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Annapurna Lays Off ‘Modest’ Number of Staff Including CFO James Pong

Cuts come amid industry-wide financial pressure caused by the coronavirus shutdown

Annapurna Pictures has laid off a “modest” number of staff members as it copes with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, including the company’s CFO James Pong.

The studio has not disclosed the full extent of the layoffs, but a spokesperson said in a statement provided to TheWrap that “Annapurna is making modest adjustments to our staffing given the current business climate.”

The layoffs mainly affected assistants and some junior staff members. According to Variety, which first reported the layoffs, a total of seven employees were let go.

The boutique film and TV studio established by Megan Ellison has been shedding weight for more than a year. In February 2019, the company stepped back from distribution and refocused on production. At the same time, it expanded a partnership with MGM and spun off its distribution wing into the independent operation United Artist Releasing.

The company denied reports late last summer that it was exploring the possibility of filing for bankruptcy, described actions taken at the time as a simple matter of restructuring its relationship with banks. Since then it has continued to make moves, most recently at the end of March when it formalized a publishing contract between Annapurna Interactive, the company’s video game wing, and Swedish indie game developer Simogo.

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