About Participant Media
Participant Media was founded in 2004 by social entrepreneur Jeff Skoll, with a commitment to producing entertainment with socially relevant themes. As the leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change, Participant Media’s projects combine the power of a great story with opportunities for audiences to get involved.
Participant Media has produced more than 75 feature and documentary films that have collectively earned 50 Academy Award® nominations and 11 wins and have highlighted some of the most pressing issues of our time. Initially founded with a focus on film, over the past decade Participant has expanded to become a multi-platform content company producing and distributing film, television and digital entertainment.
Film highlights include the 2016 Academy Award®-winning Best Picture, Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, Food, Inc., and Academy Award®-winning Best Documentaries CITIZENFOUR and An Inconvenient Truth. Participant has partnered with many of the world’s most renowned filmmakers including Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Cary Fukunaga, Stephen Gaghan, Steven Soderbergh, Jonathan Demme, Richard Linklater, Gus Van Sant, John Madden, Tom McCarthy, Ava DuVernay, Laura Poitras, Alex Gibney, Errol Morris, Davis Guggenheim, Robert Kenner, Margaret Brown and Joshua Oppenheimer.
The company’s 2016 film slate includes Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon (Lionsgate); J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls (Focus Features); Pablo Larrain’s Neruda; Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between Oceans (DreamWorks Pictures/Disney); Denial starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, and Timothy Spall (Bleecker Street); Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life, based on James Patterson’s best-seller series (CBS Films); Ric Roman Waugh’s Shot Caller; Alex Gibney’s Zero Days (Magnolia Pictures); Morgan Neville’s The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble (The Orchard); and Presenting Princess Shaw (Magnolia Pictures).
In November 2015, David Linde was appointed CEO of Participant Media and is responsible for leading the company’s overall strategy, day-to-day operations, content creation, advocacy, strategic investments and acquisitions. Linde’s background spans production, global distribution and building multiple companies from the ground up. In keeping with Skoll’s original vision for the company, Linde leads the executive team as it continues seeking to entertain and inform through meaningful content and socially relevant impact campaigns.
Participant recently expanded its footprint, joining long-time collaborator Steven Spielberg in the formation of Amblin Partners. The new content creation company was formed by DreamWorks Studios, Participant, Reliance Entertainment and eOne and will develop and produce film, television and digital content using the Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures and Participant banners. Participant remains a separate company that also continues to independently develop, produce and finance projects with socially relevant themes.
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.
Participant Media is a key part of Jeff Skoll’s innovative portfolio of commercial and philanthropic enterprises that also includes The Skoll Foundation, Skoll Global Threats Fund and Capricorn Investment Group. Together the Jeff Skoll Group ecosystem is able to address the world’s most pressing issues and drive large-scale social impact across the globe.
Spotlight wins Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at the 88th Academy Awards®.
Mark Rylance wins the Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for his performance in Bridge of Spies.
Spotlight wins five Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature, Best Director (Tom McCarthy), Best Screenplay (Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer), Best Editing (Tom McArdle), and the Robert Altman Award for Ensemble Cast.
The Look of Silence wins the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Documentary.
Beasts of No Nation wins two Independent Spirit Awards. Abraham Attah wins for Best Male Lead and Idris Elba wins the award for Best Supporting Male.
Magnolia Pictures and SHOWTIME acquire domestic rights to Alex Gibney’s cyber warfare documentary Zero Days.
Docu-series “Angry Planet” returns to Pivot with new episodes.
Pivot acquires rights to the documentary When Elephants Fight, narrated and executive produced by Golden Globe award winner Robin Wright.
A Fantastic Woman, from director Sebastián Lelio (Gloria), wraps principal photography.
Beasts of No Nation wins a Peabody Award in the Entertainment and Children’s program category.
The second season of Pivot’s docu-drama “Secret Lives of Americans” premieres.
Pablo Larraín’s Neruda premieres at the Cannes Film Festival in the Directors' Fortnight section.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Oscar®-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, the company launches #ait10, a multi-platform campaign to “Share Your Truth” about climate change.
On May 24, 2016 – the 10th anniversary of An Inconvenient Truth’s release – free digital HD copies of the film were made available for the day.
