One Hundred Films and a Funeral

By Michael Kuhn | Go to book overview

20
The Sundance Channel

Some 20 years or so ago, Robert Redford took over an ailing film festival in Salt Lake City, moved it to an old Utah mountain mining town called Park City and renamed it The Sundance Film Festival. This is somewhat misleading because Sundance is a small ski resort some 40 minutes from Park City, but in a valley that Redford has been lovingly preserving from modern development for many years.

From small beginnings, the festival has grown to be the leading independent film festival in the world. The profits it makes are fed into the Sundance Institute, which trains young people throughout the year in all aspects of film-making. Somehow, my name was mentioned to Redford as a candidate for the board of the Sundance Institute. Together with my wife, I found myself in Spring 1994 in one of the wonderful log cabins in the woods above Sundance, attending, as an observer, part of one of the teaching courses. A message came from ‘The Great One’ and I was invited horse riding before breakfast the next day. I don’t think Redford realised that Jews and horse riding do not go together, but I was too cowardly to decline. I prayed all night for intervention from on High and sure enough, an incredible storm appeared and riding was cancelled. A breakfast with Redford turned into an invitation to join the board.

In due course, his representatives approached us to join them and Viacom in a joint venture to launch an independent film channel called Sundance, to be carried over cable and satellite. Initially, I turned it down because there was already a good competitor, Independent Film Channel, and I did not believe that one could get people to pay (as they proposed) a separate monthly subscription for an independent film channel. After some time, we were again approached and looked at a channel paid for

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One Hundred Films and a Funeral
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Dedication *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations i
  • Preface ii
  • Acknowledgements iv
  • Part One - Polygram and Films — The INS and Outs 1
  • 1 - Early Flirtations 3
  • 2 - When a Film Is Not a Film- The Long Form Music Video Disguise 15
  • 3 - Commitment and Relationships 25
  • 4 - The Strategy Unfolds 33
  • 5 - Building a Studio 45
  • 6 - Four Weddings and a Funeral 57
  • 7 - Chasing the Lion- Polygram, Mgm and Kirk Kerkorian 69
  • 8 - Green Lighting and Marketing 79
  • 9 - The End 91
  • Part Two - Influences, Titans and Characters 97
  • 10 - Arthur Krim 99
  • 11 - Lew Grade 105
  • 12 - Of Colleagues 111
  • 13 - Talent 115
  • 14 - Politicians 121
  • Part Three - Some Other Bit-Parts Observed 125
  • 15 - The Control Sheet 127
  • 16 - Opening a Movie in America 131
  • 17 - African-American Films 135
  • 18 - Television and Catalogues 137
  • 19 - Management 139
  • 20 - The Sundance Channel 141
  • Postscript 143
  • Appendices 145
  • 1 - The Players 146
  • 2 - Polygram Filmed Entertainment Chronology 159
  • 3 - Timeline 163
  • 4 - Polygram Filmed Entertainment- Film List 173
  • 5 - Film Credits 180
  • 6 - Awards 212
  • 7 - Polygram Companies 233
  • 8 - Corporate Structure — Polygram Filmed Entertainment 235
  • 9 - Index 239
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