IFC Films Co-President Lisa Schwartz Departing Distributor At Year’s End

Anthony D'Alessandro
·3 min read

After 14 years at IFC Films, longtime exec Lisa Schwartz is exiting the independent film distributor at the end of the year.

As co-president, Schwartz guided IFC Films’ business strategy, distribution and strategic partnerships. Most recently, she led IFC Films’ foray into streaming by creating and successfully launching the IFC Films Unlimited streaming channel, which is seeing subscriber growth driven by a library of award-winning, acclaimed films from the IFC Films, Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight distribution labels. Those titles include The Trip, Two Days, One Night, 45 Years and The Babadook.

Schwartz was promoted to the role of co-president of IFC Films and Sundance Selects in February 2016 from her role as EVP Distribution, Operations and Business Development for Sundance Selects and IFC Films.

Schwartz previously spearheaded development of the company’s Sundance Now SVOD service, which launched in 2014. She also leveraged affiliate relationships and helped create IFC Films’ pioneering and industry-leading day-and-date distribution model, releasing indie movies in theaters simultaneously on VOD, which has since become an industry standard, particularly during the pandemic.

“Lisa is an extraordinary business person who finds and creates value and business opportunities in a way that is quite rare,” said Josh Sapan, AMC Networks president and CEO, said Thursday. “I know her keen commercial instincts and creativity will lead her to do many more great things.”

“Lisa has been instrumental in identifying and driving key revenue opportunities for IFC Films,” said Ed Carroll, AMC Networks’ chief operating officer. “Lisa was the chief architect behind IFC Films Unlimited, unlocking value from our library of acclaimed films and putting the service on an early path to success. She has been a great colleague and friend for many years and we will miss her smarts and creativity.”

Said Schwartz: “In an extraordinary year like no other, extraordinary and innovative approaches were developed which kept IFC Films at the forefront of film distribution. I’m very proud to have been a part of the leadership team that forged ahead and accomplished the incredible success the business has achieved, particularly over the past couple of years. I look forward to taking that spirit of innovation and creativity with me into my next chapter.”

Schwartz joined IFC Films in 2006 with experience in sales and marketing. Prior to joining, she served as SVP of national accounts for AMC Networks’ distribution group and was responsible for distribution and contract negotiations for all distributors for several of AMC Networks and VOD services. Previously, she held key affiliate distribution positions within the company.

While the big circuit exhibitors were closed down during the pandemic, IFC Films kept drive-in theaters and surviving theatre operators alive during the spring and summer with new features including The Rental, The Wretched and Relic, that trio combining to gross more than $4.4 million stateside.

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