Independent film veteran Ira Deutchman has received the first annual Spotlight Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in the distribution and exhibition of independent films. The award was created by advertising company Spotlight Cinema Networks in partnership with the Art House Convergence.
Deutchman has been distributing, marketing and making independent films for more than 40 years, working on some of the most successful and acclaimed indie titles of our time. He received the award Tuesday night at a dinner following Art House Convergence’s annual conference.
“Ira Deutchman is a legendary figure in the world of independent film distribution, marketing and production,” Spotlight Cinema Networks chief executive officer Jerry Rakfeldt said in a statement. “His creativity, passion and business acumen have helped shape, nurture and expand the independent film industry.”
Deutchman has worked on more than 150 films, was one of the co-founders of Cinecom and later created Fine Line Features. Among the more than 60 films he acquired and released at Fine Line were Gus van Sant’s “My Own Private Idaho,” Robert Altman’s “The Player” and the award-winning “Hoop Dreams.” Other films Deutchman worked on include “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Metropolitan,” “A Room with a View,” “Stop Making Sense,” and “The Brother from Another Planet.”
Deutchman is currently a consultant in marketing and distribution of independent films and a professor of Professional Practice in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, where he was the Chair of the Film Program from 2011-2015. He has taught at Columbia since 1987 where his signature course, first styled as “Marketing and Distribution of Feature Films” is now known as “The Business of Motion Pictures.”
His executive producer credits include Jonathan Demme’s “Swimming to Cambodia,” Matty Rich’s “Straight Out of Brooklyn,” Stephen Gyllenhaal’s “Waterland,” Maggie Greenwald’s “The Ballad of Little Jo,” Alan Rudolph’s “Mrs. Parker & the Vicious Circle,” Paul Auster’s “Lulu On the Bridge,” Wayne Wang’s “Center of the World,” and Georgia Lee’s “Red Doors.” He helped produce Tony Vitale’s “Kiss Me, Guido,” Sarah Kernochan’s “All I Wanna Do,” Mark Christopher’s “54,” Adam Davidson’s “Way Past Cool,” Bob Gale’s “Interstate 60,” Tanya Wexler’s “Relative Evil,” Ann Hu’s “Beauty Remains” and Ed Radtke’s “Speed of Life.” Deutchman continues to produce new films through his Emerging Pictures label, which he co-founded in 2002.
“My passion for independent cinema has been the driving force in my career and I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to devote my entire professional life to this passion,” Deutchman said in the statement.
He is currently producing and directing a documentary about Donald Rugoff, the legendary mad genius of the art film business.