Focus is a singular global company, dedicated to producing, acquiring, financing, selling, and distributing original and daring films from emerging and established filmmakers – films that challenge mainstream moviegoers to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world. The company’s flexible and nuanced approach to distribution allows it to support a wide range of films, from those geared to a single local market to worldwide hits. The company operates as Focus Features domestically, and as Focus Features International (FFI) overseas.
As chief operating officer, Mr. Karpen was responsible for the company’s worldwide finance, daily operations, and strategic planning. With his promotion to president in May 2006, he continues with those responsibilities and has duties now encompass broader oversight of all aspects of domestic and international activities for Focus and FFI.
Mr. Karpen reports to Focus chief executive officer (CEO) James Schamus. He co-chairs the company’s executive committee, and works closely with executives from Focus parent company NBCUniversal.
FFI finances, acquires, sells, and distributes both films geared to local markets and films seeking distribution worldwide, from both emerging and established filmmakers. International distribution is nuanced and tailored to suit each film, from direct distribution through Universal Pictures International (UPI) in one or more territories; to the licensing of distribution rights to independent distributors around the world; or any combination of the two. Focus Features’ considerable domestic production/release slate is largely sold and distributed internationally by FFI.
The company’s Academy Award-winning films have included Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (Focus’ all-time top-grosser, with over $180 million worldwide); Roman Polanski’s The Pianist (winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Director); Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation; Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Walter Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries; Fernando Meirelles’ The Constant Gardener; Joe Wright’s Atonement; and Gus Van Sant’s Milk.
Mr. Karpen joined Focus direct from Oxygen Media, where he had been senior vice president, finance and planning, since March 2000. At Oxygen, he managed the company’s multi-year business plan, and oversaw the company’s revenue objectives and forecasts.
Immediately prior to Oxygen, he worked at Independent Pictures Inc. as CFO, supervising the company’s day-to-day operations. Before Independent, he was CFO at Sunbow Entertainment. He began his industry career at Miramax Films, where his four-year stint saw him promoted to senior vice president, finance & operations.
Mr. Karpen holds an MBA from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Washington University’s School of Business.