Mrs Steve Jobs 'puts money in film studio'

Mrs Laurene Powell Jobs, in Oakland visiting a college preparatory programme she co-founded (above), was listed as executive producer of Kailash, a film which won the US Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Mrs Laurene Powell Jobs, in Oakland visiting a college preparatory programme she co-founded (above), was listed as executive producer of Kailash, a film which won the US Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

LOS ANGELES • Billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs is investing more of her fortune in Hollywood by backing a movie studio alongside Oscarwinning director Davis Guggenheim, according to people with knowledge of the situation. She is the widow of Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former chief executive of Apple.

Emerson Collective, a philanthropic firm founded by Mrs Powell Jobs, co-founded a start-up tasked with making documentary films, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the arrangement is not public.

The Venice, California-based business goes by the name Concordia Studio and already has a film to its credit, Kailash, which was honoured at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film examines child slavery and human traffickers through the story of Nobel Peace Prize winner and Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.

Though her role in backing the studio has not been publicly announced, Mrs Powell Jobs was listed as executive producer of Kailash, which won the US Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

The project melds her growing interest in media - she co-owns a magazine and two production houses - with her progressive politics. It also capitalises on the growing demand for documentaries.

The genre is having a revival, thanks to platforms such as Netflix.

Emerson Collective, named after the writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, is a rising power in the media business. The firm acquired a stake in Hollywood production and talent management company Anonymous Content, which produced Oscar winner Spotlight (2015).

Emerson Collective also invested in Macro, a media company that makes films, television shows and Web series from the perspective of people of colour, including the Oscar-nominated Fences (2016).

Emerson Collective's investments have forced the press-averse Mrs Powell Jobs, 54, into the spotlight. It has also funded initiatives in immigration, education and health, and last year bought a majority stake in the Atlantic magazine.

Mrs Powell Jobs is the world's sixth-richest woman, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

She has a US$19.3-billion (S$26.2-billion) fortune, thanks to the stakes in Apple and Walt Disney, inherited from her late husband.

Kailash was co-produced by Guggenheim, who is known for documentary films such as An Inconvenient Truth (2006) and Waiting For "Superman" (2010).

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2018, with the headline 'Mrs Steve Jobs 'puts money in film studio''. Print Edition | Subscribe