Tag Archives: Sundance

Remembering Jonathan Demme

I heard the devastating news today that Jonathan Demme is no longer with us. I knew he had been ill, but the last time I saw him he looked like he was back to his normal self and seemed to be in quite good spirits. But then again, Jonathan always gave off the vibe of being in good spirits. I had the pleasure of working with him on two of his films, and then peripherally on two others, and in all that time he never treated me with anything but the utmost respect. 

Jonathan Demme (bottom) and me (top) at Sundance in the ’80s. I have no recollection who the other folks are.

I first met Jonathan shortly after the Cinecom team screened “Stop Making Sense” and we immediately decided we wanted to distribute it. The film had been financed by Warner Brother Records; from their perspective, it was merely a promotional film intended to broaden the appeal of Talking Heads. We saw the film differently, as Demme was already on our radar as someone we would love to work with. Yes, it was a great concert film, but the simplicity with which it captured a live performance and made it feel as immediate and exciting as if you were in the room–this was something new. This was pure cinema.

Jonathan was coming off of a few films that, while well received critically, had not exactly set the world on fire. Worse yet, he had just finished “Swing Shift,” a fairly big budget Hollywood movie he wasn’t all that pleased with, that tanked at the box office. The experience of “Stop Making Sense” seemed to him like a breath of fresh air at a time when his Hollywood stock was not exactly rising. Perhaps it was his publicity background kicking in, but he was unusually respectful of the work being done to market and distribute the film, and showered us with public praise when the film outperformed expectations.  (more…)

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The “Daily Buzz” at Sundance

The following is a podcast I took part in at Sundance as part of a program called “The Daily Buzz.” The other participamnts were:

Emily Best/SEED AND SPARK
Holly Herrick/AUSTIN FILM SOCIETY
Jim Brunzell/HAMMER TO NAIL
Ula Sniegowska/AFF POLAND
Tomris Laffly/FILM JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL

Comments after the break… (more…)

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Art House Convergence Acceptance Speech

This past Tuesday night, I was honored by the Art House Convergence with the first annual Spotlight Lifetime Achievement Award. Since then, I’ve been asked by many people who were there if I could post my acceptance speech. Thanks to the good folks at 4th Row Films, who were there to capture it, here it is. They even were so kind to insert the video that was made by Spotlight Cinema Network. Thanks to one and all.

Ira Deutchman speech – Lifetime Achievement Award from Ira Deutchman on Vimeo.

Comments after the break… (more…)

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Keynote from the Sundance Art House Convergence

Below is the video of the keynote speech I gave this past January at the Art House Convergence, an annual event that brings together many of the independent art houses from all over the U.S. and with some representation from the rest of the world. I used the opportunity to give a kind of personal history lesson about the distribution and marketing of indie films, and to draw some lessons for the world we currently live in. A big thank you to Russ Collins of the Michigan Theater for giving me the opportunity to speak, and to Doug Tirola and his team at 4th Row Films for recording it.

These video originally appeared on Thompson on Hollywood, part of the Indiewire network.

PART 1: Don Rugoff and Unplanned Beginnings

(more…)

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Anyone speak Danish?

De små films store festival

Sidsel Nyholm | 15. januar 2011

Film om eksistensen En lille mormonsk skilandsby er hvert år vært for USA?s vigtigste filmfestival. Robert Redfords Sundance, der går løs i næste uge, har sat uafhængige amerikanske film på verdenskortet

Det meste af året er der stille i Park City, en konservativ mormonsk skilandsby i et lille hjørne af den vestlige amerikanske delstat Utah.

Men stilheden forvandles til et leben i 10 dage hver januar måned, når horder af filmbranchens lykkejægere vælter ind i de tilisede gader for at stå på ski, netværke, feste og – ikke mindst – se og vise film. (more…)

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Filmmakers: the New Breed

Filmmaker Magazine and the Workbook Project are doing a series of reports from Sundance/Slamdance on the new breed of filmmakers–the ones that are taking distribution of their work into their own hands. Below is one segment that the Filmmaker Blog describes as follows:

Filmmakers Zak Forsman and Kevin K. Shah of Sabi Pictures arrive at Park City with an intent to define the questions most relevant to independent distribution options. Insights from Brian Newman, Dan Mirvish, Jon Reiss and Ira Deutchman open a path toward discovering some real solutions.

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