Longtime Chief Content Officer At Participant – Deadline

Diane Weyermann, the longtime Chief Content Officer at Participant who also produced or exec produced numerous films including An Inconvenient Truth and Citizenfour, died today of cancer in New York, the company said. She was 66.

Weyermann had long been the engine behind the company’s documentary film and television slate.

“In the very earliest days of Participant, I was incredibly lucky to have Diane agree to run our newfound documentary department, including our first documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’” said Jeff Skoll, who founded Participant in 2004. “From day 1, Diane brought a passion to her work and cared deeply about the battles we helped fight over the issues portrayed in each film. Over 17 years together, she was a champion in every way, through strategic, industry, and emerging global challenges. Diane was the heart and soul of Participant. I will miss her spirit, her collegiality, and the effervescence she brought to everything she touched.  I am deeply grateful for Diane’s dedication to helping me build Participant. Our team, the film industry, and the world have suffered a great loss. Diane was one of a kind.”

In addition to executive producing 48 documentary features at Participant, she served as EP on seven TV series including America to Me and City So Real. She also led the company to co-acquire distribution rights to films.

Weyermann was a champion for female-led projects at Participant, including Citizenfour, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and was directed by Laura Poitras; The Great Invisible, directed by Margaret Brown; My Name Is Pauli Murray, directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West; Far From the Tree by Rachel Dretzin; and John Lewis: Good Trouble, from director Dawn Porter.


Collectively, Weyermann’s projects have earned 10 Academy Award nominations and four wins, eight Emmy nominations and three wins, three BAFTA nominations and one win, five Spirit Award nominations and three wins. The films highlight issues spanning climate change to government surveillance, the plight of refugees to the dignity of work. But the care she took to bring the most urgent social issues to life extended beyond what was shown on the big screen.

Prior to joining Participant in 2005, Weyermann was the director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program. During her tenure, she was responsible for the Sundance Documentary Fund and launched two annual documentary film labs, focusing on the creative process.

Before her time at Sundance, Weyermann was the director of the Open Society Institute New York’s Arts and Culture Program where she launched the Soros Documentary Fund, which later became the Sundance Documentary Fund.

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