Focus Features International Closing at End of Year

Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images

Division's 16 employees will be laid off

Focus Features International will close its London-based operations at the end of December and has notified the 16 employees that they will be terminated.

The announcement was made on the first day of the American Film Market, where FFI will continue to sell international territories on existing titles.

Parent Universal Studios launched a restructuring of Focus in early October. Alison Thompson (pictured above) has been president of the division for several years.

“All films that were greenlit by Focus will continue to be serviced and delivered to the buyers when they are complete,” a spokesperson said. “Going forward, Focus will be leveraging Universal Pictures International (UPI) to distribute some films and some Focus Features films will be distributed independently using an outside sales agent.”

Focus Features employed over 100 employees prior to the restructuring, triggered by the Oct. 2 firing of CEO James Schamus. Pinkslips began going out on Oct. 21, mostly to the 44 employees in New York.

SEE ALSO: Focus Features Layoffs Have Begun

Focus employs 43 staffers in Los Angeles.

Focus co-CEO Andrew Karpen announced on Oct. 15 that he would depart. He was offered the opportunity to stay with the company but chose not to relocate from New York to Los Angeles.

The majority of the team from FilmDistrict will take over Focus operations in the restructuring, with chief Peter Schlessel replacing Schamus.

Karpen will transition into an advisory role for a short time when Schlessel takes over in January.

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  1. EK says:

    Not unexpected but bonehead timing by Universal considering that the AFM is underway and the great Focus International team is now faced with a sales effort in the face of their departure next month. Buyers are bound to be wary.

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