For the third time in 15 months, Hollywood has turned to a high-profile film journalist to fill its executive ranks — an intriguing trend from the media’s perspective.
Gavin Smith, the longtime editor of Film Comment, was named VP of Cohen Media Group on Thursday.
Smith (pictured above with director John Landis) is the third film critic/journalist to switch sides of late, following Jason Blum‘s savvy hiring of Shock Till You Drop managing editor Ryan Turek as director of development at Blumhouse, and Amazon Studio’s hiring of Variety’s chief film critic Scott Foundas as an acquisitions and development executive.
These three outside-the-box hires are evidence that sometimes, the best candidate for the job is the person who has been a leader in covering the company and knowing its target market better than anyone else.
Few people knew the horror space better than Turek when Blum placed his faith in the veteran reporter and hardcore genre fan. He’s now a trusted voice at the company, weighing in on key decisions at the prolific company.
Likewise, Foundas already had years of experience scouring film festivals for indie gems when Amazon convinced him to stop writing reviews and start using his taste to improve the selection of movies available to Amazon Prime members. Foundas also had experience as a programmer for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, so he already harbored ambitions outside of journalism.
Smith, for his part, is the right fit for an independent distributor like Cohen Media Group, given his highbrow taste as the longtime editor of Film Comment and another former programmer for the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
At Cohen Media Group, Smith will be charged with working alongside chairman/CEO Charles S. Cohen and VP/archivist Tim Lanza to acquire for the Cohen Film Collection, which currently boasts more than 800 titles. Smith will also collaborate in programming the repertory screen at the newly redesigned Quad Cinema in New York City and will also help create film series, filmmaker presentations and discussions.
Smith, Turek and Foundas follow in the footsteps of former Screen International editor and veteran trade reporter Mike Goodridge, who was named CEO of Protagonist Pictures in 2012.