Participant taps new marketing heads


Participant Prods. has named longtime marketing veterans Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones the co-heads of marketing for the indie production company. Shutt and Jones, who have held the top marketing spots at four major studios over their careers, will strategize and orchestrate marketing of all ventures in which Participant is involved.

They will report to Participant's president Ricky Strauss.

"Buffy and Kathy are extraordinary executives -- they have worked as a team for years and have earned industry wide respect for their intelligence, their instincts and, most important, their integrity," said Participant CEO Jim Berk. "In addition to overseeing all marketing services, they will play a leadership role in strategic planning, new business development and acquisition integration as we expand to other media channels."

Shutt and Jones, whose professional partnership has spanned decades, worked with Participant as consultants on "Good Night and Good Luck." Each will hold the title of executive vp, marketing. Their first project will be the marketing of Brett Morgen's "Chicago 10," a documentary about the antiwar protests at the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention and their aftermath, which will open the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.

Their other two projects are currently in production: Jonathan Demme's portrait of former President Jimmy Carter, "He Comes in Peace," and Errol Morris' take on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, "S.O.P.," which is co-financed and will be released by Sony Pictures Classics.

"As consultants they have guided us through our first successes with 'Good Night and Good Luck,' 'Syriana' and the global phenomenon of 'An Inconvenient Truth'." added Ricky Strauss, president of Participant. "We are thrilled that we have convinced them to join our company full-time."

Their appointment is effective immediately. They will be based at Participant's headquarters in Beverly Hills.