Ted Demme, Richard Lagravenese and IFC Announce a New Film on American Filmmaking of the 1970s

New York, June 19, 2001- Ted Demme, Richard LaGravenese and IFC announce the beginning of a new documentary homage to the great American films and filmmakers of the 1970s. Demme and LaGravenese are co-writing, directing and producing the film. IFC Originals, a division of IFC Entertainment, is fully financing the project and Jonathan Sehring, Caroline Kaplan and Alison Palmer Bourke of IFC Entertainment will executive produce.

The film will feature leading contemporary filmmakers conducting interviews with directors from the 1970s. Demme and LaGravenese plan to approach the project as they would a feature film, and will carry it out in the spirit and style of the films of the era.

An expanded version of the film-with never before seen footage, outtakes and exclusive extras-will air on IFC during blocks of themed programming. Several filmmakers participating in the documentary will host a series of special evenings on IFC, featuring hour-long segments from the documentary and presentations of several films of the 1970s.

The film will receive a theatrical release through IFC Films, late 2002, prior to airing on the network. IFC will also release both the television and the theatrical versions of the film on DVD.

The film evolved for Demme during pre-production on “Blow.” While preparing his own period film, he watched countless movies from the era. In talking with friend LaGravenese, the two realized the lack of films about the films and filmmakers of the 1970s. In an effort to ensure that these stories are not forgotten, and to give the filmmakers an opportunity to talk in their own words, the two set out to make this film.

“Our goal,” says Demme, “is to write a love letter to the artists that made the 70s the greatest decade in American filmmaking. The thing that motivated us was to keep alive the stories of these great artists. In our research, we couldn’t find a definitive Hal Ashby interview, which I consider a tragedy.”

“For me, the 70s were a turning point where studio heads were at an age when they were losing contact with the audience and their formulas weren’t working anymore,” says LaGravenese. “They turned to a handful of young filmmakers and gave them a revolutionary independence. The films held so many breakthroughs in style and in form and showed that originality can be commercially feasible. Studios weren’t afraid to put faith in new voices. I guess that’s why IFC seems like the perfect fit for us.”

“We are excited that IFC could play such an integral role in this important undertaking,” says IFC Entertainment President Jonathan Sehring. “The film provides a chance for contemporary filmmakers to meet their cinematic heroes and a chance for the audience to learn about the most exciting decade in American film through conversations with the masters.”

Ted Demme recently completed his sixth feature film, “Blow” starring Johnny Depp. His other directing credits include: “Life” with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, “Beautiful Girls” with Uma Thurman and Natalie Portman, “The Ref” with Kevin Spacey and Denis Leary, “Monument Ave.” with Denis Leary and Famke Janssen and “Who’s the Man.” Over the past five years, Demme’s production company, Spanky Pictures, has produced such feature films as “Blow,” “Tumbleweeds” and “Monument Ave.” In addition Spanky Pictures produced the Emmy Award winning “A Lesson Before Dying” starring Don

Richard LaGravenese was nominated for an Academy Award for his first solo screenwriting effort, “The Fisher King.” Other screenwriting credits include: “The Ref” (which he also produced), “A Little Princess,” “Unstrung Heroes,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” “The Mirror has Two Faces,” “The Horse Whisperer” and “Beloved.” He directed his original screenplay “Living Out Loud” and is currently developing a new script to direct, as well as producing the works of new screenwriters in association with Jersey Films and independent producer John Lyons.

IFC Originals, led by Jonathan Sehring (President, IFC Entertainment), Caroline Kaplan (Vice President, Film & Program Development, IFC Productions) and Alison Palmer Bourke (Executive Producer, IFC Original Productions), is responsible for all original programming on IFC. IFC Originals has produced several previous documentaries for the channel, such as: “The American Nightmare,” “My Best Fiend” (which received a theatrical run prior to airing on IFC), “The Name of This Film is Dogme95,” “A Brief
History of Errol Morris,” “Donald Cammell: Ultimate Performance,” “Kurosawa: The Last Emperor,” “Delroy Lindo on Spike Lee,” “In Bad Taste: The John Waters Story” and “The Typewriter, The Rifle and The Camera.” Their upcoming documentaries include “Indie Sex: Taboos” and “Murder by Numbers.” IFC Originals is also responsible for innovative series for the channel such as “Errol Morris’ First Person,” “Dinner for Five” hosted by Jon Favreau and “Independent Focus.”

The Independent Film Channel (IFC), managed and operated by Bravo Networks, is the first and most widely distributed channel dedicated to independent film presented 24 hours a day, uncut and commercial-free. IFC Entertainment, a division of IFC, consists of IFC Productions, a feature film production company; IFC Films, a theatrical film distribution company; Next Wave Films, established to provide finishing funds and other vital support to emerging filmmakers; and IFC Originals, which produces cutting-edge original programming for the network. In addition, IFC Productions launched InDigEnt, an initiative that helps established filmmakers shoot productions on digital video.

A subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC) and NBC, Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc. manages Bravo, The Independent Film Channel, America Movie Classics, WE: Women’s Entertainment, MuchMusic USA, Rainbow Sports, News 12 Networks and MetroChannels as well as the Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation and Rainbow Network Communications. In addition, Rainbow is a fifty-percent partner in FOX Sports Net. Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Inc. (NYSE: MGM) owns a 20 percent stake in four of Rainbow’s national networks-AMC, Bravo, IFC and WE: Women’s Entertainment. A new series of Cablevision common stock-Rainbow Media Group tracking stock (NYSE: RMG)-began trading on the NYSE on March 30th. The assets that comprise Rainbow Media Group tracking stock include: Rainbow’s five national networks, the company’s interest in the national service FOX Sports Net, and Rainbow’s 5 regional sports channels outside of the New York market and Rainbow Network Communications.


Reid Rosefelt/Sara Finmann
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