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RIP Steve Golin, an Oscar-Winning Producer With the Rarest Asset: Taste

From Spike Jonze to "Spotlight," Golin pushed for excellence across the full range of filmed entertainment over three decades.

Steve Golin accepts the award for best picture for â?œSpotlightâ?? at the 21st annual Critics' Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar, in Santa Monica, CalifAPTOPIX 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards - Show, Santa Monica, USA - 17 Jan 2016

Steve Golin accepts the award for best picture for “Spotlight” at the 21st annual Critics’ Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar, in Santa Monica, Calif
APTOPIX 21st Annual Critics’ Choice Awards – Show, Santa Monica, USA – 17 Jan 2016

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Anonymous Content founder and producer Steve Golin, who succumbed to cancer on April 21 at age 64, had something in short supply in Hollywood: good taste. There aren’t many Hollywood producers who can lay claim to producing two Oscar contenders in one year, as he did with “Spotlight” and “The Revenant” in 2016. (Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight” won Best Picture and Original Screenplay, while “The Revenant” took home Best Director, Actor and Cinematography for A.G. Inarritu, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Emmanuel Lubezki, respectively.)

Spotlight

While Golin was a hard-driving entrepreneur who also founded Propaganda Films — the pioneering production/management company/pirate crew that represented more than 50 top movie directors from Michael Bay, Zack Snyder, and Antoine Fuqua to Michel Gondry, David Lynch, Spike Jonze, and David Fincher for commercials and music videos as well as filmed features — he always put in the increasing time and energy it required to support excellent dramas. Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Jonze’s “Being John Malkovich,” and Lynch’s “Wild at Heart” are among the groundbreaking films that Golin pushed through, along with such obviously uncommercial labors of love as Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York” and Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation,” which marked Netflix’s first theatrical release.

"Boy Erased"

“Boy Erased”

Focus Features

Joel Edgerton’s poignant true story “Boy Erased” starring Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman, documentary expose “Flint Town,” Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” starring Joaquin Phoenix, and Harmony Korine’s “Beach Bum” are recent examples of the edgy fare that Golin championed, whatever the odds against them succeeding in an unforgiving marketplace.

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, "True Detective"

Golin jumped into the television revolution early, from “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Twin Peaks” to “Tales of the City,” before he and Anonymous producer Michael Sugar pushed Fukunaga to direct the entire 2014 first season of Emmy-winning “True Detective” and Steven Soderbergh took on Cinemax’s “The Knick.” Sam Esmail’s Emmy-winning “Mr. Robot” and other series followed, from “The Alienist” to George Clooney’s upcoming Hulu adaptation of Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22.”

Screenwriter Howard Rodman remembered him as “impeccably honest even when — perhaps especially when — he was telling me what I didn’t want to hear,” he said. “He was both a deeply savvy businessman and someone who believed in the power of strange, wonderful films to transform the world.”

“He was my favorite kind of producer,” said Tom Ortenberg, founder of “Spotlight” distributor Open Road Films. “Steve was smart, he cared and he caused just enough trouble to keep us all on our toes and to serve as a reminder that while we are all fortunate to be working in a wonderful business, nothing ever comes easy.”

“When most of the rest of the business was lamenting the state of the independent film scene, Steve was busy thriving in it,” said producer Dan Lupovitz. “As people stated with authority that movies of a various budgets could no longer be made, Steve was busy making them.”

Roma

“Roma”

screen shot

“Steve was a guiding light and there are very few of those in the world,” stated Participant Media’s Jonathan King and David Linde. “Whoever spent time with him was the better off for it, whether in business or life. We are heartbroken for his family and colleagues. We worked with him from ‘Eternal Sunshine’ to ‘Spotlight’ to ‘Roma’–films that lived through him.”

Fearlessly independent producers like Golin who fight for quality movies are a rare breed. He will be sorely missed.

 

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