I am writing to let you know that my documentary feature, “Searching for Mr. Rugoff,” is now available to rent or buy, both for classroom use and home use. If you are not familiar with it, the film is about a lost slice of film business history. I have been using it in my classes at Columbia and it brings on a lot of valuable discussion about the connections between the business and the art of film, as well as underlining the role that marketing plays in creating the ways in which films are perceived.
The film is about Donald Rugoff, who was the crazy genius behind Cinema 5, the mid-century theater chain and film distribution company. Rugoff was a difficult (some would say impossible) person but was also the man who kicked art films into the mainstream with outrageous marketing schemes and pure bluster. Rugoff’s impact on cinema culture in the United States is inestimable, and his influence on the art film business—from the studio classics divisions to the independent film movement to the rise of the Weinsteins—is undeniable. Yet, mysteriously, Rugoff has become a virtually forgotten figure.
Here are a few of the quotes from the reviews that were published when the film was released this past august:
“AN ESSENTIAL HISTORY OF FILM CULTURE. I GOT THE WARM-AND-FUZZIES FROM SEEING THE LOVE HERE FOR MOVIEGOING.”
–NICOLAS RAPOLD, NEW YORK TIMES
“AN ENTHRALLING DOCUMENTARY THAT FILM BUFFS EVERYWHERE WILL WANT TO SEE.”
–OWEN GLEIBERMAN, VARIETY
“A BEAUTIFULLY STRUCTURED TALE OF MOVIE LOVE. “SEARCHING FOR MR. RUGOFF” IS BOTH DRAMATIC AND ENLIGHTENING, A MOVING DOCUMENT OF AN AMERICAN LIFE THAT HAS A BIT OF “CITIZEN KANE” TO IT.”
–GODFREY CHESHIRE, ROGEREBERT.COM
The film is available to stream on Amazon, Apple TV/iTunes, Google Play, Vudu and Kino Now. It is also available on Blu-ray and DVD at any on-line retailer that carries physical discs. The educational rights are available from Kino Lorber and will be at Kanopy shortly.
Finally, I am available for Q&As and guest speaking gigs. You can reach me at [log in to unmask].
Please forgive any typos. My brain is faster than my fingers.
Deutchman Company Inc.
Professor of Professional Practice
School of the Arts Film Program