MasterClass Hires Ben Cotner, Formerly With Netflix and A24, as VP of Creative

Documentary filmmaker and producer Ben Cotner 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, the former HBO exec who joined MasterClass a year ago.

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Cotner joined indie studio A24 in 2019 as head of documentaries where he oversaw the production of “Val” (for Amazon), “Home” Season 2 (Apple TV+) as well as several films currently in post-production including Morgan Neville’s untitled Steve Martin project for Apple TV+. He will continue to see many of these projects through as a producer or executive producer, according to MasterClass.

Cotner comes to MasterClass on the heels of premiering two films at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival: “Underrated: Stephen Curry” directed by Pete Nicks, and “The Deepest Breath,” directed by Laura McGann. The films were produced by A24 and will be released, respectively, by Apple TV+ and Netflix.

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

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, about the case to overturn California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage, was released that same year by HBO.

MasterClass, launched in 2015, sells subscription-based access to more than 150 online courses led by experts and celebs 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 had a reported valuation of $2.75 billion after its most recent round of funding in 2021.

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