'Inconvenient Truth' exec leaves post
In a sign that Paramount Vantage is broadening its focus to encompass genre fare as well as arthouse pics, former New Line exec Guy Stodel has been tapped to succeed Amy Israel as exec VP of production and acquisitions for the specialty label.
Israel, who spearheaded the pickups of films such as the doc “An Inconvenient Truth,” is ankling her post at the studio. She will be replaced by former New Line senior VP Stodel, who oversaw two “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” films for the now-streamlined label.
Israel was also responsible for bringing this year’s Sundance doc “American Teen” to Vantage and overseeing production on two Oscar heavyweights, produced in partnership with Miramax Films and Scott Rudin: “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood.”
In his new post, Stodel will report to Vantage prexy Nick Meyer.
Vantage has undergone a number of changes in the past year. John Lesher, who revamped the studio’s specialty division, left Vantage in January to take the No. 2 creative post at Paramount under chairman Brad Grey. Meyer subsequently took over the label, which has since been largely quiet after making such a splash in its first two years of operation. Last month, the Vantage label was folded into the studio, which took over its marketing and distribution functions.
Vantage insiders said Israel, an eight-year Weinstein-era Miramax exec, learned of her fate on Friday via an internal tracking board.
During her tenure at Miramax, Israel shepherded films including “The Others,” “Il Postino,” “Kids” and “Swingers.” As an indie producer, she produced Mira Nair’s “Hysterical Blindness” for HBO.
“I’m proud of having been a part of building Paramount Vantage from the ground up under John Lesher, making great films,” Israel said. “I love the company we built. It’s not the same company. (It) is evolving in a different direction. I wish Vantage the best.”
Although the moves signal that Vantage is moving more in the genre direction, Meyer insists the studio is pursuing a more “eclectic and elastic” slate. “We are not abandoning the specialty business. We are too committed to it,” Meyer said. “As the company evolves, we need to morph and mutate in order to survive in a challenging environment.”
Israel joined Paramount Classics in January 2006 from visual effects and animation house the Orphanage, where she was head of production. At Vantage, she also oversaw the upcoming pics “Defiance” and “The Duchess.”
Stodel acquired “The Sea Inside” at New Line specialty label Fine Line. Before joining the company, Stodel, who is known for his strong dealmaking skills, was VP of acquisitions and co-productions at Lionsgate.
Singling out for praise Stodel’s “creative instincts and success at spotting unique and dynamic material,” Meyer said, “His leadership and experience will be a valuable asset as we continue to streamline our specialty unit to position it for future growth opportunities in the U.S. and abroad.”