Presenting Princess Shaw is released in select theaters, On-Demand, Amazon Video and iTunes.
The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble is released in select theaters to enthusiastic reviews.
Death by a Thousand Cuts wins the Documentary Competition Award at the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival.
Winners of the The Spotlight Investigative Journalism Fellowship are announced.
Participant, The Boston Globe, First Look Media and Open Road Films announce the extension of The Spotlight Investigative Journalism Fellowship to 2017.
Zero Days is released in select theaters, On-Demand, Amazon Video and iTunes to positive reviews.
Season four of Pivot's critically acclaimed series “Please Like Me” begins production.
Participant announces the start of production on Wonder, starring Julia Roberts, Jacob Tremblay, and Owen Wilson. The drama is based on R.J.Palacio's bestseller.
Participant announces plan to wind down Pivot TV cable network.
The Light Between Oceans is released.
Participant Media partners with Oscar®-winning director Alfonso Cuarón on untitled film.
Participant Media and Bleecker Street co-acquire N. American distribution rights to 'Breathe.'
The Light Between Oceans world premieres at the Venice Film Festival.
Deepwater Horizon is released.
Deepwater Horizon world premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival.
A Monster Calls world premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Denial world premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Participant announces unscripted series ‘America To Me’ from acclaimed filmmaker Steve James.
Participant acquires Rainn Wilson’s SoulPancake, award-winning digital entertainment company.
Denial is released.
Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life is released.
Neruda received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language.
Neruda is released to critical acclaim.
Marc Silver’s 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets, a documentary about the shooting death of black teenager Jordan Davis, premieres at the Sundance Film Festival and wins the festival’s U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact.
The White House's "It’s On Us" campaign team with Pivot to screen the network's new documentary It Happened Here on college campuses.
“Fortitude,” starring Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, and Christopher Eccleston, premieres on Pivot. The network’s first original scripted series tells the story of the small, Arctic town of Fortitude whose peaceful existence is shattered after a brutal and shocking murder.
Participant and Magnolia Pictures jointly acquired the Sundance documentary Best of Enemies, a look at the 1968 TV debates between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal.
CITIZENFOUR wins the Academy Award® for Best Feature Documentary.
Pivot and the Armed Forces Foundation kick off a 10-city screening tour of Ric Roman Waugh’s documentary, That Which I Love Destroys Me. The film offers a candid look at the current epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Pivot’s documentary series “Panorámica” won the 2015 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary in the Spanish-Language category for "Identidad sin Fronteras” (“Identity Without Borders”).
The Look of Silence wins the Audience Award: Festival Favorites category at SXSW 2015.
Participant is honored by the Armed Forces Foundation with the Patriot of the Year Award for its yearlong "Return the Service” campaign supporting the documentary That Which I Love Destroys Me that aired on Pivot and TakePart.com.
Participant and Bold Films team up to produce Ric Roman Waugh’s Shot Caller, starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”). The film follows a newly released prison gangster who is forced by the leaders of his gang to orchestrate a major crime with a brutal rival gang on the streets of Southern California.
Participant announces the start of production on Deepwater Horizon about the explosion of the offshore drilling rig that created the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Peter Berg’s drama stars Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich, Kurt Russell, and Kate Hudson.
Participant Media, Pivot, and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) co-host a “Fortitude” event that brings lawmakers and leading climate scientists together for a climate change discussion in Washington, D.C. A panel discussion followed a screening of the arctic thriller.
Pivot wins a CableFax FAXIES Award in the Corporate Social Responsibility/Green Campaign category. CableFax’s FAXIES Awards honor the year’s most outstanding communications initiatives and programs in the cable arena.
TakePart.com wins four L.A. Press Club’s SoCal Journalism Awards.
CITIZENFOUR, The Great Invisible, Ivory Tower and The Unknown Known are nominated for a total of seven 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards.
Ahead of the August release of the animated film Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet – inspired by Gibran’s best-selling book of prose poetry – Participant, GKIDS, and Journeys in Film team up to launch a common-core-compliant curriculum to augment students’ experience of the film.
