March 21, 2023


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Masterclass hires Ben Kotner as VP Creative

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Documentary filmmaker and producer Ben Kotner has joined celebrity-driven online learning platform Masterclass as vice president of creative, leading the company’s creative and development teams.

Cotner reports to chief content officer Len Amato, a former HBO executive who joined Masterclass a year ago.

Cotner joined indie studio A24 as head of documentaries in 2019 where he directed “Val” (for Amazon), “Home” season 2 (Apple TV+) as well as several films currently in post-production such as Morgan Neville’s Untitled Steve Martin. Supervised the construction. Project for Apple TV+. According to Masterclass, he will continue to look at many of these projects as a producer or executive producer.

Cotner attended the masterclass when two films premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival: “Underrated: Stephen Curry,” directed by Pete Nix, and “The Deepest Breath,” directed by Laura McGann. The films are produced by A24 and will be released by Apple TV+ and Netflix respectively.

Prior to A24, Cotner served as director of original documentaries at Netflix from 2015-19. While at Streamer, he served as executive producer on award-winning films and series including Making a Murderer, “Wild Wild Country,” “Salt Fat Acid Hit,” “Last Chance You,” “The 13th,” “Amanda Knox,” “The Staircase,” “The Keepers,” “Chasing Coral,” “Take Your Pills,” “Dogs,” “Bobby Kennedy for President,” “Five Come Back,” “Ugly Delicious” and “Abstract.”

The documentary film “The Case Against 8”, which Cotner co-directed with Ryan White, premiered at Sundance in 2014 where it won the directing award. The documentary on the case to overturn California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage was released by HBO that year.

Launched in 2015, MasterClass sells membership-based access to more than 150 online courses led by experts including James Cameron, Shonda Rhimes, Ken Burns, Jodie Foster, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Nas, Gordon Ramsay, Bob Iger, Metallica, Issa Rae , RuPaul, and Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.

San Francisco-based Masterclass is reported to be valued at $2.75 billion after its most recent round of funding in 2021.

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