Skip to main content

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

See also...

PERSONS OF INTEREST

Persons of Interest USAIn the fog of paranoia and outright fear in the weeks following 9/11, the US Attorney General invoked 'national security' as a reason to round up and detain more than 5,000 ... More »

INJURY TO ONE, AN

An Injury to One USA Butte, Montana is considered the most toxic city in the United States, the legacy of copper mining that took US$25 billion out of the ground and left more than 10,000 workers ... More »

SPEEDO

Speedo USA'Lovers of the strange, of the over-the-top, of the wrecked train'your new cult hero is here and his name is Speedo.' -Film ThreatAn unconventional and truly original love story, this ... More »

PARTY's OVER, THE

The Party's Over USAPhillip Seymour Hoffman (Love Liza, MIFF 2003; Happiness) reports from the frontlines of the 'stolen' US election of 2000. With 'Dubya' fronting the voters again in November, this ... More »

BRIGHT LEAVES

Bright Leaves USA'Idiosyncratic, funny and genuine, Bright Leaves is a little gem.' -screen International Ross McElwee is best known for his 1986 documentary, Sherman's March, which inaugurated its ... More »

GUERILLA: THE TAKING OF PATTY HEARST

Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst USA ,/i>'Death to the Fascist insect that preys on the life of the people!' With that incendiary battle cry, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) declared war on ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director