TakePart.com wins five awards at the 2015 SPJ San Diego Area Journalism Awards.
Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is released.
Emmy® Award winner Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts Of No Nation, the gripping story of Agu, a child soldier torn from his family to fight in the civil war of an African country, stars Golden Globe® winner Idris Elba, world premieres at the Venice Film Festival.
Spotlight, the true story about The Boston Globe’s coverage of the 2003 Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, world premieres to rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival.
Our Brand is Crisis, a political comedy-drama starring Sandra Bullock, has its world premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
CITIZENFOUR wins the Emmy® Award for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Film.
Academy® Award winner Davis Guggenheim's documentary He Named Me Malala makes its international premiere at TIFF.
The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville's documentary about the acclaimed cellist and his music collective of diverse instrumentalists, has its world premiere at TIFF.
Cineflix Rights signs international distribution deal with Pivot. Among the existing titles in the deal are Emmy® Award-winning “Hit Record on TV with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.”
He Named Me Malala is released.
Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg’s Cold War drama starring Tom Hanks, world premieres at the New York Film Festival.
Season three of the critically acclaimed “Please Like Me” premieres on Pivot.
Beasts of No Nation releases in select theaters and streams on Netflix.
Season two of “The Operatives” premieres on Pivot.
Bridge of Spies is released to enthusiastic reviews.
Our Brand is Crisis is released.
David Linde joins the company as chief executive officer.
Kingdom of Shadows is available today in select theaters and on-demand.
The cast for the theatrical motion picture adaptation of James Patterson’s bestselling series MIDDLE SCHOOL is announced. The cast will include Griffin Gluck (“About a Boy”), Lauren Graham (“Parenthood”), Rob Riggle (22 Jump Street), Thomas Barbusca (“Preacher”), Andrew Daly (“Review”), Adam Pally (“The Mindy Project”), Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite), Isabela Moner (“100 Things to Do Before High School”). Steve Carr is set to direct the film from a screenplay by Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer and Kara Holden. The film arrives in theaters October 2016.
TakePart launches Climate Change(d), a digital package of stories and videos that looks at the impacts of climate. TakePart sent reporters, photographers, and videographers to the Philippines, Australia, the Scandinavian Arctic, the great boreal forests in Canada, the plains of West Texas, and the forests of Guatemala to deliver the personal stories of a global climate already changed.
Participant, The Boston Globe, First Look Media and Open Road Films establish The Spotlight Investigative Journalism Fellowship,®
In addition to its existing business, Participant Media joins DreamWorks Studios, Reliance Entertainment and Entertainment One to form Amblin Partners, a new film, television and digital content creation company.
Participant kicks off a year-long celebration of its 10th Anniversary at the Sundance Film Festival with the premiere of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “HITRECORD ON TV.”
Diego Luna’s Cesar Chavez has its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, prior to its release March 28. A two-pronged social action campaign gathers support for a petition to create a national day of service to commemorate Cesar Chavez, and for the Equitable Food Initiative, a campaign to increase awareness among American consumers for responsibly grown and harvested foods.
Participant continues its 10th Anniversary celebration at SXSW with a six-part, day-long event spotlighting media and social good entitled Engage, Inspire, Ignite: Conversations About Unleashing Social Good as part of SXSW Social Good Hub official panel programming.
Four Participant films screen at SXSW: The Great Invisible, the first documentary feature to examine the Deepwater Horizon crisis through the eyes of oil executives, survivors and Gulf Coast residents; Cesar Chavez, a biography of the civil-rights activist and labor organizer Cesar Chavez; The Internet’s Own Boy, about the late internet prodigy and information advocate, Aaron Swartz; and Ivory Tower, about the crisis in higher education.
Participant launches The Participant Index (TPI)—a way to look at the role that stories play in compelling people to take action. It uses surveys and interviews to look at individual emotional connection and behavioral change, and help gauge the success of our campaigns.
The first Participant PanAmerica film, Ardor, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, premieres at the Cannes Film Festival.
Participant joins with TPG Growth and Evolution Media Capital to form Evolution Media Partners (EMP), a $350 million fund which invests in media and related companies.
