Capturing Social Justice On-Screen: A Fond Farewell To Participant Media

Cesareo Manansala
June 12, 2024

Participant Media, the celebrated social justice-inspired film studio, will close operations after 20 years 

Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival solemnly acknowledges the shutting down of Participant Media. For 20 years, Participant was a film and television production company devoted to influencing social justice and humanitarian approaches to major societal issues. Participant itself made the announcement of its official shutdown on its website on April 16, 2024. Also shedding light is entertainment magazine Variety on a recent online article, (Participant Shutting Down Operations After 20 Years: Film Studio Was Behind Oscar Winners ‘Spotlight,’ ‘Green Book’ (EXCLUSIVE))

Among Participant’s most famous projects include Oscar-winning films “Spotlight” and “Greenbook,” as well as Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” and the environmentally-conscious documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

As WSFF reflects on the loss of Participant Media, we offer profound gratitude and recognition to Amanda Farrand, EVP of Engagement for attending the Whistleblower Summit for Civil & Human Rights to pre-screen “The Fifth Estate” to whistleblowers and advocates. 

The Nation Domestic Workers Alliance, the advocacy organization dedicated to promoting domestic workers’ rights in the United States, once said about Participant: "20 years ago, long before social impact had a place in Hollywood, Participant launched stories into our culture with the explicit goal of changing it."

WSFF shares this mission wholeheartedly. We believe that if Participant Media was a film festival, it would largely be the Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival. We recognize Participant’s extensive body of work, film library, and endearing social impact that they have produced and presented for the past two decades with the much-coveted Pillar Award. 

Over the years, we have partnered with such great organizations as the Pacifica Foundation (Pacifica Radio Network), IFC Films, Netflix, the Northeast Filmmakers Lab, and African American Women in Film (AAWF) to help whistleblowers generate their stories into film productions. Participant Media, in fact, was the first Hollywood studio to engage with WSFF. It was in 2013 when Participant previewed “The Fifth Estate”, which provided emphasis on Julian Assange to whistleblower advocates at the National Press Club. It was that specific Social Action Film Campaign that kickstarted the award-winning Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival.

WSFF will celebrate Participant Media’s body of work during this summer’s Summit event. We will also host an “Encore” presentation during International Fraud Awareness Week in November, as whistleblowers are the most effective tool for detecting and combating fraud. 

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