Ahead of the 33rd Annual Gotham Awards, The Gotham Film & Media Institute announced that Focus Features Vice Chairman Jason Cassidy and actor, producer, and director Riley Keough will join the organization’s Board of Directors. The newest Board members will help advance The Gotham’s mission of celebrating and nurturing independent film and media creators.
“We are so excited to add Jason, one of the most respected and innovative film executives, and Riley, an extraordinarily talented actress and critically acclaimed filmmaker, to The Gotham’s already incredible Board of Directors,” said Jeffrey Sharp, Executive Director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute. “With their genuine passion for championing independent creatives, we are confident that the organization will amplify its positive impact on the media industry through their expertise and perspectives.”
Jason and Riley will join The Gotham’s existing board members including, Nancy Abraham, Anthony Bregman, Jeb Brody, Gerry Byrne, Alina Cho, Dan Crown, Mark D’Arcy (Director Emeritus), Amy Emmerich, Philipp Engelhorn, Kai Falkenberg, James Janowitz, Franklin Leonard, Stephanie March, Soledad O’Brien, Dee Poku, Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar, John Schmidt, Lisa Taback, Teddy Schwarzman, Drew Wilson, and Celia Winchester. The complete list of The Gotham’s Board of Directors with bios can be found here.
The announcement was made ahead of the 33rd annual Gotham Awards, which will be held at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday, November 27th. The annual ceremony provides early recognition and media attention for outstanding and groundbreaking voices in storytelling inclusive of writers, directors, producers and actors. Nominations for the Gotham Awards – singling out 20 feature films, 11 series, and 30 performances in ten award categories – can be found HERE.
The Premier Sponsor of the 2023 Gotham Awards is Vanity Fair. Cadillac will serve as the Official Vehicle and FIJI Water will serve as the Official Water for the Awards
About The Gotham’s New Board Members
Jason Cassidy was named Vice Chairman of Focus Features in November 2019 after joining the studio as President of Marketing in 2016. As Vice Chairman, Cassidy oversees Focus’ theatrical marketing operations and digital initiatives, and leads the releasing side of the business, working closely with the distribution and strategic planning departments on all global film releases.
During his tenure, Focus has released some of the most successful films of the last decade, including Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City,” “The Northman” from visionary filmmaker Robert Eggers, as well as Academy Award winning films like “Belfast” from Kenneth Branagh, Emerald Fennell’s “Promising Young Woman,” Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” “Phantom Thread” from Paul Thomas Anderson and Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour,” and “Downton Abbey,” which went on to become the highest-grossing Focus film of all time.
Over the last five years, Focus has had the No. 1 market share at the domestic specialty box office and was voted the No. 1 brand in the specialty space for high quality films by consumers. Additionally, Focus’ direct-to-consumer platform, “Focus Insiders,” has grown to more than 1.5 million subscribers to-date. The studio was also named International Distributor of the Year by The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 and one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies for two consecutive years. In 2022, Cassidy and Focus Chairman Peter Kujawski were given the Industry Tribute by the Gotham Awards for their contributions to independent film.
Cassidy has over 25 years of experience marketing films, including at Open Road Films where he served as Chief Marketing Officer and led the campaign for “Spotlight” (2015), which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Over the course of his career, he has led more than 175 marketing campaigns resulting in nearly $3 billion at the domestic box office including multiple #1 openings. Prior to Open Road, he ran the marketing department at Miramax Films. In addition to “Spotlight,” Cassidy spearheaded campaigns for two more Best Picture Academy Award winners, “Chicago” (2002) and “No Country for Old Men” (2007). The latter movie also garnered Cassidy and his department the Key Art Award for Best Campaign of the Year.
Cassidy is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a multiple Key Art Award winner and was on The Hollywood Reporter’s “Next Gen” executives list. He has been a guest lecturer at New York University, Columbia Business School, and USC.
Emmy, Golden Globe, and Independent Spirit Award nominee Riley Keough is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses, known for her chameleon-like versatility that spans blockbuster hits to independent films. The actress can most recently be seen in Amazon’s highly anticipated original series “Daisy Jones and the Six,” based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s best selling novel. Keough stunned critics and audiences alike with her Emmy-nominated portrayal of Daisy and within hours of their respective releases, the series hit No. 1 on Amazon Prime Video’s Top 10 list in the U.S., and the show’s coinciding debut album Aurora made it to No. 1 in the U.S. on iTunes.
Keough’s performance in A24’s “Zola” in 2021 earned her rave reviews following the film’s Sundance premiere in 2019, She then made her big-screen debut as Marie Currie in “The Runaways” starring opposite Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning. In 2016, her role in Steven Soderbergh’s original 13-part series “The Girlfriend Experience,” earned her a Golden Globe Award Nomination in the category of “Best Actress in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.” Later that year, Keough was also seen in Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey,” which earned her a 2017 Film Independent Spirit Award nomination in the category of “Best Supporting Female” and which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. Previous credits also include Amazon’s “The Terminal List,” Bradley Rust Gray’s “Jack & Diane,” Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike,” Nick Cassavetes’ “Yellow,” Xan Cassavetes’ “Kiss of the Damned.” Wash Westmoreland’s “Earthquake Bird,” Antonio Campos’ “The Devil All the Time,” “The Lodge,” “Under the Silver Lake,” “The House That Jack Built,” and “Hold the Dark,” in addition to “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Discovery,” “It Comes at Night,” and “Logan Lucky.”
In 2017, Keough and producing partner Gina Gammell co-founded the production company Felix Culpa. Their ethos is simply: Art First. Felix Culpa is dedicated to telling bold, boundary-pushing, and emotionally rich stories that challenge audiences to see the world differently while giving a voice to talent and stories that need to be heard. Felix Culpa Films has developed a slate of over 30 projects, including Keough’s directorial debut, “War Pony.” “War Pony” competed in the 2022 Festival De Cannes, which resulted in an astounding win of the Camera D’Or award as well as the honorable mention at the 2022 Munich Film Festival. Following its US release in 2023, the film was selected as a NYT Critics Pick and became certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Felix Culpa recently produced “Manodrome,” which follows a New York Uber driver named Ralphie, played by Jesse Eisenberg, and is currently in production for “Under the Bridge,” Hulu’s limited series based on Rebecca Godfrey’s book.
About the Gotham Film & Media Institute
The Gotham celebrates and nurtures independent film and media creators, providing career-building resources, access to industry influencers, and pathways to wider recognition. The organization, under the leadership of Executive Director and award-winning producer Jeffrey Sharp, fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include Gotham Week, Gotham Labs, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Awards, Gotham EDU, Owning It, and Expanding Communities.
About the Gotham Awards
The Gotham Awards is the first major awards show of the awards season that honors outstanding and groundbreaking voices in storytelling. For over 30 years, The Gotham Awards provides support for the work that The Gotham Film & Media Institute does year-round to celebrate and nurture film and media creators with vital resources to bring their work to fruition.