Jeff Skoll and Jim Berk are honored at the 13th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball for Participant's philanthropic work and community involvement.
Participant releases two acclaimed documentaries, Ivory Tower and The Internet’s Own Boy.
"Human Resources" premieres on Pivot. The docu-series spotlights Terracycle, a global company, widely considered to be the world leader in the collection and repurposing of non-recyclable, post-consumer waste. Participant and Recycle Across America launch a social action campaign focused on promoting recycling and expanding sustainable packaging and manufacturing.
The Square wins three Emmy® Awards: Directing for Nonfiction Programming, Editing for Nonfiction Programming, and Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming.
“HITRECORD ON TV” wins Social TV Experience for Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Emmy® Award.
Participant joins DreamWorks Studios on two upcoming films including Steven Spielberg’s next film, starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance and Amy Ryan; and The Light Between Oceans, a period drama based on the best-selling novel by M.L. Stedman, and starring Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz.
The Hundred-Foot Journey premieres. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom, (Chocolat) and starring Helen Mirren and Manish Dayal, the film is based on the book about an Indian family who moves to France and opens an eatery across the street from a Michelin-starred French restaurant.
“The Operatives” premieres on Pivot. The original series chronicling the life of adventurer, author, and eco-warrior Pete Bethune and his team of extreme conservationists that travels the globe to expose offenders who are harming vulnerable wildlife, natural resources and ecosystems around the world.
Participant and Drafthouse Films jointly acquire director Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence, a companion piece to Oppenheimer’s 2014 Academy Award®-nominated documentary The Act of Killing, which explores the Indonesian genocide and its terrifying legacy from the victim’s point of view. The Look of Silence premieres to rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival.
Participant and Pivot team up with Roadtrip Nation, a career exploration organization, to launch TEACH Roadtrip, a cross-country adventure spotlighting inspiring individuals working to change the face of education.
Participant’s Merchants of Doubt, The Look of Silence, and Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet screen at the Toronto Film Festival.
CITIZENFOUR, director Laura Poitras' documentary about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, premieres at the New York Film Festival to rave reviews.
“Freestyle Love Supreme” premieres on Pivot. The improvised musical comedy show created by the rap group of the same name. The series mixes fully improvised stage shows with impromptu, real-world sketches set in New York City to create a unique comedy with no script. Participant’s "Love Arts Ed” social action campaign, in an alliance with Americans for the Arts, launches to help prioritize arts within core curriculum.
Pivot also launches “Welcome to Fairfax,” a series shot in cinema vérité style following the journeys of the young entrepreneurs living and working in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles. Inspired by the show’s innovative career DIY-ers, Participant and a team of NGO Alliances join forces to empower aspiring entrepreneurs the tools and resources necessary to catapult their vision into reality with the "Welcome to Possibility" social action campaign.
Participant Media founder Jeff Skoll announces the launch of the new Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, dedicated to promoting social change through entertainment and performing arts.
Participant’s A Most Violent Year premieres as the opening night film at AFI FEST 2014. Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee J.C. Chandor, the film stars Oscar Isaac, Oscar nominees Jessica Chastain and Albert Brooks as well as David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola, Elyes Gabel and Catalina Sandino Moreno.
Kent Rees is named general manager of Pivot.
A Most Violent Year is nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards: Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain) and Best Screenplay (J.C. Chandor). Also nominated is CITIZENFOUR, for Best Documentary.
CITIZENFOUR wins the New York Film Critics Circle's Award for Best Documentary, as well Best Documentary at the Gotham Independent Film Awards.
A Most Violent Year wins three National Board of Review awards: Best Film, Best Actor (Oscar Isaac), and Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain).
Marking the home entertainment release of The Hundred-Foot Journey, Participant hosts a reception and screening in Washington, D.C. with the U.S. State Department to highlight the role food can play in diplomacy, building bridges between cultures and peoples.
Participant films receive a total of 13 Academy Award® nominations, marking the company’s best showing to date.
