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Netflix Defines Its Indie Future as Annapurna Film Head Ivana Lombardi Defects

After Matt Brodlie's exit to Disney+, Lisa Nishimura builds her independent film division at Netflix with the hire of Annapurna's head of film.


Annapurna Pictures’ president of film Ivana Lombardi is leaving for a new job as Netflix’s director of independent film, where she’ll oversee titles like the upcoming sequel to hit teen rom-com “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”

Lombardi joins Ian Bricke, who holds the same title, at the indie division. Like Bricke, she’ll report to Lisa Nishimura, VP of independent film and documentary features, when she starts the job November 6.

Nishimura was promoted to oversee the indie division in March. Prior to that, the division was led by Bricke and Matt Brodlie, who left Netflix to join Disney+ in June. Before Nishimura moved into her new role, the duo reported to Original Film head Scott Stuber and had full greenlight authority for all films budgeted under $10 million. These included titles like Tamara Jenkins’ “Private Life,” starring Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn as well as made-for-streaming titles like Marja-Lewis Ryan’s heroin drama “6 Balloons.”

Since then, Netflix’s indie division has grown and morphed. There are the marquee titles, which are supervised by Stuber with Original Film VP Tendo Nagenda, such as Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman.” Meantime, the independent film division produces titles like Sundance 2019 selection  “I Am Mother,” starring Hillary Swank and Rose Byrne, and recent Fantastic Fest premiere Jim Mickle’s “In the Shadow of the Moon” and Brad Anderson’s thriller “Fractured.”

It also produces a significant number of platform-exclusive films including teen smash “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (and its upcoming sequel, “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You”), “Always Be My Maybe,” and the upcoming “The Last Days of American Crime,” Olivier Megaton’s adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name.

The move to Netflix will mean an increase in volume for Lombardi. Annapurna produced around four films during each of the two years Lombardi was at the company. During her tenure as film chief, Annapurna released Olivia Wilde’s acclaimed “Booksmart” and Richard Linklater’s box-office flop “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”

Lombardi joined Annapurna from Peter Chernin’s Chernin Entertainment, where she developed and produced films such as “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” directed by Tim Burton.

She’s the second of Megan Ellison’s executives to depart for the streamer this year. It’s not clear who will replace her, and Annapurna still hasn’t announced a successor to Jillian Longnecker, who left her post as Annapurna’s president of physical production over the summer to become a director of original series at Netflix.

Their departures come during a time of change at Annapurna. At one point, Annapurna considered bankruptcy following a string of box-office bombs before Ellison’s father, billionaire Larry Ellison, stepped in to help. In August, it resolved more than $200 million in debt and began to retool its film strategy.

How Annapurna deals with the Lombardi and Longnecker vacancies could signal the way the company intends to move forward. Over the last two years, it expanded beyond production and financing into the business of marketing and distribution during an especially tough time at the box office for arthouse films.

This represents the latest in studio talent moving to streamers. Also on October 14, former ABC Studios Patrick Moran signed an overall deal with Amazon.

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