EXCLUSIVE: Big move at Amazon Studios. Ted Hope decided to leave the position of co-director of films to return to his origins as a producer. Next week, he will sign a multi-year first-year agreement with Amazon Studios. It’s all very friendly, and I’m told that Amazon’s boss and Hope’s boss, Jennifer Salke, has just leaked the information internally.
Hope joined Amazon in 2015 as head of the development, production and acquisitions team, and was elevated to co-director of movies in July 2018. He led the film division with Julie Rapaport and Matt Newman, who have been co-directors of films. She came to the Amazon from The Weinstein Company, while growing up at Amazon on the business side. They are well regarded and will take over the management of the division, with Scott Foundas as chief executive and Christian Davin as chief marketing officer. They all report to Salke.
Here is the presentation of the SXSW 2020 festival on Prime Video on April 27
Hope began her career as a seminal independent producer, and much of her influence has gone to establishing Amazon as a taste-creating label with films including The Big Sick and Manchester by the sea. He first made his mark by establishing Good Machine with James Schamus and David Linde as a major producer of independent films which included triumphs such as Ang Lee’s early films as The ice storm, Todd Solondz ” Happiness and Todd Field In the bedroom. He moved from there with Anne Carey and Anthony Bregman to form This Is That, and then served as executive director of the San Francisco Film Society before moving to the Amazon and helping to establish the film program, which was initially focused on the acquisition.
Here’s the memo Salke just posted internally:
Hello team –
I’m writing to you today to let you know about some of the changes to the Movies team. Ted Hope will step down as co-director and return to her passion for production. Ted approached me earlier this year and expressed a sense of taking on a new challenge. Over the course of several months and many conversations, I realized that Ted was an end-to-end producer and that it was the right time for him and the studio to change. I couldn’t be happier for Ted as he embarks on this new adventure.
Starting June 2, Ted will sign a first multi-year agreement with Amazon Studios. This will allow him to focus on the kind of critically acclaimed films he produced before joining Amazon and the prestigious films he directed during his tenure here.
As many of you may know, Ted was hired to develop the film crew five years ago, initially focusing on prestige films. His first production was the critically acclaimed Chi-Raq of Spike Lee. What followed was a list of bold, interesting and award-winning films, including Oscar Manchester winners by the Sea and Cold War, The Handmaiden, Love & Friendship, Paterson, You Were Never Really Here, The Big Sick and this year’s Oscar. nominated Les Misérables.
Ted is a loved and widely respected figure throughout the industry. We are grateful to continue our partnership as he enters this new chapter. Ted will consult on several films scheduled for release in 2020 and will produce projects selected from the Studios’ next development list. Amazon Studios will always be the home of the best filmmakers in the industry, and we consider Ted a member of this group. I am delighted that Ted continues to be an essential part of the Amazon Studios family.
In the future, Matt Newman and Julie Rapaport will be co-leaders of the Cinema Team, who will report to me. I know the group will be in good hands while continuing their collaborative leadership and building on the great successes that AOM has had over the past year with films like Late Night, Brittany Runs a Marathon , Honey Boy, The Aeronauts and Troop Zero. . Please join me in congratulating Matt and Julie for their expanded roles.
I am so proud of all that the Movies team has accomplished and I look forward to continuing to work in the future.
And finally, please join me in congratulating Ted on his new adventure and thanking him for all of his incredible work in building Amazon Original Movies.
From Ted Hope:
I have long aspired to improve my skills to express my thanks; I begin this letter with concern that I cannot fully demonstrate how grateful I am for the support, inspiration and outright pleasure you have given me. This is what this letter consists of: thank you – thank you very much to all of you.
I really enjoyed contributing to the launch, growth and continued distinction of Amazon Studios. From the start, I was delighted that we stood for quality and ambition. It inspired me that we were always trying to find new and more efficient ways – and how it got us even more excited. I love the films we have developed, the films we have made, acquired and released. Many of our filmmakers were my heroes, and those who did not become so during the process. Many films that we deeply appreciate would not exist – or at least the way they do today – if we had not had the opportunity to work together at Amazon. It was particularly gratifying that The Aeronauts and Troop Zero – films we have developed, produced and long championed – have connected so well with our customers and become the best performing original films on Prime.
Above all, I loved working with you as a team. I have never been to a place where so many people were so intelligent, so passionate and so determined to raise the bar – where they did not seem to go by themselves. When I first considered coming to Amazon and reading our leadership principles, I was cynical and I couldn’t believe that the ALPs would be embodied by you – it’s so great to be wrong on such things. Thanks again. I hope we can collaborate many times to come.
I think choosing the way we use our work is one of the most profound freedoms we can enjoy. Instead of just “working”, I always wanted missions, and – not to be grand or anything – for much of my five and a half years here at Amazon Studios, I had the impression that my work was a great mission. The Amazonians are “digging deep” in our own way and after many personal thoughts, questions and “stack rankings”, my RCA (recommended course of action) is that now is the time for me to say goodbye.
Amazon and Jen have been generous in supporting the launch of my next adventure, and we can all feel good that our projects – and the next era of movies on Amazon – are in the hands of my co-chefs, Julie and Matt. I hope our new missions will demonstrate how aligned we are all. Let me know if I can ever help you.
Keep raising the good in the great!