Participant acquires the Sundance documentary 99% - The Occupy Wall St. Collaborative Film. Following its theatrical run, the film will have its world television premiere on Pivot, Participant’s new cable television network.
Participant announces “Participant PanAmerica” agreement to develop and co-finance Spanish-language films with three premiere Latin American production companies, Mexico’s Canana, Chile’s Fabula, and Colombia’s Dynamo.
Promised Land and State 194 screen at the Berlin Film Festival.
No is released in the U.S., accompanied by a social action campaign focused on the importance of freedom of political expression.
Snitch, an action film starring Dwayne Johnson, is released; the associated “Campaign for Fair Sentencing for Youth” drove reform in 10 states (California, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Texas, Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota) and a Mandatory Minimum Reform campaign helped pressure the Obama administration to look into the federal sentencing system.
Participant opens an office in New York City.
Participant’s documentary about hunger in America, A Place at the Table, is released to positive reviews, accompanied by a public affairs companion book and a soundtrack album with original music by T. Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars. The film plays an important part in the passage of West Virginia’s “Feed to Achieve” bill, providing free meals to school kids who need them, and was instrumental in blocking $20-40 billion in cuts to federal nutrition programs for low-income families in the Farm Bill.
Participant announces the start of production on the first Participant PanAmerica film, the action adventure El Ardor, starring Gael García Bernal, in Argentina.
Participant’s documentary State 194 released in New York City and Los Angeles.
At its first Upfront presentation, Pivot (Pivot.tv), Participant Media’s new cable television network, announces plans to begin broadcasting on August 1.
Pivot acquires the first season of the Australian comedy-drama series, “Please Like Me,” and later in the month, announces that it will co-produce a second season of the series.
Pivot announces that its downloadable app — “Pivot TV” — will be offered to customers at launch, allowing viewers to watch the Pivot TV channel through the app. The network also reveals a network-wide social action initiative asking its viewers to consider the sources of information and media they consume, recognize their role as source when they produce or share content, and explore the trade-offs inherent to giving up personal information online.
Participant’s television network, Pivot, debuts in over 40 million households across the U.S.
TakePart.com, Participant Media’s digital network, launches the TakePart Action Platform (TAP), a suite of proprietary and customizable tools that connect digital content to social action.
Inspired by “Please Like Me,” Participant teams with the National Alliance of Mental Illness on “Say Something,” a social action campaign that highlights the experiences of the one in four individuals living with mental illness to help de-stigmatize the issue, and encourage Congress to prioritize passing comprehensive mental health legislation.
At the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, Participant premieres three films at the festival: The Fifth Estate, a drama about the creation of WikiLeaks starring Benedict Cumberbatch; The Unknown Known, a documentary from Academy Award®-winner Errol Morris about Donald Rumsfeld; and Jay-Z: Made in America, a star-studded musical documentary.
“TEACH,” a two-hour special that explores America’s education system, premieres on CBS and airs on Pivot.
Participant’s Food, Inc. Awards honor leaders of the healthy food movement, including Alice Waters, recognizing her role as the “mother of American food” and her four decades of promoting organic foods, free from herbicides and pesticides.
Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world, honors Participant Media with its Raising Awareness Award.
Participant announces its involvement with Jehane Noujaim’s acclaimed documentary, The Square, the first film to win the Audience Award at both the Sundance and Toronto International Film Festivals.
Lionsgate acquires Summit Entertainment from Participant and its partners.
Participant’s documentary, A Place At The Table, premieres at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Participant and AFFRM (African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement) jointly acquire U.S. theatrical rights to Ava DuVernay’s sensitive drama, Middle of Nowhere, for which DuVernay wins Best Director award at 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is released in the U.K. where it is an instant hit.
Participant announces a financial investment in its first foreign-language film production, No, directed by Pablo Larrain and starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Following its triumphant bow at the Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight in May, No is acquired by Sony Pictures Classics and becomes the first Chilean film to receive an Academy Award® nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
Participant acquires an equity stake in Cineflix Media, Inc. a leading television production and distribution company.
Last Call at the Oasis, a documentary focusing on the global water crisis, is released and helps raise $1 million for the “Change the Course” social action campaign, which has restored tens of millions of gallons of water to the Colorado River, with the long-term goal of adding an additional four billion gallons to the river.
