NEW YORK, NEW YORK [April 21, 2004] — Today, April 21, 2004, Xan Cassavetes’ documentary Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession was named as an Official Selection, Out of Competition, to the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Last month, the Independent Film Channel (IFC), the first and largest cable network dedicated to independent filmmaking, announced that it will produce and exclusively air Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession on its network.
The following is a statement by IFC Network’s General Manager, Ed Carroll on the announcement.
“Since IFC was created 10 years ago, we have strived to provide filmmakers with an environment where their passion projects can be created and seen and we are honored to work with Xan on her very personal directorial debut. Xan and her team, Rick Ross of Maja Films and Marshall Persinger of Fresh Produce Films, have created an outstanding documentary. IFC applauds their vision, their leadership and extend congratulations to each of them on this selection.
“Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession was created specifically for IFC’s television viewers. It is very rare for cable network programming to make such an important contribution to documentary filmmaking. IFC takes great pride in creating original and unique projects that break the boundaries between theatrical and home viewing audiences and will continue our commitment to groundbreaking original documentaries.
“We look forward to airing the film exclusively on the network later this year.”
Launched in 1974 in Los Angeles, Z Channel was one of the country’s first pay cable stations.
Z Channel’s prominence was solidified in 1980 when maverick programmer Jerry Harvey took over as head of programming. Z’s uniqueness was attributed to Harvey and his staff’s determination, diverse taste and encyclopedic knowledge of cinema. Harvey’s programming showcased a combination of classic, international, independent, and Hollywood films. Z was the first to develop programming innovations such as ‘director’s cuts’ and uniquely themed on air festivals, while also airing many rare and never before seen exclusives and critically acclaimed films not in the mainstream.
Directing her first feature length documentary, Ms. Casssavetes, explores the historic influence of Z Channel; showcases the important voice the station gave filmmakers; examines the great influence the Los Angeles-based channel had on modern cinema, independent filmmaking, and the development of cable television; and chronicles the brilliant, but troubled Jerry Harvey and the murder/suicide that ended his life.
Those sharing their thoughts and memories include Robert Altman, Jacqueline Bisset, James Woods, Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, Alexander Payne, Paul Verhoeven, Theresa Russell, Penelope Spheeris, Henry Jaglom, Alan Rudolph, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and film critics F.X. Feeney and Kevin Thomas.
Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession is produced by Rick Ross of Maja Films and Marshall Persinger of Fresh Produce Films (Still Breathing, Wild Iris, Twin Falls Idaho). The documentary is executive produced by IFC’s Director of Original Programming Alison Bourke. IFC’s Susan Heimbinder will serve as supervising producer.
Directed By XAN CASSAVETES
Produced By RICK ROSS & MARSHALL PERSINGER
Executive Producers ALISON PALMER BOURKE & ED CARROLL
Director of Photography JOHN PIROZZI
Edited By IAIN KENNEDY
Music By STEVEN HUFSTETER
Co-Producer F.X. FEENEY
Supervising Producer SUSAN HEIMBINDER
Associate Producers LESLIE LOWELL & JONATHAN MONTEPARE
ABOUT IFC TELEVISION
The Independent Film Channel (IFC) is the first and most widely distributed channel dedicated to independent film 24 hours a day, uncut and commercial free. IFC continues to expand its programming lineup with original series and independent genre-focused specials. The network’s recent, critically acclaimed series and specials include Dinner For Five, BaadAsssss Cinema, The American Nightmare, Indie Sex: Taboos and A Decade Under the Influence.
IFC Television is a part of IFC Companies, which has created a unique end-to-end business model and brand that focuses on developing and nurturing talent, and maximizing the value of independent film. With a television network, a film distribution and production unit, and a VOD service, IFC Companies represents the future of independent film. IFC Companies uses its unique position to broaden the independent film audience nationwide and to expand the opportunities for independent filmmakers. IFC Companies is a division of Rainbow Media Holdings LLC.