Streaming services have propagated the myth that movie fans can see almost anything they want at any time. Meanwhile, entire swaths of film history are no longer available in any format due to a wide variety of issues. In particular, the independent American film movement of the ‘80s and ‘90s is in jeopardy of disappearing altogether.
Two examples of this phenomenon are Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala and Mary Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol, two iconic films—with major stars and directors—that have been out of print on physical media and entirely unavailable on television and streaming. Mira Nair and Mary Harron will use their films as case studies, tracing their efforts to get their work and their materials out of limbo—in one case successfully and the other still unresolved, but progressing! They will be joined by entertainment attorney Susan Bodine to discuss some of the legal challenges that create such situations and independent producer Ira Deutchman, who will moderate.
Academy Award-nominated film director Mira Nair’s debut Salaam Bombay! (1988) won the Caméra d’Or at Cannes. Other works include Monsoon Wedding (2001, Golden Lion at Venice), The Namesake (2006), Mississippi Masala (1991), Queen of Katwe (2016), and A Suitable Boy (2020). Her next film will be Amri, an experimental portrait of Amrita Sher-Gil. She returned to the theater for her most recent endeavor, directing Monsoon Wedding the Musical, which opens in New York City at St Ann's Warehouse in May 2023 and is bound for Broadway. An activist by nature, Nair founded Salaam Balak Trust for Indian street children in 1988 and the Maisha Film Lab in 2004, a free school to train filmmakers in Africa.
One of the most distinctive voices of the independent film movement of the last twenty five years, Mary Harron made her debut as a feature-film writer/director in 1996 with I Shot Andy Warhol. The film won star Lili Taylor a Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and garnered Independent Spirit Award and London Film Critic Circle nominations for Best First Feature. Her next film, in 2000, was the once notorious and now revered American Psycho starring Christian Bale and co-written with Guinevere Turner. This was followed by The Notorious Bettie Page in 2006 (also co-written with Guinevere Turner), cult horror film The Moth Diaries in 2011 and Charlie Says, written by Guinevere Turner and starring Matt Smith as Charles Manson, in 2019.
Mary began her directing career making short films and documentaries in the UK for the BBC and Channel Four in the late 1980s. In the US she has directed episodes of many acclaimed television series including Homicide: Life on the Street, Oz, The L Word, Six Feet Under, Big Love and The Following, as well as the TV movie Anna Nicole. In 2017 she directed all six episodes of the multiple award winning Netflix series Alias Grace, adapted by Sarah Polley from the novel by Margaret Atwood. In 2019 she directed an eight part horror series The Expecting for Quibi.
Mary’s latest film is DaliLand about the last years of Salvador Dali and his tempestuous marriage with his wife Gala, starring Ben Kingsley, Barbara Sukowa and Chris Briney.
Susan Bodine represents a diverse clientele in the motion picture, television, and digital media industries. Along with studios, production companies, and financiers, she advises a number of high-profile directors, writers, and producers on all legal aspects of their careers. She has been an adjunct professor in the graduate producing program at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and festivals in the US and internationally. She’s been included in numerous industry listings of prominent entertainment attorneys including Variety’s Women’s Impact Reports and Elite Dealmakers, NY, and TheHollywood Reporter’s Power Lawyers.
Ira Deutchman has been making, marketing and distributing films since 1975, having worked on over 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. 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.
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).
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.