Paul Davidson, The Orchard Film Group’s executive vice president of film and television, is stepping down after the sale of the company to 1091 Media is completed, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.
In a memo to staff, Davidson wrote: “As the company ends one chapter and begins another, I have made the decision to move on from The Orchard film group. While I am very appreciative that 1091 asked me to continue to run the company in its new iteration, for me the time is right to look toward my own next chapter and build something new. There are exciting things on the horizon, and I look forward to sharing more when I’m able. “
Davidson has been with The Orchard for five years. In January, 1091 Media announced its acquisition of the company. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Orchard Film Group is owned by The Orchard, an asset of Sony Music Entertainment, and the company wants to shift its focus to its core music operations.
1091 Media and its principals are growth investors who also lead Dimensional Associates, the private equity arm of The Orchard’s original owners, JDS Capital Management, Inc. From 2003-2015, they owned a variety of media companies through Dimensional, including The Orchard and Dimensional Music Publishing.
Davidson spearheaded many of the company’s acquisitions at festivals, including Louis C.K.’s “I Love You, Daddy” for $5 million at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. Following accusations of sexual harassment against C.K., the company relinquished the film back to the comedian.
Other hits from The Orchard include Sam Elliott’s “The Hero” and the Oscar-nominated documentary “Life, Animated,” as well as “American Animals” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.”
Read Davidson’s full memo to staff below.
When I came to The Orchard almost five years ago, it was clear there was great potential for the film division, which would build off the amazing achievements of the music side of the business, with the same spirit of transparency and true partnership. We saw the opportunity to replicate this success for film directors, producers and content creators, and we launched a new strategy for the film group, bolstered by a stellar, wildly creative team of leaders passionate about film and smart about business.
I’m very proud of what we’ve built with The Orchard in such a short amount of time: a well-recognized brand associated with high-quality films, strategic thinking, collaboration and creativity, and a track record of critically acclaimed (and award-nominated) films including What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, American Animals, The Hero, We the Animals, The Overnight, Birds of Passage, Neruda, Beats Per Minute, Cartel Land, Life, Animated, The Dawn Wall and so many more – about 4,000 more to be exact.
Now, as the company ends one chapter and begins another, I have made the decision to move on from The Orchard film group. While I am very appreciative that 1091 asked me to continue to run the company in its new iteration, for me the time is right to look toward my own next chapter and build something new. There are exciting things on the horizon, and I look forward to sharing more when I’m able.
I want to thank Brad for his support for all these years. He has always been a huge supporter of what we’ve been doing and has been an incredible partner. Without his support and that of the management team at The Orchard, we would not be where we are today. I also want to thank the entire team, whose hard work and passion attracted a stable of incredible filmmakers, emerging new voices and prolific producing teams which, in turn, spread the word about the valuable brand we’ve built.
This has been an immensely personal journey for me, and I am incredibly proud of the work we have all done together and of the relationships we have forged. I wish you all the very best!