Shutt, Jones to handle Skoll's production house
Participant Prods. has hired marketing specialists Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones to strategize and orchestrate marketing at Jeff Skoll’s socially conscious shingle.Each will hold the title of exec VP of marketing and report directly to Participant prexy Ricky Strauss. The duo will be based at Participant’s headquarters in Beverly Hills. “In addition to overseeing all marketing services, they will play a leadership role in strategic planning, new business development and acquisition integration as we expand to other media channels,” said CEO Jeff Berk. Participant was founded three years ago by former eBay exec Jeff Skoll with the aim of backing films with a social message. Company co-financed pics including the features “Good Night, and Good Luck” and “Syriana” and docu “An Inconvenient Truth.” Shutt and Jones will begin work at Participant by marketing Brett Morgen’s “Chicago 10,” a documentary about the antiwar protests at the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention. Pic’s opening the Sundance Film Festival with a Jan. 18 world premiere. Participant’s in production on two other docus — Jonathan Demme’s portrait of former President Jimmy Carter, “He Comes in Peace,” and Errol Morris’s recap on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, “S.O.P.,” which is co-financed and will be released by Sony Pictures Classics. The shingle’s also producing “The Kite Runner,” co-financed with Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, produced by DreamWorks and distributed by Paramount Vantage. Shutt and Jones met over two decades ago in the publicity department of Paramount Pictures in New York City and formed their own consulting firm, Shutt-Jones Communications. They went on to hold top marketing slots at Columbia, TriStar and Universal, where they ventured into independent production and produced “Blue Crush” with Imagine.