Participant acquires North American rights to director Diego Luna’s Cesar Chavez, starring Michael Pena as famed labor organizer.
Participant launches TakePart TV, a socially relevant channel on YouTube that delivers a diverse mix of original programming.
Middle of Nowhere is released to enthusiastic reviews; the film becomes instrumental in exposing predatory prison phone rates.
Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones, is released to critical raves and excellent box office, and became part of the national conversation around the presidential election, with screenings at the White House and for both Congressional houses. The film receives 11 Academy Award® nominations, and wins for Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Production Design. Day-Lewis also wins the Golden Globe for Best Actor. The film goes on to become Participant’s biggest box-office hit to date, grossing more than $250 million worldwide. With Lincoln, Participant aimed to inspire young people to get involved in politics and social action by hosting screenings around the country, and supplying DVDs to every high school in America (37,000+).
Participant announces the launch of a new cable television network in Summer 2013, following the company’s acquisition of the Documentary Channel and Halogen.
Promised Land, written, produced by and starring Matt Damon, is released.
Participant makes first film acquisitions at Sundance Film Festival, acquiring North American rights to PAGE ONE: Inside The New York Times (with Magnolia Pictures) and its first foreign-language film, Circumstance.
PAGE ONE: Inside The New York Times is released; social action campaign, “Consider The Source,” focuses on the importance of original reporting in the digital age, and is accompanied by a companion book from PublicAffairs that is edited by NPR’s David Folkenflik.
The Help is released; tops the box office charts for 25 days straight, the longest streak in 12 years. The Help goes on to become one of the year’s biggest movie success stories, receiving four Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture, with Octavia Spencer winning the Oscar® for Best Supporting Actress. Spencer also wins the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. The film also serves to rekindle the public debate about civil rights and race relations that’s been dormant for decades.
Contagion is released; tops the box office; it depicts a real-life global pandemic, driving awareness that helped pave the way for the Senate to pass legislation (the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2011) to better prepare the country against the kind of threats brought to life in the film.
TakePart is one of the content creators selected for a new lineup of YouTube channels, with impact-focused TakePart TV showcasing the people who are making change happen around the world.
Participant’s first CD, T-Bone Burnett Presents The Speaking Clock Revue: Live From The Beacon Theatre, is released by Shout Factory.
TakePart enters into an agreement to be a flagship producer of original co-branded content for new MSN “Causes” Channel to debut.
Participant premieres four documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival—Casino Jack and the United States of Money; Cane Toads: The Conquest; Countdown to Zero and Waiting for “Superman.”
Participant’s agency group, Tag, teams with American Express to host a pioneering consumer-driven corporate social responsibility effort, Members Project. This program encourages the public to support the diverse causes they care about by providing tools and resources designed to empower them in getting involved.
The Crazies is released; the company partners with Greenpeace, Center for American Progress, Chemical Security Coalition, and the Office of Management and Budget to help people locate hazardous facilities in their areas and to help pass chemical security legislation.
Participant moves into new offices, the first in Beverly Hills to carry a “Gold” certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Countdown to Zero is released; grassroots campaign supports ratification of the New START Treaty.
Participant Foundation is formed to support programs that amplify the work of Participant Media.
Waiting for "Superman" is released; attracts unprecedented media attention for a documentary and goes on to become the year’s most talked-about documentary, catapulting the issue of education to the forefront of the public debate. Participant’s social action campaign – recruiting people across the nation to host home viewing parties – driving support for Common Core Standards, so every high school graduate is ready to compete in the labor market. Within three weeks of its publication, Participant’s companion book ranks #1 on The New York Times list of bestsellers.
Fair Game released; building on the earlier social action campaign for Countdown to Zero, Participant teams with the White House Project to organize “Women for Nuclear Security Summit,” where more than 200 women from across the nation receive advocacy training to organize in their communities in support of reduction of nuclear arms and the ratification of the New START treaty.
The Soloist released; social action campaign focuses on humanizing homelessness and mental illness and includes grassroots efforts to collect food and clothing.
