Ira Deutchman has been making, marketing and distributing films since 1975, having worked on more than 150 films, including some of the most successful independent films of all time. He was one of the founders of Cinecom and later created Fine Line Features—two companies that were created from scratch and, in their respective times, helped define the independent film business. He was also a co-founder of Emerging Pictures, the first digital projection network in the United States and a pioneer in delivering live cultural events into movie theaters.
Currently Deutchman is an independent producer, and a consultant in marketing and distribution of independent films. Among his clients are Cinecitta, for which he promotes Italian cinema in the U.S. He is also Professor Emeritus in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1987 and was the Chair of the Film Program from 2011-2015. Deutchman is also a frequent keynote speaker and presenter at industry conferences and academic institutions around the world.
In 2017, Deutchman was awarded the Spotlight Lifetime Achievement Award by the Sundance Art House Convergence for his service to independent film marketing and distribution.
His current projects include serving as producer of “Nickel & Dimed,” based on the book by Barbara Ehrenreich and directed by Debra Granik (in pre-production), director/producer of the feature documentary “Searching for Mr. Rugoff” (opened in theaters in August, 2021,) producer of the stage adaptation of Joan Micklin Silver’s “Hester Street” (in development) and executive producer of the mini-series based on the novel “Radio Girls” by Sarah-Jane Stratford (in development).
Among the over 60 films he acquired and released at Fine Line were Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table, Gus van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho, Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth, Robert Altman’s The Player and Short Cuts, Roman Polanski’s Bitter Moon and Death and the Maiden, Alan Rudolph’s Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Mike Leigh’s Naked, and the award-winning Hoop Dreams, which in its time was the highest grossing non-music documentary in history.
Prior to Fine Line, as President of The Deutchman Company, Deutchman provided marketing consulting services for such films as Steven Soderbergh’s sex, lies, and videotape for Miramax, Charles Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger for The Samuel Goldwyn Company and Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan for New Line Cinema.
Previously, Deutchman was one of the founding partners and President of Marketing and Distribution for Cinecom Entertainment Group, the film distribution company known for such diverse releases as Merchant/Ivory’s A Room with a View, Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense, Gregory Nava’s El Norte and John Sayles’ The Brother From Another Planet.
While at United Artists Classics, Films Incorporated and Cinema 5 Ltd., highlights included Lina Wertmuller’s Seven Beauties and Swept Away, Barbara Koppel’s Harlan County, USA, Jean-Jacques Beineix’s Diva, and Francois Truffaut’s The Last Metro. During his college days, Deutchman organized and marketed the Midwest premiere of John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence.
Deutchman was the Producer of Tony Vitale’s Kiss Me, Guido, Sarah Kernochan’s All I Wanna Do, Mark Christopher’s 54, Adam Davidson’s Way Past Cool, Bob Gale’s Interstate 60, Tanya Wexler’s Relative Evil, Ann Hu’s Beauty Remains and Ed Radtke’s Speed of Life. He was also Consulting Producer on the CBS sitcom Some of My Best Friends.
Other Screen credits include Associate Producer of John Sayles’ Matewan and Honeydripper; Executive Producer of Jonathan Demme’s Swimming to Cambodia, Gary Sinise’s Miles From Home, Paul Bartel’s Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, Matty Rich’s Straight Out of Brooklyn, Stephen Gyllenhaal’s Waterland, Maggie Greenwald’s The Ballad of Little Jo, Alan Rudolph’s Mrs. Parker & the Vicious Circle, Paul Auster’s Lulu On the Bridge, Wayne Wang’s Center of the World, Daniel Noah’s Twelve, Anthony Jaswinski’s Killing Time, Loren-Paul Caplin’s The Lucky Ones, Amy Wadell’s Brothel and Georgia Lee’s Red Doors; and Co-Producer of David Anspaugh’s The Game of Their Lives.
Deutchman is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he majored in film. His personal archive is part of the University of Michigan Screen Arts Mavericks and Makers Collection, which also includes the archives of Orson Welles, Robert Altman, Jonathan Demme, Alan Rudolph, Nancy Savoca and John Sayles.
The documentary feature Searching for Mr. Rugoff is his feature directorial debut.