1091 Media, the new owners of what had been known as The Orchard Film Group, told staff Friday that a new strategic direction at the company will include distributing fewer, more targeted movies each year and that some layoffs are in the offing.
Company COO and CFO Chad Blackwell and chief revenue officer Julie Dansker relayed the news to staff in a memo. The company had been reviewing all aspects of the business, with the assessment to right-size the company for efficiency and to promote growth.
The plan is to focus on distributing 4-6 highly curated films a year, the memo said. The reset will result in nine layoffs — two in New York and seven in Los Angeles — or about a quarter of the company’s current staff. Variety had the news first today.
“With our new leadership in place and our strategic vision set, we are focused on building our company in the most efficient and effective way possible. It is with that in mind, that we have made the difficult decision that a reduction in force is necessary to achieve optimal growth at 1091 and allow us to run more efficiently,” the memo began (read it in full below).
Daniel Stein and Joe Samberg, two of the original owners of The Orchard, were part of the group that acquired the film and TV division of The Orchard as the former parent company opted to focus on their music operations. In March, Paul Davidson, The Orchard’s Film & TV EVP, said he was leaving the company after the transaction was completed.
At Sundance, the new group made a pair of deals, acquiring Frédéric Tcheng’s documentary Halston and Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage’s Appalachian thriller Them That Follow and later added a third pickup out of Park City.
Here’s the memo
From: Chad Blackwell, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer and Julie Dansker, Chief Revenue Officer, 1091
With our new leadership in place and our strategic vision set, we are focused on building our company in the most efficient and effective way possible. It is with that in mind, that we have made the difficult decision that a reduction in force is necessary to achieve optimal growth at 1091 and allow us to run more efficiently.
We have a new strategic vision, which focuses on 4 to 6 traditional theatrical releases a year, continuing to build on a strong, curated slate of ancillary/non-theatrical titles. 1091 will continue to lean into categories at which they excel including documentary and action sports, strategic partnerships, and event based releases like last year’s hit, The Dawn Wall.
This realignment of our priorities will more effectively service our filmmakers and the broader content creator community in the next chapter of our growth.
As we continue to navigate an exciting evolving industry landscape and as new content platforms develop, we can say with certainty that 1091 will continue to collaborate and work closely with the independent film community and foster relationships with talented filmmakers. Our goal is to bring high-quality, curated film and television content to global audiences by developing partnerships and technology that help us do so in meaningful ways.
While days like these are hard for us and many of our colleagues, we are thankful to the entire staff for their hard work and dedication. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us directly.