EXCLUSIVE: Alison Lani Genest has been promoted to Vice President of Development at Ascendant Entertainment, the independent production company of veteran studio chief, Rob Friedman. In her new role, she will oversee all aspects of development across Ascendant’s growing slate of films and series.
Genest came to the promotion after working at Friedman’s side as a development executive since 2020. She cut her teeth in the business developing and producing scripted digital media and music videos, prior to Ascendant serving as creative executive at Fisher Stevens’ former production company, Insurgent Media.
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“I feel incredibly lucky to have found a home where I have the freedom to champion new voices, seek out creative partners, and find avenues to develop projects across both film and television,” the rising exec told Deadline. “It’s an honor and a privilege to work and learn under a truly exceptional leader and entrepreneur like Rob.”
Friedman called Genest “a hard worker with good instincts and an eye for interesting material,” adding that he’s “excited for what the future holds.”
Spearheading the development and production of features, television programming, and streaming content, Ascendant is focused on elevated commercial content with broad appeal. Friedman launched the company after serving as Co-Chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group from 2012-2017. He came there following the studio’s acquisition of Twilight distributor Summit Entertainment, which he’d headed up as Co-Chairman and CEO beginning in 2007.
During his tenure, Lionsgate became the first studio outside the traditional majors to generate over $1 billion at the U.S. box office, a feat it repeated two years in a row. Lionsgate also notably received the highest number of Academy Award nominations in his final year of leadership at the studio — 26 in total — with six wins for La La Land and two for Hacksaw Ridge.
Prior to Summit Entertainment, Friedman spent 27 years at Warner Bros, holding roles including President of Worldwide Advertising and Publicity. He moved to Paramount Pictures as Vice Chairman of the Paramount Motion Picture Group in 1997, there creating Paramount’s specialty film division, Paramount Classics.