Big Beach, the production label behind Awkwafina starrer “The Farewell” and Tom Hanks’ “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” has abruptly closed its New York headquarters and parted ways with a significant number of staff, sources tell Variety.
The cuts are a sign of the increasingly difficult challenges facing independent film shops, even those with awards pedigree and decades of survival in the industry.
Though an exact number is unknown, staffers from the assistant level up to heads of film and TV verticals have been served pink slips, two insiders familiar with the company said. Many Los Angeles-based employees have been dismissed as well. The cuts come almost a year after one of the company’s principals, “Little Miss Sunshine” producer Peter Saraf, quietly exited the company.
A representative for Big Beach declined to comment on the matter. Another source close to the operation said new heads of film and TV will be announced imminently, and the business will be restructured on the West Coast.
Big Beach was founded nearly 20 years ago by financial executive turned producer-director Marc Turtletaub, the former CEO of subprime lender The Money Store. Their credits include “Loving,” Colin Trevorrow’s festival darling “Safety Not Guaranteed,” “Louder Than Bombs,” and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut “Jack Goes Boating.” They soldiered through the pandemic with Robin Wright’s well-received directorial debut “Land” in 2021, which was distributed by Focus Features.
Saraf remains a “collaborator” at Big Beach, one source said. Turtletaub is currently in post-production on his third feature directorial effort “Jules,” a rural character study starring Sir Ben Kingsley and Jane Curtin. On the TV side, Big Beach is a credited production company on “Sorry For Your Loss,” the flagship Facebook Watch original series starring Elizabeth Olsen, as well as the landmark Starz drama ‘Vida.”