New York-based independent film company Paladin, formed last fall by distribution veteran Mark Urman, announced today that it will release Angela Ismailos’ Great Directors, a celebration of films and filmmaking starring ten of the world’s most acclaimed, provocative, and individualistic living directors. The documentary had its world premiere at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, and was produced through Ismailos’ Anisma Films. Paladin will open the film in NY, Los Angeles, and other top markets in late Spring.
A deeply personal and intimate look at the art of cinema and the artists who create it, Great Directors features original, in-depth conversations with world-class filmmakers Bernardo Bertolucci (The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor, The Dreamers), David Lynch (The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive), Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters, The Queen, High Fidelity), Agnes Varda (Vagabond/Without Roof or Rule), Ken Loach (Hidden Agenda, Land and Freedom, Land and Freedom , The Wind That Shakes the Barley), Liliana Cavani (The Night Porter), Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven, I’m Not There), Catherine Breillat (The Last Mistress), Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, School of Rock) and John Sayles.
These interviews more than just chronicle Ismailos’ encounters with ten remarkable men and women. Extensively illuminated by clips and historical archives from the subjects’ works, they also reveal the distinctive personalities who created the timeless images that have long inspired Ismailos—and all of us. Intercutting among the filmmakers in a freely associative way, Ismailos explores each director’s artistic evolution; the role of politics and history on their work; their feelings about the other great directors who inspired them (with Bertolucci paying homage to Pasolini, Breillat to Bergman, and Haynes to Fassbinder, etc.); and the agony and ecstasy of being an artist in a medium that is, paradoxically, also an industry.
Ismailos worked on the film for four years, shooting interviews everywhere from Rome to Paris; London to Los Angeles, Portland to Austin, Texas.
“This film is truly a dream project for me as someone who grew up interpreting art and cinema,”
“I hope the film will inspire and intrigue anyone involved in the creative process, and anyone who uses cinema as a way to escape or explore their own anxieties and emotions through the moving image.”
About the film Urman adds,
“I have always thought that directors are the true ’superstars’ in the movie world so, to me, Angela’s film has the most star-studded ‘cast’ of any film I’ve seen in years. Having worked on projects by most of these directors at various points in my career, I take Great Directors very personally, and I trust that most ardent cinephiles will feel the same.”
Paladin has thus far released Disgrace, the prize-winning adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee, starring two-time Oscar-nominee John Malkovich; Tennessee Williams’ The loss of a Teardrop Diamond, starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Ellen Burstyn; and opens Jeb Stuart’s civil rights drama, Blood Done Sign My Name, in a number of major markets throughout the country on February 19th. Though Great Directors is the company’s first non-fiction release, prior to forming Paladin, Urman headed the distribution divisions of both Lionsgate and THINKFilm, where he shepherded seven “Best Documentary” Oscar-nominees, and two winners, including Born Into Brothels, Taxi To The Darkside, Spellbound, The Story Of The Weeping Camel, and Murderball.
Cinetic International is handling foreign sales on the film and represents the filmmaker.