Lisa Nishimura leaves Netflix marking the end of an era for users
After over 15 years with the company, Lisa has overseen the transition from DVDs to streaming services in her reign.
Lisa Nishimura’s 15 years at Netflix have spanned the streaming boom, where she’s accumulated multiple accolades including Oscars.
Nishimura’s team oversaw almost everything at Netflix apart from the ‘Knives Out’ franchise and a few other independent films. Some of her productions include ‘Tiger King’, ‘Making a Murderer’, ‘American Factory’, ‘13th’ and ‘Wild Wild Country’.
“When I joined, my job was to buy DVDs from all the non-major studios that were selling, whether it was English-language or foreign, fiction or nonfiction,” Nishimura told viewers in a 2020 interview.
Netflix is now facing budget cuts and a sterner hand to guide the streaming power-house’s next moves, leaving Nishimura out of the picture moving forward.
What co-workers have to say
“Lisa has hands-down been one of the most influential people to bring non-fiction film into the popular mainstream,” said award-winning filmmaker Jeff Orlowski-Yang, director of Netflix documentaries The Social Dilemma and Chasing Coral. “She championed documentaries and elevated them to the same stature as scripted narratives.
“She has massively helped grow this industry.”
Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney added, “I find Lisa to be one of the smartest creative executives in Hollywood.”
In a statement bidding farewell to Nishimura and producer Ian Bricke, who was also let go, Netflix acknowledged her pioneering work in documentaries and her previous oversight of standup comedy specials.
“Lisa Nishimura joined Netflix in the DVD days, and as the company moved into streaming, she built our original documentary and stand-up comedy divisions from the ground up and established Netflix as a powerhouse in both spaces,” said Scott Stuber, chairman of Netflix Film, to whom Nishimura reported to.
A senior independent publicity executive, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, said, “What a loss for Netflix. It’s become less and less shocking to see top-tier talent shed from the Netflix roster as they continue to navigate their ever-changing prioritization structure and content strategy.
“Lisa and Ian are class acts—incredibly talented, thoughtful and innovative executives respected across the industry.”
“Lisa has always been such a joy to work with,” said Orlowski-Yang. “She has trusted us as artists to tell the story the way we wanted to, always encouraging us to trust our instincts and allowing us to do our work the best way we know how.
“Working with her has truly been one of the highlights of the doc industry for me.”
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