EXCLUSIVE: The 103 employees of Focus Features knew layoffs were inevitable when Peter Schlessel took over the label with the intention to meld the unit with his FilmDistrict staff. That doesn’t make it any easier as it has unfolded today. I don’t have a head count, but staffers are being informed in New York and Los Angeles whether or not they are being let go in the restructuring. Marketing, distribution and publicity are the areas getting hit hardest. This comes after my colleague Nancy Tartaglione reported a little while ago that the London office of Focus Features International is likely to shutter. “It’s the saddest day here,” said a source stating the obvious. The intention is to eliminate staff duplication, and the exit time of those being laid off will vary. Those who are working on the Focus Oscar campaigns for Dallas Buyers Club, the Julian Assange documentary We Steal Secrets and The Place Beyond The Pines, will stay on until those tasks are carried out. I’ll let you know the head count when I confirm it.
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