Lauded Docu Helmer R.J. Cutler Launches This Machine Production Shingle With Industrial Media Backing

Matt Sayles

EXCLUSIVE: As his superb Showtime documentary Belushi premieres next month and with Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry upcoming from Apple TV+, R.J. Cutler has launched the production company This Machine, with an investment from Industrial Media. Cutler sealed the deal with Industrial Media’s CEO Eli Holzman and President Aaron Saidman.

In the new company, Industrial Media will have an ownership stake. Producer Elise Pearlstein will join Cutler’s This Machine as EVP of Documentaries, and Devon Hammonds — who had been Industrial Media SVP of Development & Current Programming – East Coast — will now serve in a dual role as EVP of Non-Fiction TV for This Machine. Hammonds’ focus will be returning series development for the new company. Trevor Smith, Cutler’s longtime producing partner, will serve as producer for the company’s original content.

In in its first talent deal, 14-time Emmy Award-nominee Jane Cha Cutler has signed a first look with This Machine. Cha Cutler and Holzman first worked together on the Bravo series Project Runway, which Holzman created with Cha Cutler.

“R.J. is a gifted filmmaker and a longtime friend,” said Industrial Media’s Holzman. “Aaron and I both have long admired his creative range and have envied his eye for compelling stories that reach broad audiences. We are so excited to be a part of the promising future that This Machine has in store.”

Saidman added: “Our shared creative enthusiasm and commitment to excellence in production makes for an excellent partnership and we greatly look forward to welcoming This Machine into the Industrial Media family.”

For his part, Cutler expressed “deep admiration for Eli and Aaron and the companies they have built. The opportunity to build a team to expand the work that Trevor and I have been doing for years is a dream come true and we are thrilled to have this new platform to tell high quality stories about the times in which we live.”

The investment gives Cutler the backing to add to a distinguished list of credits that includes The War Room, A Perfect Candidate, The September Issue, The World According to Dick Cheney, Thin and Listen to Me Marlon. His small screen work includes American High, Freshman Diaries, 30 Days and many others. Scripted credits include hatching and directing the series Nashville, and directing If I Stay. He also created, writes, directs and produces the podcast The Oval Office Tapes. Cutler won two Emmys and has been Oscar-nominated. His deal was brokered by by Lighthouse Management & Media, CAA and Jeanne Newman at HJTH.

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