Wit (film) starring Emma Thompson and directed by Mike Nichols, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name; 61*, produced and directed by Billy Crystal; Frank Pierson’s Conspiracy (film), starring Kenneth Branagh and Stanley Tucci; Boycott, starring Jeffrey Wright; Disappearing Acts, starring and produced by Wesley Snipes; Path to War, the last film directed by John Frankenheimer; Richard Loncraine’s The Gathering Storm (2002 film), with Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave as Winston and Clementine Churchill; Mira Nair’s Hysterical Blindness, starring Uma Thurman (for which she won the Golden Globe) and Juliette Lewis; Moises Kaufman’s The Laramie Project (film), a dramatization of the New York-based Tectonic Theater Project’s visit to Laramie, Wyoming, in the wake of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard; Mick Jackson’s Live from Baghdad (film), starring Michael Keaton and Helena Bonham Carter; Jane AndersonNormal, starring Jessica Lange and Tom Wilkinson, and Bruce Beresford’s And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, written by Larry Gelbart and starring Antonio Banderas.

Upon Callender’s departure Kary Antholis will become president, HBO Miniseries and Len Amato will become president, HBO Films, both reporting to Michael Lombardo, president, Programming Group and West Coast Operations.

Antholis has been senior vice president, HBO Films and Miniseries, since November 2004 and overseen the development and production of the HBO Films’ WIT and THE GATHERING STORM, as well as JOHN ADAMS, ANGELS IN AMERICA, GENERATION KILL and THE PACIFIC.

Amato has been senior vice president, HBO Films since March 2007 and served as executive producer on HBO Films’ RECOUNT. Prior to HBO, Amato served as president of Spring Creek Productions. Amato's producing credits include ANALYZE THIS, ANALYZE THAT, POSSESSION, RUMOR HAS IT, BLOOD DIAMOND and THE ASTRONAUT FARMER.

Honours and awards

With Callender at the helm, HBO Films has garnered numerous awards including 57 Emmy Awards, 18 Golden Globes and 4 Peabody Awards, 10 Humanitas awards, 2 Oscars, 6 Oscar nominations, the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the top award 4 out of the last 5 years at the Sundance Film Festival. HBO Films have won the Best Movie Emmy 14 times since 1993, while HBO miniseries have won the Best Miniseries Emmy 5 times in the last 9 years. It has won the Golden Globe for best movie or mini-series 7 out of the last 10 years.

In 2005, HBO Films received 2 Oscar nominations, Catalina Sandino Moreno in the Best Actress category for MARIA FULL OF GRACE and YESTERDAY as Best Foreign Language Film.

At the 2003 Cannes Film Festival HBO Films won top honors when ELEPHANT and director Gus Van Sant were awarded the Palme d'Or and Best Director prizes while American Splendor (film) captured the FIPRESCI International Film Critics Association Award.

For four out of the last five years, HBO Films has received a top award at the Sundance Film Festival: Rocket Science (2007 film) (Best Director Jeffrey Blitz, 2006) Maria Full Of Grace (Audience Award, 2004), American Splendor (Grand Jury Prize, 2003) and Real Women Have Curves (Audience Award, 2002).

Most recently, HBO Films’ Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee topped the winners at the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy competition with 6 awards – the most of any network – including Outstanding Made for Television Movie. Last year Elizabeth I, starring Helen Mirren which topped the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy competitions with 9 awards, including Outstanding Miniseries, and the HBO movie The Girl in the Café, received 3 awards, including the Outstanding Made-for-TV Movie Emmy.

Personal Honors

In 2002, Callender was the recipient of the Evelyn F. Burkey Award at the 54th Annual Writers Guild Awards, East for services to writers. In 2003, he was awarded the Anti-Defamation League’s Humanitarian Award, for his role in creating HBO films that have addressed various forms of discrimination, and the first ever Creative Coalition Visionary Award. Most recently, Callender was honored with the prestigious Geffen Distinction in Theater Award and the 2006 Kaiser Humanitas Prize for his continued work in the arts.

Callender serves on the boards of The Public Theater in NY, the LAByrinth Theater Company, the Creative Coalition and the American Friends of the National Film School; he is a Trustee of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the American Cinematheque, and an adviser to the UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Film and Television.

In June 2003, Callender was honored by HRH Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom when he was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list for his services to the UK film and television industries in the US.

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