Tony Safford Leaving Fox Searchlight to Focus on Humanitarian Efforts

Executive vice president of acquisitions is training executive Ray Strache so that he can step away from the company in March

Last Updated: November 13, 2014 @ 8:25 PM

After 18 years, Tony Safford has revealed that he is leaving Fox Searchlight, according to IndieWire. The executive vice president of acquisitions is stepping away from the company to focus his efforts on humanitarian efforts. In recent years he has been involved with All Hands Volunteers, helping rebuild areas ravaged by natural disasters like Haiti and New Orleans.

“My interests have taken me other places,” Safford told IndieWire. “Other things are more important in the world. I’m a believer in that humanitarian disaster relief space, which has diminished my interest in film. I’ve been involved in great films, but they seem to come few and far between these days.”

Some of his career highlights include Terrence Malick‘s “The Tree of Life” and Benh Zeitlin‘s “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” He considers those films instrumental in the history of film. “For me, ‘Tree of Life’ is the end of cinema; ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ its new beginning,” he said.

Ray Strache was promoted in September to serve as co-head of the department with Safford, which started to fuel speculation then that Safford may be orchestrating an exit. Representatives for Safford have not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.

After grooming Ray Strache to take over in March, Safford will shift to non-profit work. But he’s not stepping away from film entirely. He indicated he will not only continue to consult in the industry, but he plans to teach a spring course on the business side of independent filmmaking at University of California, Santa Barbara.