The Film Industry Lost Some Titans This Year — What Happens Now?

The death of major film industry influencers ranging from Tom Luddy to Edward Pressman raise questions about who will carry on their legacies.
393902 15: A full moon shines over the 28th Telluride Film Festival September 1, 2001 in Telluride, CO. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
The Telluride Film Festival
Getty Images

This past week, veteran filmmakers and industry insiders gathered at the Paris Theatre in New York to bid adieu to Tom Luddy, the Telluride Film Festival co-founder and longtime producer who influenced virtually every facet of the global film community. Luddy’s death earlier this year was a shock not only because he was a beloved figure, but also because of what he represented: the role of the curatorial influencer, who could galvanize filmmakers and impact the state of the art form in ways not so easily quantified.

So who will take the baton now?

Anne Thompson was in town for the Luddy memorial, and on this week’s episode of Screen Talk, she shares some of her takeaways from the memorial with co-host Eric Kohn. In her report from the memorial, Thompson wrote:

Tom Luddy wasn’t famous exactly. But he had a huge impact on film culture via UC Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive in the ’60s and the Telluride Film Festival in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and up to his death in February at age 79. And while he was based in the Bay Area, a theater full of Luddy-philes from both coasts turned up for his tribute at New York’s packed Paris Theater on April 15. They represented the cross-cultural network that Luddy created over decades of introducing people, sharing his favorite film gems, and luring folks to Telluride by inviting their films or bringing them in as guest directors (like Stephen Sondheim or Salman Rushdie) or tributees (like Athol Fugard or Michael Powell). Once they came, they usually came back.

Kohn compares Luddy to another titan of the film community who died in recent times, Pierre Rissient. Together, the two mull on the impact of these indelible characters (the late Edward Pressman also comes up) and what happens next.

Also on this week’s podcast, Kohn and Thompson look at the release strategy for “Beau Is Afraid” and how it might perform as it expands across the country. They also address the newly released “Chevalier” and some updates from the Cannes lineup.

Watch the full episode above or listen to it below.

Screen Talk is produced by Azwan Badruzaman and available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify, and hosted by Megaphone. Browse previous installments here, subscribe here, and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. 

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