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Participant, studio behind ‘Spotlight,’ ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ shutters after 20 years

Participant, the activist film and television studio that has financed Oscar winners like “Spotlight” and socially conscious documentaries like “Food, Inc,” and “Waiting For Superman” is closing its doors after 20 years.

Billionaire Jeff Skoll told his staff of 100 in a memo shared with the Associated Press Tuesday that they were winding down company operations.

“This is not a step I am taking lightly,” Skoll wrote in the memo. “But after 20 years of groundbreaking content and world-changing impact campaigns, it is the right time for me to evaluate my next chapter and approach to tackling the pressing issues of our time.”

Since Skoll founded the company in 2004, Participant has released 135 films, 50 of which were documentaries and many of which were tied to awareness-raising impact campaigns. Their films have won 21 Academy Awards including best picture for “Spotlight” and “Green Book,” best documentary for “An Inconvenient Truth” and “American Factory” and best international feature for “Roma.”

Participant was behind films like “Contagion,” “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “Lincoln” and “Judas and the Black Messiah,” the limited series “When They See Us” and also a sequel to their documentary “Food Inc,” which they rolled out this month. Their films have made over $3.3 billion at the global box office. But the company had a “double bottom line” in which impact was measured in addition to profit.

Skoll stepped back from day-to-day operations of the company years ago. Veteran film executive David Linde has been CEO of Participant since 2015, during which they had their “Green Book” and “Roma” successes.

“I founded Participant with the mission of creating world-class content that inspires positive social change, prioritizing impact alongside commercial sustainability,” Skoll wrote. “Since then, the entertainment industry has seen revolutionary changes in how content is created, distributed and consumed.”

Skoll added that their legacy “will live on through our people, our stories and all who are inspired by them.”

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