Imagine Entertainment has promoted Karen Lunder to president of Imagine Features, the company’s chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard announced on Thursday.
In her new position, Lunder will continue to oversee the company’s feature film production and development. Lunder joined Imagine in the film division in 2017 and most recently served as the company’s executive vice president of production, which she was promoted to last August.
“It’s an exciting time to be at Imagine and to be a part of such a powerhouse group of people,” Lunder said in a statement. “Imagine has long been an important home for filmmakers and talent and I’m thrilled to [be] working with Brian and Ron to expand on the ways these exceptional storytellers can bring their ideas to the screen.”
Lunder is currently overseeing production of “Hillbilly Elegy,” which Ron Howard is directing for Netflix. She is also producing alongside Grazer and Howard. “Hillbilly Elegy” sold to Netflix in a competitive situation earlier this year and it is heading into production this summer. It is the first of a slate of projects that Imagine is developing in-house under their independent model.
Lunder has been at the forefront of building a diverse slate of films in-house for Imagine, overseeing the joint venture with Animal Logic for animated and hybrid films while also growing the company’s pipeline of studio live-action films.
The company said that some of its priorities moving forward include Andrew Adamson’s live-action adaptation of “Curious George,” the David Gordon Green- directed reboot of “Friday Night Lights” and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut “Tick, Tick…Boom!,” an adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s musical.
“Karen has been the driving force in expanding our film slate within our new independent model,” Grazer and Howard said in a statement. “She has great creative instincts and shares our values for the importance of talent relationships and storytelling. We are excited for what is to come under her leadership and vision.”
Lunder came to Imagine from FilmNation Entertainment, where she was executive vice president of production and helped build their production arm. She executive produced Denis Villeneuve’s Academy Award-nominated hit “Arrival,” John Lee Hancock’s critically acclaimed drama “The Founder,” and produced Fox Searchlight’s “Gifted,” directed by Marc Webb and starring Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate and Mckenna Grace.
She also developed and co-produced Gavin Hood’s 2016 political thriller “Eye In The Sky” starring Helen Mirren.
Previously, Lunder was president of production at Gil Netter Productions, where she developed and oversaw an ambitious slate of book adaptations including “Marley & Me” and “The Blind Side.” Prior to that she headed up development for Landscape Entertainment, developing and producing a slate of comedies including Betty Thomas’ teen comedy “John Tucker Must Die.” She began her career in the independent film business in New York.