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Robert Kessel Named Senior Vice President, Production For Participant Media


Robert Kessel has joined Participant Media as Senior Vice President of Production. Reporting to Jonathan King, Participant’s Executive Vice President of Production, Kessel will help manage the development, production, and acquisition of narrative films for the company.

Said King, “Robert and I have known each other since we worked together early in our careers. His sensibilities are well-aligned with Participant's mission, and the breadth of his experience and the quality of his relationships will be huge assets as the company continues to expand.”

Kessel said, "Having worked with the Participant team in the past, I've always admired their unique brand and proven track record of creating films that are both entertaining and make a social impact. They've had an incredible run of critical and commercial films, and I'm looking forward to working with them to build upon this success."

Most recently, Robert Kessel was Senior Vice President of Production at Matt Tolmach Productions, which is based at Columbia Pictures. While there, Kessel worked with Tolmach to oversee the development and production of the company’s slate of films including the upcoming Kitchen Sink.

Before that, Kessel served as Executive Vice President, Production & Acquisitions for Overture Films. While there, Kessel supervised the production of the films Last Chance Harvey and Let Me In, among others, and the acquisitions of such films as Participant’s The Visitor, Sunshine Cleaning, Law Abiding Citizen, and The Men Who Stare at Goats. Prior to joining Overture, Kessel was a partner and production head for seven years at Hart Sharp Entertainment, where he oversaw production and development for numerous high profile projects. In that role, he executive produced Focus Features’ Evening. In 2005, Kessel produced Miramax Films’ Sundance hit The Night Listener. Other credits include John Madden’s Proof.

Prior to Hart Sharp, Kessel served as Vice President, Acquisitions, at Miramax Films. While at Miramax, Kessel strategized the successful acquisition of a number of independent and foreign films, most notably 1996 Foreign Language Oscar® winner Kolya, Children of Heaven (1998 Oscar® nominated), Smoke Signals (Audience Award & Grand Prize, Sundance 1998), Quentin Tarantino’s Rolling Thunder titles, and Swingers, among other films. Before working at Miramax, Kessel worked as Director of Development at Chao, Inc. He started his career at New Line Cinema. He holds a B.A. in political science and film from Vassar College.

Participant (participantmedia.com) is a global entertainment company founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll to focus on feature films, television, publishing and digital content that inspire social change. Participant's more than 40 films include Good Night, and Good Luck., Syriana, An Inconvenient Truth, Food, Inc., Waiting for "Superman," The Help, Contagion and Lincoln. Participant’s social action campaigns and digital network TakePart.com continue the conversation and connect audiences to a wealth of content and actions.

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Participant MediaAbout Participant Media

Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant Media’s (www.participantmedia.com) content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 40 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake—all aimed at entertainment that inspires social awareness and engaging audiences to participate in positive social change. Participant’s content and social impact mandate speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing over 2 billion consumers who are compelled to make impactful content a priority focus. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant is positioned uniquely within the industry to engage a rapidly growing audience while bringing global awareness and action to today’s most vital issues.

Participant’s more than 80 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 56 Academy Award® nominations and 12 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight and Best Foreign Language Film for A Fantastic Woman. Participant’s digital entertainment division, SoulPancake (www.soulpancake.com), is an award-winning provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting digital content including such widely popular series as Kid President and The Science of Happiness and reaches an audience of nearly 9 million fans. Follow Participant Media on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SoulPancake on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram.