Word has just gone out internally that Focus Features International is shuttering in December. There were 16 people who worked there, most of them will be out of jobs, and the London office is closing by year’s end. This is hardly a surprise, after Peter Schlessel was named the new head of Focus and supplanted topper James Schamus, and after that Andrew Karpen declined to relocate to the Universal lot and made his own plans to leave.
All the films that were greenlit under the former Focus regime will continue to be serviced and delivered to buyers when they are complete. Beyond that, Focus will use Universal Pictures International to distribute some of its films overseas, and some will be done independently using an outside sales agent. A lot of these Focus Features International staff will be at AFM, and will continue to sell the films already in the pipeline. So give them a pat on the back and buy them a drink, willya?