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z channel: a magnificent obsession

USA, 2004 (MIFF 2005, Documentaries)

Director: Xan Cassavetes

Directed by Xan Cassavetes, daughter of legendary actor-director John Cassavetes, [Z Channel] is an engrossing account of a TV phenomenon topped off by a bizarre murder-suicide. Jerry Harvey was a visionary programmer whose dream of bringing a perpetual film festival to Los Angeles resulted in movie maniacs' first choice, Z Channel. Jim Jarmusch, Robert Altman, Quentin Tarantino, Henry Jaglom, James Woods and Paul Verhoeven, alongside a Who's Who of critics and commentators, recall a troubled and obsessive personality. Jerry Harvey lived and breathed film, took seemingly insane financial risks to give filmmakers the airing they deserved and pioneered the kind of arthouse retrospectives still envied today. As the first cable movie station, thriving in the pre-VCR 1970s, Z Channel became one of the sole broadcast outlets for quality cinema. "Harvey was a functioning alcoholic who always seemed to be on overdrive, badgering studios and corporations and schmoozing filmmakers at all hours to create his ideal movie channel. Constantly under financial pressure as well as chasing his own demons, Harvey killed his wife, then himself, with a gun given to him, ironically enough, by maverick director Sam Peckinpah." - San Francisco Chronicle
D Alexandra Cassavetes P Rick Ross, Marshall Persinger WS Bristol Media International TD 35mm/col/2004/121mins

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