LOS ANGELES – November 17, 2022 – Participant, the groundbreaking, premium content company dedicated to entertainment that harnesses the collective power of art and activism, announced today that it has hired Emmy® Award winner Courtney Sexton to serve as Executive Vice President of Documentary Film and Television, overseeing all the company’s documentary content. Sexton, who comes from the role of SVP of CNN Films, will rejoin Participant at the beginning of 2023, having previously spent eight years as a development executive with the company. In her new role, she will report to CEO David Linde, who made today’s announcement.
Sexton’s oversight of the documentary film and television department grows upon the legacy built by Diane Weyermann, who joined Participant shortly after its creation in 2004 and went on to develop the company’s documentary division into an industry leader, overseeing such titles as Academy Award®winners CITIZENFOUR, The Cove, American Factory, and An Inconvenient Truth, which spurred former Vice President Al Gore to say “It is not an exaggeration to say she really did change the world.”
Linde said, “Courtney is an exceptionally talented, compassionate executive with a track record of top-quality, purpose-driven content that connects with audiences around the world. We will forever be indebted to Diane for her tremendous films and impact, and Courtney’s return to oversee our documentary team ensures our commitment to continue that work.”
Sexton added, “I’ve had the good fortune to work with the brilliant team at CNN Films, and I am incredibly proud of the projects we produced together over the last nine years. The chance to return to Participant and contribute to my mentor Diane’s legacy is a profound honor –I look forward to embarking on this new chapter.”
As SVP of CNN Films, Sexton supervised the production of documentary films for theatrical exhibition and distribution across CNN’s platforms. During her tenure, the company acquired, produced, or commissioned more than 55 original feature and short films, earning six Emmy® Awards, three BAFTA® Award nominations, and four Academy Award® nominations. Sexton won a Primetime Emmy® in 2018 for her work on RBG and was nominated the same year for Love, Gilda. Sexton’s critically acclaimed film work includes: Navalny, the revealing docu-thriller about Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny; The Last Movie Stars directed by Ethan Hawke; Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down and Julia, both directed by Emmy® Award winners Betsy West and Julie Cohen; Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain; and Three Identical Strangers. Prior to joining CNN Films, Sexton spent eight years at Participant supporting Weyermann in the development of An Inconvenient Truth, the Academy Award® nominated Food, Inc., Page One: Inside The New York Times, amongst many others.
Participant’s upcoming documentary feature releases include All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (NEON, HBO Documentary Films), winner of the Venice Golden Lion for Best Film; and Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power (Greenwich, Peacock). Recent releases include Descendant (Netflix/Higher Ground), winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Creative Vision at Sundance; The First Wave (National Geographic, Hulu),which recently won three News & Documentary Emmys®; and the history-making triple Academy Award® nominee FLEE (NEON).From the episodic slate, award-winning filmmaker Rachel Dretzin’s Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey held the #2 spot on Netflix for several weeks and recently was nominated for an IDA Documentary Award.
Founded in 2004 by Chairman Jeff Skoll and under the leadership of CEO David Linde, Participant (www.participant.com) is the leading global media company dedicated to content that unites art and activism to create positive change. Participant’s films have earned 85 Academy Award® nominations, including 2022’s historic triple nomination for FLEE, and 21 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight and Green Book; Best Documentary Feature for An Inconvenient Truth, CITIZENFOUR, The Cove and American Factory; and Best Foreign Language Film for Roma and A Fantastic Woman. Participant also has earned 44 Emmy® Award nominations and 11 wins, including two wins for the groundbreaking When They See Us.
A pioneer of socially conscious storytelling, Participant partners with key nonprofits and NGOs to drive real-world impact and awareness around today’s most vital issues on a global scale, and is the only major US entertainment company whose social and environmental impact has earned a B Corp Certification. Participant believes that diversity is a source of strength, that inclusion is essential to progress, and that equity is an imperative for impact. Follow Participant on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.