Lionsgate was founded in 1997 and has competed with Hollywood on its own terms.
Frank Giustra, a philanthropist, financier, investment banker and lifelong film fan, founded Lionsgate in 1997. Through a combination of strategic, accretive acquisitions and organic growth, the company has evolved into a global content leader under the leadership of CEO Jon Feltheimer and Vice-Chairman Michael Burns. Lionsgate’s businesses span film production and distribution, television programming, a prestigious film and television library, the Starz premium pay network, interactive games and location-based entertainment, and branded streaming services. Lionsgate employs approximately 1,400 people in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
In 2008, Lionsgate made a substantial gift-in-kind to the University of Toronto Libraries. This gift encompasses virtually Lionsgate’s entire archive, covering materials related to almost 4,500 movies and television shows that it has produced and distributed. This diverse collection actually dates back to the 1970s, before Lionsgate was formed, because it also includes film and television shows produced by Lionsgate’s predecessor as well as acquired companies, such as Montreal’s Cinépix Film Properties and Vancouver’s North Shore Studios.
The materials in Lionsgate’s generous donation include raw footage, rough cuts, outtakes, still photos and trailers, as well as master videotape and 35-mm theatrical release film prints—the full scope of what’s created during the making of a feature film or TV show. A treasure trove for students and faculty members, these resources are housed at the Media Commons Media Archives at Robarts Library. The Lionsgate archive is valuable to researchers in media and film studies but also benefits cinephiles and scholars in a range of disciplines.
The outstanding gift from Lionsgate strengthens the academic and historical importance of the University of Toronto Media Archives, which has a mandate to preserve and make available archival and special collection materials of Canadian national and regional significance.