The specialty label Fox Searchlight announced tonight that Claudia Lewis has stepped down from the company where she has spent 21 years and has headed production since 2006. This was announced by Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula. Exec veeps of Production Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum will serve as acting department heads assuming responsibilities for Fox Searchlight’s slate of films as well as all aspects of production for the company.
Said Gilula and Utley, “We are grateful for Claudia’s pioneering role as one of Searchlight’s first executives and her tireless efforts making Fox Searchlight a powerhouse in independent film. Her leadership over the last two decades has resulted in a track record of success including films such as Birdman, Wild, Black Swan, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Juno and The Full Monty, which was FSL’s first Best Picture nominee. Claudia’s keen insight and creativity will surely be missed. We wish her all the success in the world in the next phase of her career.”
Says Lewis: “I’ve cherished my years at Fox Searchlight and couldn’t be more proud of the films we have nurtured and the extraordinary filmmakers with whom we have worked. I’m honored to have made films with artists like Alexander Payne, Danny Boyle, Darren Aronofsky, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Jason Reitman, Jim Sheridan, Marc Webb, Jean-Marc Vallée and countless other filmmakers from a global community of international independent filmmakers. It has been particularly gratifying to work with both seasoned auteurs and vibrant young directors making their first films at a Hollywood studio. I’m now excited to make a change, and to challenge myself and my creative instincts with a new chapter in my career. I’m also thrilled to have hired and mentored a wonderful team at Searchlight who will maintain our commitment to distinctive auteur filmmaking.”
Lewis became FSL President of Production in January 2006. Among the upcoming films she shepherded are Marc Webb’s Gifted, Craig Johnson’s Wilson and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. They are in preproduction on the Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris-directed Battle of the Sexes with Emma Stone playing Billie Jean King and Steve Carell Bobby Fisher; and Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. Past pics she has shepherded include Best Picture winner Birdman, Wild, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Descendants, 127 Hours, (500) Days of Summer, Juno, The Savages, The Last King of Scotland, and many others. Prior to joining Fox Searchlight, Lewis was a producer with Addis Wechsler and was Vice President of Production at Avenue Pictures, where she oversaw production of the The Player and Drugstore Cowboy.