In 1993, during the Siege of Sarajevo, an ill-fated Muslim girl and a Serbian boy were gunned down on a bridge while trying to make their escape. Both sides then stood off to see who would come to collect the bodies. Meanwhile, every journalist wanted to cover the operatic story. Amidst the propaganda and finger-pointing, the girl’s family wasn’t talking – that is, until Zaritsky setup camp inside her father’s house for a week,
smoking a million cigarettes on his couch until he agreed to be interviewed. Zaritsky’s Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo (1994) was nominated for an Emmy. It’s Executive Producer was David Fanning.
Fanning was a self-taught South African living in California when he was approached by WGBH to executive produce a series with a focus on international stories. Fanning declined the job, citing that an executive producer
was somebody who wrote the check and put his name on your program. Realizing his mistake, Fanning later backpedalled and has served as the executive producer of Frontline (PBS) for over 30 years. During this time he has produced over 530 documentaries with a weekly audience of 2.7 million. Fanning is married to Renata Simone.
In the 1980’s, there were few journalists who wanted to be associated with the emerging AIDS epidemic. Simone had studied science & biology as an undergraduate and became something of an in-house ‘AIDS expert’ at WGBH and on Frontline, where she wrote, directed and produced for numerous award-winning AIDS-related films. Simone has also served as Executive Producer of Documentary Development for The Sundance Institute, working with Robert Redford to ignite a series of political/environmental films.
His work as an actor and director need no introduction, but where his legacy may leave the deepest impact is through The Sundance Film Festival. With the money he earned from his acting career, Redford purchased a side of a ski mountain in Provo Utah, which he named “Sundance”, after his character in . The origins of the festival sprung up here and in Park City, where scores of emerging directors got their start, earning Redford the title as “the godfather of independent film”. Redford is also the father-in-law to Eric Schlosser.
Schlosser is an investigative journalist who wrote Fast Food Nation (2001), a searing indictment of the fast food industry. The book remained on the New York Times’ bestseller list for 2 years and Schlosser’s work was frequently compared to that of Upton Sinclair. Schlosser resolved to read more of Sinclair’s work and discovered his novel Oil! Deciding that the book would make a fantastic film, he bought the rights. Director Paul Thomas Anderson was also interested in the story, and so approached Schlosser about working together. With Schlosser as an Executive Producer and Anderson as Director, they made There Will Be Blood.
Paul Thomas Anderson
After the success of Boogie Nights (1997), Anderson’s producers promised complete creative control on his next film, Magnolia (1999). The then 26 year-old auteur had gained such a reputation that Tom Cruise invited Anderson to the set of Eyes Wide Shut to ask for a role in his next film. Realizing that he
…was in a position I will never ever be in again, Anderson, a self-confessed control freak insisted on designing the Magnolia movie poster and cutting the trailer himself. Anderson has been linked romantically with Fiona Apple, and has directed several of her music videos.
Supported by a devoted fan base, Apple has released 4 albums to much critical acclaim. However, she is widely remembered for her breakout single , which earned her a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Jaded early on by the music industry, Apple infamously took to the stage to air her discontent while accepting the Best New Artist award at the 1997 MTV Awards:
This world is bullshit, and you shouldn’t model your life on what we think is cool, and what we’re wearing and what we’re saying.