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Participant, maker of ‘Green Book’ and ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ is shutting down

Four journalists sit on an office couch looking at a man leaning on a desk in a still from the film "Spotlight."
Rachel McAdams, left, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton and John Slattery portray Boston Globe journalists in “Spotlight.”
(Kerry Hayes / Open Road Films via AP)
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After 20 years, 21 Academy Awards and 18 Emmys, socially conscious film production company Participant is shutting down.

The Culver City company told its employees Tuesday morning that it would be winding down operations.

In a letter to staff, founder and former EBay President Jeff Skoll wrote that the decision was “difficult,” but that it was “the right time” for him to evaluate his next chapter and approach to “tackling the pressing issues of our time.”

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“I founded Participant with the mission of creating world-class content that inspires positive social change, prioritizing impact alongside commercial sustainability,” Skoll wrote. “Since then, the entertainment industry has seen revolutionary changes in how content is created, distributed and consumed.”

The company declined to comment further beyond Skoll’s letter. He hadn’t been involved in the company’s day-to-day management for a number of years.

Participant is known for films such as Oscar winners “Spotlight,” “Green Book” and the Al Gore environmental documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” as well as the Oscar-nominated documentary “RBG,” along with series such as “When They See Us.”

But like many independent producers it has faced a tough climate. The market for independent, adult-skewing fare has struggled to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. Box-office revenue remains substantially below pre-pandemic levels.

The company gained a reputation for producing content that would promote social good, such as its efforts to boost legislation in Mexico that gave labor protections to domestic workers, a campaign that occurred alongside the release of its Oscar-winning movie “Roma.”

Skoll said in his letter that he was “emboldened” by other storytellers and content creators who were building on the work Participant did.

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“The ripple effects of Participant can be felt far and wide — what we have started together is just the beginning,” he wrote.

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