Participant was founded in 2004 by social entrepreneur Jeff Skoll, with a commitment to producing entertainment with socially relevant themes. As the leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires audiences to engage in positive social change, Participant’s content and social impact mandate speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing over 2 billion consumers who are compelled to make impactful content a priority focus. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant is positioned uniquely within the industry to engage a rapidly growing audience while bringing global awareness and action to today’s most vital issues.
Participant has produced more than 100 feature and documentary films that collectively have earned 85 Academy Award® nominations and 21 wins and have highlighted some of the most pressing issues of our time. Initially founded with a focus on film, over the past decade Participant has expanded to become a multi-platform content company, annually producing up to six narrative feature films, six documentary films, three episodic television series, and over 20 hours of digital short form programming.
Film highlights include Oscar® Best Picture winners Green Book and Spotlight; Academy Award®-winning Best Foreign Language Films Roma and A Fantastic Woman; Academy Award®-winning Best Documentaries American Factory, CITIZENFOUR, The Cove and An Inconvenient Truth, as well as Wonder, Contagion, RBG, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, and Food, Inc. In 2018, Participant released its first television series, Steve James’ acclaimed docuseries, America to Me, followed by Ava DuVernay’s limited drama series, When They See Us. Participant has partnered with many of the world’s most renowned filmmakers including Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Cary Fukunaga, Stephen Gaghan, Steven Soderbergh, Jonathan Demme, Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar, Richard Linklater, Gus Van Sant, John Madden, Tom McCarthy, Ava DuVernay, Steve James, Laura Poitras, Alex Gibney, Errol Morris, Davis Guggenheim, Robert Kenner, Margaret Brown and Joshua Oppenheimer.
In November 2015, David Linde was appointed CEO of Participant and is responsible for leading the company’s overall strategy, day-to-day operations, content creation, advocacy, strategic investments and acquisitions. Linde’s background spans production, global distribution and building multiple companies from the ground up. In keeping with Skoll’s original vision for the company, Linde leads the executive team as it continues seeking to entertain and inform through meaningful content and socially relevant impact campaigns.
In September 2019, Participant launched a major rebrand embodying the company’s legacy of unifying art and activism, creativity and impact. Participant is a key part of Jeff Skoll’s innovative portfolio of commercial and philanthropic enterprises that also includes The Skoll Foundation, Skoll Global Threats Fund and Capricorn Investment Group. Together, the Jeff Skoll Group ecosystem is able to address the world’s most pressing issues and drive large-scale social impact across the globe.