Criterion layoffs affect 16 employees in the “reorganization” move

Peter Becker, president of Criterion Collection, told IndieWire the layoffs are “meant to prepare the company for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

Criterion has laid off a number of employees as part of a company “restructuring” that took place on Wednesday 19th October.

Criterion Collection president Peter Becker told IndieWire the layoffs affected multiple departments — and about 20 percent of the company, with 16 employees laid off out of more than 80 employees.

“Yesterday was a sad day at Criterion,” Becker said via email. “We have had to shed several employees across multiple departments as part of a reorganization designed to prepare the company for the challenges and opportunities ahead that are quite different from those for which we have built ourselves in the past.”

He added that no further personnel changes are planned. “We have personally spoken to everyone involved to show the company’s respect and our gratitude for their work, of which we are all very proud,” he said.

Criteria representatives declined to comment further on which departments were specifically affected.

The Criterion Collection was founded in 1984 and had a series of layoffs in 2013. According to the official website, Criterion is dedicated to publishing important classic and contemporary films from around the world in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning original supplements. Criterion also launched its streaming service, the Criterion Channel, in 2019. The service regularly offers movies from its own vault, as well as new monthly streaming picks and exclusive premieres. “Our goal is to offer a sustainable service,” Becker told IndieWire at the launch of the platform. “We never had specific growth targets. I don’t think that our motivation is fundamentally market-oriented.”

Criterion’s parent company, Janus Films, brings foreign, independent and restored films to cinemas. “Regardless of the medium – from laserdisc to DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD to streaming – Criterion has maintained its groundbreaking commitment to presenting every film the way its maker intended, in state-of-the-art restorations with special features leading to encourage repeated viewing and deepen the viewer’s appreciation for the art of cinema,” says the company’s mission statement.

Janus also partners with Sideshow in distributing new releases, including last year’s Oscar-winning Drive My Car. That year, Janus and Sideshow acquired several films from the festivals, including the Dardenne brothers’ Tori and Lokita, the documentary All That Breathes and Jerzy Skolimowski’s Cannes-winning EO.

Additional reporting by Eric Kohn.

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Lindsay Lowe

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