Mike Fleming

buffyEXCLUSIVE: Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones are out as heads of marketing at Participant Media. They leave Friday after being there for more than eight of the company’s 10 years, a milestone Participant hits after being formed by eBay founder Jeff Skoll, with Jim Berk as CEO. Shutt and Jones grew up in features, together running marketing ParticipantMedia_logofor TriStar and Universal, and they helped Participant market with social media campaigns issue-oriented films that include The Help and Lincoln, and the Oscar-winning The Inconvenient Truth and The Cove, Good Night, And Good Luck, and Syriana, and Waiting For Superman. Participant has evolved into a more diversified company and that is why this is happening. I’ve confirmed the exit, which was attributed to a restructuring, and officially I’m told it was a mutual decision to part ways. The company will hire a new marketing head who’ll come in as senior vice president, reporting to feature and documentary heads Jonathan King and Diane Weyermann.

Insiders said that the company was originally envisioned as a film-centric company devoted to pictures that could become part of a social action campaign or highlight a good cause. That has led them to other venues. They launched the cable channel Pivot last August, and just committed to a second season of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HITRECORD On TV. They’ve also got a social action platform called Take Part, which is an activism arm for its productions. Upcoming is Chavez, which premiered in Berlin and will play SXSW; the JC Chandor-directed The Most Violent Year, starring Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac and Albert Brooks, which is in production in New York; the Lasse Hallstrom-directed The 100 Foot Journey with Helen Mirren in post; and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 with Richard Gere joining the cast.

People tell me Shutt and Jones know what they are doing, and they will stay together as a team and refocus on film campaigns, probably in the capacity of consultants.

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