As executive vice president of distribution, operations and business development for Sundance Selects and IFC Films, Lisa Schwartz serves as the senior distribution strategist for the division and is responsible for creating, identifying and securing revenue-generating opportunities. In addition, she oversees all of the day-to-day operations for IFC Films’ distribution businesses.
Schwartz oversees domestic and foreign distribution for IFC Films’ operations across all platforms, including theatrical, premium VOD, pay TV, digital, portable devices, home video and all emerging new platforms. Schwartz created a new infrastructure within IFC Films to fully develop and maximize the business model for the division’s day and date distribution initiatives. The day and date distribution model was an industry first, distributing independent films to a national audience by releasing them simultaneously in theaters as well as on cable’s On Demand platform and through Pay-Per-View, and has met with great success due to the strong demand for multiplatform content. In 2010, Schwartz also spearheaded the launch of IFC Midnight, a leading U.S. distributor of genre entertainment, including horror, science-fiction, thrillers, erotic art house, action and more, and was one of the key architects behind the launch of Sundance Selects, a leading U.S. distributor of prestige films that focuses on American independents, documentaries and world cinema. In addition, Schwartz led the development of SundanceNow, an online destination where viewers can rent or buy the best in contemporary and classic independent films from all over world.
Recent noteworthy distribution deals led by Schwartz include extending the companies’ existing exclusive theatrical output agreement with Showtime Networks to cover films theatrically distributed by IFC Films through 2021, as well as a multi-year output deal with Paramount Home Media Distribution for U.S. home entertainment rights to select theatrical releases from IFC Films.
IFC Films has had its highest-profile year yet led by Oscar® and Golden Globe®-winning Boyhood (written, produced and directed by Richard Linklater), which also received recognition at the 2015 AFI Awards, BAFTAs, Gotham Awards, Independent Spirit Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, among many others. In addition, IFC Films/Sundance Selects received its fourth Palme d’Or award in 10 years at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for Jacques Audiard’s DHEEPAN. Other recent notable titles include Oscar®-nominated Finding Vivian Maier and Two Days, One Night (starring Marion Cotillard), as well as the critical and commercial smash The Babadook.
In 2006, Schwartz joined IFC Films with more than 20 years experience in sales and marketing. Prior to joining the division, she served as senior vice president of national accounts and advanced services for AMC Networks National Advertising Sales, the national distribution division of IFC Films’ parent company AMC Networks Inc. There, Schwartz played a significant role in pioneering the introduction of IFC In Theaters and developing key strategies that maximized IFC Films’ relationship with filmmakers and MSOs. She also managed the Comcast corporate account for AMC Networks’ AMC, IFC and WE tv and was responsible for distribution and contract negotiations for all distributors for several of AMC Networks’ VOD services, including LIFESKOOL, SPORTSKOOL (sold in 2008) and WE tv On Demand. Previously, Schwartz held various key affiliate distribution positions within the Company.
Schwartz earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and communications from Cabrini College. Schwartz has been named to CableFAX‘s Most Powerful Women – The Second 50 list, as well as named a Multichannel News/WICT Wonder Woman in 2011 and Woman to Watch in 2010. Schwartz is an alumna of CTAM University, the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing’s executive management program at Harvard Business School. She is a member of the Television Academy, CTAM, New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIF), Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) and is a WICT Philadelphia Chapter mentor.