EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has hired Lakshmi Iyengar as VP Acquisitions from Focus Features and has internally promoted Alexander Zahn with the same title as the company gears up to attend the Toronto Film Festival, which starts September 7. Both will report to Joe Matukewicz, EVP Acquisitions for Sony.

The move was just announced via email by Steve Bersch, who runs Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions/Affirm Films/Stage 6. Here is the announcement sent out to employees this afternoon:

Good afternoon,

On the heels of the news that three of our films, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women55 Steps, and Disobedience are all official selections for the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, we wanted to formally recognize everyone’s hard work and share some updates to our Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) team.

Lakshmi Iyengar has joined us as vice president of acquisitions, from Focus Features, reporting to Joe Matukewicz. With over seven years in the industry, Lakshmi has most notably been instrumental in acquiringNocturnal Animals and Loving. She was also integral in the international acquisition of Mary Magdalene and the upcoming Sundance acquisition, Thoroughbred.

Our own Alexander Zahn has been promoted to vice president of acquisitions, also reporting to Joe. Zahn has worked nearly six years in SPWA acquisitions, and for over 10 years in the industry for companies including Viacom, 20th Century Fox, as well as casting film and television for Avy Kaufman. Zahn has been integral in acquiring titles like DopeBleed for This, and the upcoming Marshall for SPWA.

SPWA and its Stage 6 Films label has enjoyed notable success this past year with Arrival, which we released internationally, and Don’t Breathe which grossed $157 million worldwide. As we look ahead to exciting properties inOnly the Brave from Black Label Media, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women with Annapurna Pictures, the international release of the latest chapter of the Insidious franchise, the highly-anticipated continuation of Sicarioalso from Black Label Media — Sicario 2: Soldado, and All Saints from SPWA’s Affirm Films label, which opens next Friday, we want to thank everyone for their continued hard work and dedication to our business.

Please join us in congratulating Alex, and welcoming Lakshmi to the team.

Steve and Joe