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Filmic team and CEO laid off by Bending Spoons, what’s next?

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The Filmic Founder and CEO and entire team have been laid off by Bending Spoons, who acquired the company in the fall of 2022. What exactly happened, and what could be next?

Credit here to PetaPixel which had the original story and said insiders told them the entire team of 22 was cut back in November 2023 and was confirmed by Bending Spoons. They told PetaPixel:

The Filmic product has now been fully integrated into the Bending Spoons platform—development of the product will continue with a dedicated team at Bending Spoons focusing on it. Having worked alongside the original team since the acquisition, the new team possesses the necessary knowledge to ensure a seamless user experience.”

The layoffs include Neill Barham, the Founder and CEO of Filmic (once called FiLMiC Pro).

Based in Milan, Italy, Bending Spoons has developed or acquired a wide range of apps in recent times, including Splice (video editor for iOS and Android), Evernote (popular note-taking app), Remini (AI-powered photo and video enhancer), and 30 Day Fitness. The company also developed Immuni in April 2020 for the Italian government, which is a COVID-19 contact tracer app.

Speaking of Evernote, Bending Spoons laid off most of the US-based staff after acquisition and moved development to Europe. Sound familiar? Evernote may be less popular than it once was, but I have friends who are still very passionate about it.

While the events surrounding Filmic are shocking news, it's not entirely surprising. This sort of thing happens regularly. One of my all-time favorite running apps for iPhone, Endomondo, was acquired years ago by Under Armour, but development stopped around 2019. I noticed the original team had updated their LinkedIn profiles to show new companies they founded or worked at, and by the end of 2020, Under Armour completely shut it down.

Do I think that will happen to Filmic? No, and see below for the reason why.

So what's next for Filmic?

This is just speculation on my part, but I think the app will keep being developed, but obviously it'll be entirely in-house by Bending Spoons. It acquired the app and everything associated with it, and it’s interesting to note that it pivoted over to subscription not long after the acquisition.

It's far and away the best mobile cinematography app and one that I've been passionate about for years. I can't see Bending Spoons doing an EOL (end of life) with Filmic based on the strength and popularity of the app. But there was a backlash to the subscription model, which was perplexing at first (weekly?!), and laying off the team and Founder/CEO Neill Barham won't bring any new goodwill. I would perhaps suggest working on outreach to mobile filmmaking and similar influencers to help with that.

While mobile filmmaking is more of a 'hobby' for me,  I do love Filmic, and I'm very sad to hear about the team getting laid off. If you're as passionate about Filmic, of course, keep using the app to film your projects and masterpieces. It’s going to be a slightly tougher market for the new dev team now, though, as it includes the promising Blackmagic Camera App. While this is only available for iPhone at the moment (and Apple itself used it for its M3 announcement), it would be awesome if Blackmagic Design worked on an Android version.

Regrettably, it seems that FilmicFest 2023 is part of the collateral damage of all this and has been canceled.

Tags: Production mobile filmmaking