BREAKING: Since forming 11 years ago, Focus Features has been a relative bastion of stability. That will remain so as CEO James Schamus has re-upped for a new term, and Andrew Karpen, president since 2006, has been promoted to co-CEO. Schamus will remain a creative catalyst for the company, while Karpen oversees the global business strategy for the company and will continue to spearhead the company’s digital initiatives. Together, they run all aspects of the company, including acquisitions and worldwide production, marketing, and distribution. Karpen continues to report to Schamus, who hatched the label with David Linde in 2002. Schamus reports to Universal co-chairman Donna Langley.
These are stand-up guys who come to the Croisette with the hottest project in Hollywood, and one which they are not selling here, at least not yet. That’s 50 Shades Of Grey, the adaptation of the steamy novel that has sold 70 million copies worldwide, and which Langley won in a huge multi-million dollar bidding battle, and then placed it with taste-maker label Focus, to be produced by Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca. That project is still forming and while there might be some hot and bothered whispering here at the Croisette (it’s unclear whether its partner, Universal, will let any territories go), the focus here for International head of Distribution and Sales Alison Thompson is on Mike Leigh’s new film, which stars Timothy Spall as the painter J.M.W. Turner; the Asif Kapadia-directed docu on Amy Winehouse; and new Focus titles that the Michael Cuesta-directed fact-based thriller Kill The Messenger with Jeremy Renner, and the Andrew MacDonald-directed undersea adventure film Black Sea with Jude Law. FFI will also world premiere Ruairi Robinson’s thriller The Last Days On Mars, starring Liev Schreiber, Olivia Williams, and Romola Garai in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight section. READ MORE »
Deadline told you Aug. 15 that Focus Features would name Vendome’s Jeb Brody its new production president replacing John Lyons, who left to produce films and focus on philanthropic pursuits. Focus just made it official. Here’s the release:
LOS ANGELES (August 24th, 2011) – Jeb Brody is joining Focus Features as the worldwide film companys president of production. Focus CEO James Schamus and president Andrew Karpen, to whom Mr. Brody will report, made the announcement today.
Mr. Brody, who begins work next month, will be stepping into the production presidency post being vacated by John Lyons, who is returning to working as a film producer as well as devoting more time to his philanthropic endeavors. While Mr. Brody will be based in Focus West Coast offices, he will oversee the global Focus production team already in place in New York, London, and Los Angeles.
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EXCLUSIVE: As John Lyons prepares to leave his production president post to focus on philanthropy, Focus Features top executives James Schamus and Andrew Karpen are in talks with Jeb Brody to replace him. Brody, who is currently president of production for producer/financer Vendome Pictures, is well regarded in the indie sphere. He was a producer of Sunshine Cleaning and was the executive producer of Little Miss Sunshine while he worked at Big Beach. Brody exec produced Vencome’s first two film productions, Source Code and Larry Crowne. Lyons made public his plan right after the Cannes Film Festival.
Lyons is leaving to devote more time to his pet project, the Edible Schoolyard/NYC. He is the founder and board chairman of the charity, which mixes his passion for the environment and growing food at the schools. He will oversee an expansion of the program to schools in the five New York boroughs, and he’ll also continue his work on the board of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Foundation, which is the national program for the Edible Schoolyard initative. He’s also on the board of GrowNYC, a non-profit that promotes environmental awareness and runs the city’s Greenmarket programs. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In a post-Cannes surprise, John Lyons will step down from his post as president of production at the end of August. He’s been working on an exit strategy for a little while with Focus’ top execs James Schamus and Andrew Karpen. Lyons wants to return to his producing career, and also spend more time pursuing his philanthropic pet project, the Edible Schoolyard/NYC. Lyon is the founder and board chairman of the charity, which mixes his passion for the environment and growing food at the schools. He will devote more time as the program spreads to schools in the five New York boroughs. Lyons also serves on the board of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Foundation, which is the national program for the Edible Schoolyard initative, and he’s also on the board of GrowNYC, a non-profit that promotes environmental awareness and runs the city’s Greenmarket programs.
Lyons joined Focus in 2003 and from the Gotham offices oversaw all development and production and the Focus production staff in the New York, L.A. and London offices. He steered films from this year’s Cary Fukunaga-directed Jane Eyre, the Joe Wright-directed Hanna, and past films include the Ang Lee-directed Brokeback Mountain, Gus Van Sant-directed Milk, the Fernando Merielles-directed The Constant Gardener, and the Coen Brothers-directed Burn After Reading and A Serious Man. Also the just wrapped pics: the Paul Weitz-directed adaptation of the memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, with Robert De Niro and Paul Dano, and the Lone Scherfig-directed One Day with Anne Hathaway and Jim Strugess. Focus is just starting production on the Lorene Scafaria-directed Seeking A Friend at the End of the Universe with Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, and are about to get going on the Roger Michell-directed Hyde Park on the Hudson with Bill Murray and Laura Linney and they’re prepping the Wes Anderson-directed Moonrise Kingdom with Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman.
At this point, they haven’t figured out how to replace Lyons. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features has closed an acquisition deal for worldwide rights for Pariah, the Dee Rees-directed coming of age story of a 17-year old African American teen from Brooklyn trying to find her place in the world, and coming to … Read More »