Open Road Films has a shake-up in its marketing ranks. Jason Cassidy is exiting as Chief of Marketing, and Jonathan Helfgot has been hired as President of Marketing. Helfgot will report directly to Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg. Cassidy is the second significant exec to leave the company after Peter Lawson exited late last year. Both of them were very involved in Spotlight, which became the first Best Picture Oscar winner for Ortenberg’s 5-year-old indie distribution company.
“Jonathan is a widely respected and rising star marketer and will bring a boldly strategic and innovative point of view to our campaigns,” said Ortenberg. “He is a proven leader with big ideas and I am thrilled to bring him on board.”
Helfgot joins Open Road from Rec Room, an original and branded content studio, which he founded and at which he most recently served as managing partner. There Helfgot and his partners worked with clients including Sony Pictures, Fox, Warner Bros, HBO, Netflix, Paramount, Universal, Disney and FX and has digital series in development with networks including Comedy Central and E! Entertainment. The remaining Rec Room partners will continue to oversee these projects under a new banner.
Before founding Rec Room, Helfgot was exec veep of Worldwide Marketing for Anschutz Film Group and senior veep, Marketing Strategy & Research at 20th Century Fox. At Anschutz Film Group, Helfgot oversaw all marketing, advertising, and publicity efforts for Walden Media and Bristol Bay Productions, and managed Walden’s branding strategies across multiple platforms. Helfgot worked on more than 150 campaigns for Fox films that included Avatar, Borat, The Devil Wears Prada, The Simpsons Movie, X-Men, Ice Age, Night At The Museum, and Alvin And The Chipmunks.
Said Helfgot: “Open Road Films is a dynamic studio that has released some of the highest-quality films in recent memory. With an incredible slate in front of the company, I am thrilled to join Tom Ortenberg and his team, and excited to work with one of the best marketing departments in town to create engaging and ground-breaking campaigns.”