Food, Inc. is released, following premieres at Toronto International and Berlin Film Festivals; goes on to receive Academy Award® nomination for Best Documentary Feature and wins two Emmy Awards for its broadcast on PBS. One of the year’s highest-grossing documentaries, it supported the first major piece of food safety legislation since the 1930s and helped Participant Media build a network of millions of people passionate about food and nutrition issues.
Participant’s first publishing effort, the companion book, Food, Inc.: How Industrial Food Is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer — And What You Can Do About It, released; goes on to become a New York Times Bestseller, with 10 reprints.
Five years after release, Participant creates the Food, Inc. Awards at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival, where Alice Waters is honored with the Food, Inc. Movement Award for her years of promoting sustainable, whole foods and a less industrial food system.
The Cove is released; goes on to win the Oscar® for Best Documentary Feature. Exposing the slaughter of more than 20,000 dolphins and porpoises off the coast of Japan every year, it establishes a new charity (SaveJapansDolphins.org), supports the fundraising efforts of worldwide animal rights charities, and helps shorten the slaughter season.
Company becomes Participant Media and rearticulates mission: Participant creates entertainment that inspires and compels social change.
The Visitor is released, following premieres at Toronto International and Sundance Film Festivals; Richard Jenkins receives an Academy Award® nomination for Best Actor. Through the social action campaign, Participant partners with the ACLU and others to shine a light on the questions of due process, detention and deportation of refugees and immigrants, and partnered with law firms and NGOs to offer free workshops for lawyers and law students on how to represent immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Participant introduces the social action website TakePart.com to form communities of engaged people, amplify the impact of its films, and illuminate the work of nonprofit organizations.
Participant establishes a $250 million film-financing fund with Imagenation Abu Dhabi that allows the company to increase its output with guaranteed financing for a slate of films.
Participant enters into publishing with a four-book deal with PublicAffairs Books, a like-minded company whose mission is to publish “books that matter.”
Participant announces an equity investment in Me to We, a Toronto-based social enterprise promoting a socially responsible, globally-focused approach to living for young people who want to help change the world through their daily choices.
Participant Media becomes the largest individual equity investor in the newly formed Summit Entertainment.
The Kite Runner released; Participant’s Social Action coalition includes Afghanistan Relief Organization, the International Rescue Committee, Amnesty International, Relief International, One Laptop Per Child and others to support literacy by rebuilding libraries, training teachers and providing computers for the war-torn nation.
Charlie Wilson’s War is released; receives Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Participant teams with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) to promote initiatives for education, mental and health benefits for veterans.
Participant's debut slate of films, Murderball, Good Night, and Good Luck, North Country and Syriana, receives a total of 11 Academy Award® nominations.
An Inconvenient Truth released, following premieres at Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals; the film becomes one of the highest-grossing documentaries of all time and wins Academy Awards® for Best Documentary and Best Song. Because of the film, the issue of global warming reaches a worldwide audience of more than a billion people. Before the film is released, polls suggested that less than 30 percent of Americans believed global warming was a real issue. After the film’s release 87 percent of Americans say it is an issue of concern. Five countries—England, Scotland, Czech Republic, New Zealand, and Germany—and the Canadian province of British Columbia incorporate the film into their secondary school curriculum.
Participant’s first documentary, Murderball, is released; goes on to receive an Academy Award® nomination for Best Documentary. Participant teams with MTV to hold a series of college screenings to raise consciousness about disabled athletes and raise funds for organizations, such as The Paralympic Games.
Good Night, and Good Luck is released; receives six Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (George Clooney) and Best Actor (David Strathairn).
North Country is released; garners two Academy Award® nominations, including Best Actress (Charlize Theron) and Best Supporting Actress (Frances McDormand). The film’s social action campaign focuses on raising awareness for the Violence Against Women Act, which was successfully reauthorized in the U.S. Congress.
Syriana is released; receives two Academy Award® nominations, winning the Oscar® for Best Supporting Actor (George Clooney).
Jeff Skoll forms Participant Productions to create entertainment that inspires and accelerates social change.