×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto: Participant Preems ‘Fifth Estate,’ Sets Overseas Expansion

Post-WikiLeaks, producer plots projects on pedophile priests, Deepwater Horizon disaster

Participant Media continues to grow its profile with star-driven projects such as Toronto opening night WikiLeaks film “The Fifth Estate,” but the 9-year-old shingle has plenty of other weighty subjects in mind.

The Boston Globe investigation into pedophile priests and the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico are high priorities in feature development, as well as Ric Roman Waugh’s thriller “Currency.” Participant also expects to open offices in London, Doha and South America in the next 18 months.

“We feel as if there’s a good side to contagious diseases and retiring to India,” says CEO James Berk, referring to hits “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and “Contagion.” “They don’t look obvious at first glance. So we take a leap of faith on everything.”

With Benedict Cumberbatch portraying the polarizing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Participant hopes to continue to show that doing good can go along with seeing a return on investments. In addition to “Best Exotic” and “Contagion,” Participant saw solid returns from “The Help” and “Lincoln,” with the four grossing a combined $750 million worldwide.

“‘The Fifth Estate’ very much speaks to every aspect of our mission,” Berk says. “It’s timely and contemporary. This will put the conversation about WikiLeaks back into the zeitgeist.”

Participant produced “Estate” with DreamWorks and Disney is planning an Oct. 18 release.

Participant’s Toronto lineup also includes a pair of prominent docus — Errol Morris’ “The Unknown Known,” centering on Donald Rumsfeld, and Ron Howard’s “Made in America,” exploring the success of Jay Z.

Berk and founder-chairman Jeff Skoll will participate in the Industry Dialogues speaker series on Friday examining future of the film industry discussing their recently launched TV channel Pivot and digital site TakePart.com.

Berk says the launch of Pivot means Participant will be acquiring for both film and TV at the festival.

More Biz

  • Heather Parry Live Nation

    Live Nation Investigation of Heather Parry Also Targets Leakers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Over the past two weeks, the law firm of Paul Hastings LLP has been probing allegations reported by Variety last month that Heather Parry, the head of Live Nation Productions, had verbally abused employees and used offensive language in the workplace. But the lead investigator, Elena Baca, seems to be just as interested in uncovering [...]

  • Leslie Moonves

    Leslie Moonves to Pursue Arbitration for His $120 Million Severance From CBS

    Former CBS Corp. chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves will pursue an arbitration claim to fight CBS for the $120 million severance that he was denied last month when the company’s board of directors determined he was fired for cause. Moonves was ousted in September after multiple women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the longtime [...]

  • A view of the SK Telecom

    Korean OTT Players, SK Telecom Join Forces to Compete Against Netflix

    South Korea’s three major broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS have joined forces with the country’s leading telecom firm, SK Telecom, to launch a new video streaming platform. The move is regarded as a defensive reaction against the growing influence of foreign competitors, lead by Netflix. The broadcasters already jointly own Pooq, with MBC and SBS [...]

  • David Lubliner Moves to UTA From

    Veteran WME Agent David Lubliner to Join UTA

    William Morris Endeavor agent David Lubliner is departing the company for a post at United Talent Agency, individuals familiar with the move told Variety. The parting of ways was amicable, the insiders added. Lubliner was a veteran in WME’s motion picture literary department. Rumors of his exit had been floating since Hollywood reopened for the new [...]

  • Bruce Tufeld Dead: Hollywood Agent and

    Hollywood Agent and Manager Bruce Tufeld Dies at 66

    Bruce Tufeld, a Hollywood agent and manager who once repped stars like Rob Lowe, Laura Dern, and Kelsey Grammer, died Tuesday in Los Angeles as a result of complications from liver cancer. He was 66. The son of respected television announcer Richard “Dick” Tufeld and Adrienne Tufeld, Bruce began his career as an assistant at ICM [...]

  • R Kelly protest

    Protesters Rally Outside Sony Music Headquarters, Demand the Company Drop R. Kelly

    Standing in the cold with megaphones outside of Sony Music’s New York headquarters, a group of activists delivered the company, parent of Kelly’s longtime label RCA, a petition signed by over 217,000 people demanding that the singer be dropped from the label. The rally comes less than a week after a plane carrying a banner [...]

  • Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at DuArt

    Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at New York's DuArt Film Labs, Dies at 88

    Robert Smith, a longtime executive with New York’s DuArt Film Labs, died Jan. 11 in Montvale, N.J. He was 88. Smith spent some 62 years with DuArt, the film processing and post-production facility founded in 1922 in the penthouse of an automobile garage in Midtown. Smith rose to president of DuArt before retiring in 2015. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content