17th annual Woodstock film festival
announces participant media's david linde
as recipient of the 2016 trailblazer award


For additional information contact: press@woodstockfilmfestival.com
Photo download

(Woodstock, NY) June 22, 2016:

The Woodstock Film Festival announced today that leading media executive David Linde will be feted as the 2016 Trailblazer. Linde was chosen for his visionary and tireless commitment to nurturing and furthering the highest quality of film and filmmakers, such as Ang Lee, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Roman Polanski, Zhang Yimou, Alfonso and Jonás Cuarón.

The Woodstock Film Festival’s Trailblazer Award is given to a leader in the film and media arts industry who has carved innovative paths in the business, establishing independent vision, affecting social change, and creating strong and widespread appreciation of quality, substantive filmmaking. The Trailblazer Award will be presented to David Linde on Saturday, October 15, at the Woodstock Film Festival’s Maverick Awards Ceremony at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, NY.

Linde is CEO of Participant Media, a global company dedicated to media that inspires social change and recently won the Best Picture Oscar® for Spotlight. The company’s upcoming slate includes Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon (Lionsgate); J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls (Focus Features); Pablo Larrain’s Neruda; Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between Oceans (DreamWorks Pictures/Disney); Denial, starring Academy Award®- winner Rachel Weisz (Bleecker Street); Middle School, based on James Patterson’s best-seller series (CBS Films); and Alex Gibney’s Zero Days (Magnolia Pictures). In addition to narrative films and documentaries, Participant has launched more than a dozen original series for its television network Pivot, as well as creating content daily for the digital hub TakePart, which serves millions of socially conscious consumers monthly.

"It’s a privilege to present our honorary Trailblazer Award to David Linde," said Meira Blaustein, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Woodstock Film Festival, "His leadership and championship of the best of cinema, as demonstrated consistently throughout his remarkable career, is truly unparalleled, making him the epitome of a Trailblazer."

"I am tremendously humbled by this honor from Meira and her team at the Woodstock Film Festival," said Linde, “Participant Media has always been at the forefront of breaking boundaries with a story well told has the power to make an impact, and in accepting this award, it confirms that we’re doing something right.” 

The Trailblazer Award has previously been bestowed upon such film industry principals as Ted Sarandos (Chief Content Officer, Netflix), James Schamus (former President of Focus Features), Bob Berney (Head of Marketing & Distribution, Amazon Studios), Jonathan Sehring (President, Sundance Selects and IFC Films), John Sloss (Founder, Cinetic Media), and Robin Bronk (CEO, The Creative Coalition).

Linde’s background spans production, global distribution and building multiple companies from the ground up. Linde most recently led Lava Bear Films, a production and financing company he founded with the support of Reliance Entertainment. Prior to Lava Bear, Linde served as chairman of Universal Pictures, where he successfully championed a broad outlook regarding international productions, animation and family entertainment and distribution. Linde also served on the NBCUniversal board of directors and as the chair of NBCUniversal’s Diversity Council.

Prior to his Universal appointment, Linde ran the acclaimed specialty film studio Focus Features and its genre division, Rogue Pictures, both of which were formed from Universal’s acquisition of the independent production company Good Machine, of which he was a founding partner. During his tenure at Focus, Linde and co-president James Schamus oversaw a diverse slate that was honored with a historic 53 Oscar® nominations and 11 Academy Awards® for such films as Brokeback Mountain, The Constant Gardner, and The Pianist.

"The Trailblazer Award is a well-deserved honor for David Linde, as he has truly been a pioneer of financing for director-centered moviemaking,” stated two time Academy Award winning director Ang Lee, "For many years at Good Machine, Focus Features, as well as Universal,  from The Ice Storm to Taking Woodstock, David always had my back. He was a wonderful collaborator, full of good advice and wisdom about independent filmmaking. As this kind of director-centered business model becomes increasingly difficult to find, it makes me miss him more than ever. On this occasion, I’d like to extend my warmest congratulations, and lasting thanks, to David Linde".

2008 Trailblazer recipient James Schamus   with WFF executive director Meira Blaustein   and  Academy Award winner Ang Lee 

2008 Trailblazer recipient James Schamus with WFF executive director Meira Blaustein and Academy Award winner Ang Lee 

“David is a visionary, but a visionary who has never shied away from the hard work of building, rethinking and rebuilding the towers from which those visions can be had,” stated James Schamus, Woodstock Film Festival’s honorary Trailblazer Award recipient in 2008 and Linde’s former partner at Focus Features and Good Machine, “He is among the handful of architects who built out the ecosystem of what we now take for granted as the international independent film business, and in the process he championed and nurtured an amazing host of great filmmakers from around the world - artists whose work remains at the center of his infectious passion for the business. No one knows better than David that original art requires original and fearless business leadership - leadership I was lucky enough to experience firsthand for much of my own career.”

“David is that rare individual in the film industry whose taste and sensibilities are the best combination of quality and commerciality, whether he is overseeing a startup or a studio,” said Jonathan Sehring, IFC Films’ president and WFF’s honorary Trailblazer Award recipient in 2006. “I can think of no one more deserving of the Trailblazer award than David - he is someone who has my highest admiration and respect.”

Other Honorary Award Recipients to be announced. Juried awards will also be given to filmmakers in various competition categories. Tickets for the Maverick Awards Gala & Ceremony can be purchased here.

For ticket information, and for the latest program updates, please visit our website.

Hailed as "A true American Maverick Among Fests" and named among the top 50 film festivals world wide, the Woodstock Film Festival premieres exceptional films, hosts the most talented emerging and established professionals in the movie industry; presents A-list concerts, panels and parties, and creates stimulating, innovative programming year-round.

The Woodstock Film Festival is a non-profit, 501c3 with a mission to present an annual program and year-round schedule of film, music and art-related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning and diversity.

The Woodstock Film Festival returns October 13-16, 2016 for its 17th edition with an extraordinary line-up of fiercely independent films, panels, concerts and special events in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Kingston, Rosendale and Saugerties.