After a thorough search for a new chief executive to steer Participant Media
through challenging times, Jeff Skoll
’s global company dedicated to inspiring social change has chosen 55-year-old veteran David Linde as its new CEO. He starts at the Beverly Hills-based company on November 1.
While Skoll gains an experienced corporate executive with deep business knowledge of how the global film industry functions, especially in China, he also is bringing on an independent filmmaker. Linde has been running international production company Lava Bear Films, which he launched with backing from Reliance Entertainment after his stint as co-chairman of Universal Pictures after his executive tenure at Focus Features, Good Machine and Miramax. At Lava Bear, Linde executive produced Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu’s “Biutiful,” Zhang Yimou’s “The Flowers of War,” Baltasar Kormakur’s “The Deep,” and Jonas Cuaron’s FIPRESCI Award-winning “Desierto,” which premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.
Linde will continue to work with his Lava Bear president and partner Tory Metzger on the company’s 2016 release slate, which includes “The Forest” (Focus Features), “Shut In” (EuropaCorp), “Desierto” (STX Entertainment), and “Story Of Your Life” (Paramount) as well as Lava Bear’s development slate of over 15 titles and upcoming productions.
For his part Linde can help to focus Participant’s lofty mission, as the financing and producing company straddles the independent feature and documentary and Hollywood and television worlds, including neophyte network Pivot, which features “Hit Record on TV with Joseph Gordon Levitt” and comedy “Please Like Me” but is struggling to find an audience, and an ongoing partnership with Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks.
Skoll took over running Participant six months ago after the abrupt departure of chief executive, Jim Berk.
At this point Participant boasts a burgeoning slate of 12 films in 2015, including fall festival buzz titles “Spotlight” from Open Road, Netflix/Bleecker Street’s Cary Fukunaga feature “Beasts of No Nation,” Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies,” David Gordon Green’s “Our Brand is Crisis,” starring Sandra Bullock and produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov. On the doc side are Bernardo Ruiz’ documentary “Kingdom of Shadows,” and Davis Guggenheim’s “He Named Me Malala” (Fox Searchlight), Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence,” his follow-up to Oscar-nominated “The Act of Killing,” and “Best of Enemies,” Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon’s look at the 1968 TV debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr.
Upcoming for Participant in 2016 are Peter Berg’s “Deepwater Horizon,” Juan Antonio Bayona’s “A Monster Calls,” and Morgan Neville’s “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.”