×

1091 Media Announces Layoffs (EXCLUSIVE)

Indie studio 1091,  formerly known as The Orchard, is laying off nine employees or roughly 25% of its staff as it moves in a new strategic direction that will see the company release fewer films. The cuts will be across the company and will include reduction in marketing, distribution, and other areas.

The layoffs come roughly three months after the company was sold by Sony Music to Daniel Stein and Joe Samberg, principals of 1091 Media. The two had been original investors in the Orchard. After 1091 took over the studio, they embarked on a review of the business operations and determined that they needed to adapt a new plan that will focus on distributing between four to six theatrical releases a year. Previously, the company had released as many as 15 films annually, and the new owners determined that it was better to take a more targeted approach, one that enabled them to devote more time and resources to a more curated selection of films.

In a memo to staff, 1091 chief operating officer Chad Blackwell and chief revenue officer Julie Dansker wrote, “With our new leadership in place and our strategic vision set, we are focused on building our company in the most efficient and effective way possible. It is with that in mind, that we have made the difficult decision that a reduction in force is necessary to achieve optimal growth at 1091 and allow us to run more efficiently.”

The new owners rebranded the company as 1091 in April. Paul Davidson, who led the company for five years, left when the sale was finalized. A team of several executives, including Blackwell and Dansker, are overseeing operations.

Under the Orchard banner, the studio’s past films include “What We Do in the Shadows,” “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” “The Hero,” “Neruda,” and “The Hero.” Upcoming releases include Werner Herzog’s “Meeting Gorbachev,” a look at the former Soviet Union leader, and “Halston,” the story of the minimalist fashion designer of the same name.

Here’s the full memo:

Dear Team,

With our new leadership in place and our strategic vision set, we are focused on building our company in the most efficient and effective way possible. It is with that in mind, that we have made the difficult decision that a reduction in force is necessary to achieve optimal growth at 1091 and allow us to run more efficiently.

We have a new strategic vision, which focuses on 4 to 6 traditional theatrical releases a year, continuing to build on a strong, curated slate of ancillary/non-theatrical titles. 1091 will continue to lean into categories at which they excel including documentary and action sports, strategic partnerships, and event based releases like last year’s hit, The Dawn Wall.

This realignment of our priorities will more effectively service our filmmakers and the broader content creator community in the next chapter of our growth.

As we continue to navigate an exciting evolving industry landscape and as new content platforms develop, we can say with certainty that 1091 will continue to collaborate and work closely with the independent film community and foster relationships with talented filmmakers. Our goal is to bring high-quality, curated film and television content to global audiences by developing partnerships and technology that help us do so in meaningful ways.

While days like these are hard for us and many of our colleagues, we are thankful to the entire staff for their hard work and dedication. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us directly.

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Russ Tamblyn's Career Had Legs After Childhood

    With an acting career that spans work for Cecil B. DeMille and Joseph Losey to Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch, Russ Tamblyn’s creativity and longevity is proof that there’s life after child stardom. In Tamblyn’s case, there’s also been a bounty of juicy film and TV roles long after his legendary legs no longer kicked [...]

  • Olivia Wilde Booksmart Director

    Film News Roundup: Olivia Wilde to Direct Holiday Comedy for Universal

    In today’s film news roundup, Olivia Wilde has landed another directing gig following “Booksmart” and revenge thriller “Seaside” and “Woodstock: The Directors Cut” get August release dates. PROJECT LAUNCH Related The Orchard Head Content Executive Paul Davidson Steps Down Orchard Film Rebrands as 1091, Sets 'Meeting Gorbachev' as First Release Olivia Wilde will direct and [...]

  • Choas Charles Mansion and the CIA

    Amazon Studios Takes Film Rights to Manson-Centered Drama 'Chaos' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the grisly murders executed by the followers of Charles Manson, Amazon Studios has optioned film rights to a nonfiction title about a journalist who spent decades obsessively following the case. The studio will adapt “Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties,” from [...]

  • Sword of Trust

    Marc Maron on 'Sword of Trust,' Lynn Shelton and Conspiracy Theories

    Marc Maron has interviewed everyone from Bruce Springsteen to President Obama, so he’s probably learned a few things about being a good interview. Of course, as he points out, he generally has over an hour to talk leisurely speak with his guests in his home and draw out stories beyond the public narrative; it’s a [...]

  • Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The

    Andrew Lincoln's ‘Walking Dead’ Movies to Be Released Only in Theaters

    The first planned movie centered on “The Walking Dead” character Rick Grimes will now run in theaters rather than on AMC. The announcement was made with a brief teaser video played at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, with the video ending with the words “Only in Theaters.” The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures. [...]

  • Jennifer Beals The Last Tycoon

    Jennifer Beals Seeking SAG-AFTRA Board Seat as Matthew Modine Ally (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jennifer Beals is running for a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Beals is best known for starring as Bette Porter on the Showtime series “The L Word” and for her lead role as Alex Owens in the 1983 hit “Flashdance.” She’s starred in the [...]

  • Alamo Drafthouse Opens New Downtown Los

    Alamo Drafthouse Storms into L.A. with New Location

    “Cinema is alive and well tonight!” Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League declared at the theatrical venue’s ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday night, where a gathering of 160 employees cheered and sliced into a strip of 35mm film in keeping with the company’s tradition. Despite dire predictions heralding the end of the theater-going experience, League was upbeat [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content