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IN Release

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession
Credit Listing  |  The Production  |  Press Release  |  Jerry Harvey  |  Z Channel History  |  Poster

Press Release

IFC CONTINUES TO EXPAND
ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING SLATE

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, an Unprecedented Account of
Jerry Harvey, his Controversial Life and his Groundbreaking
Cable Station

Documentary Features Recollections From Filmmakers and Actors Including
Robert Altman, Jacqueline Bisset, James Woods, Quentin Tarantino,
and Many Others

Project Marks Documentary Directorial Debut for Xan Cassavetes

NEW YORK, NEW YORK [April 1, 2004]— The Independent Film Channel (IFC), the first and largest cable network dedicated to independent filmmaking, announced today that it will produce and air Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, adding an original program to its ambitious slate and taking an unprecedented look at the groundbreaking and controversial film channel of the 1970s and 1980s. Directing her first feature length documentary, Xan Cassavetes explores the historic influence of Z Channel; showcases the important voice the station gave filmmakers; examines the great influence the Los Angeles-based channel had on modern cinema, independent filmmaking, and the development of cable television; and chronicles the brilliant, but troubled life and controversial suicide of Jerry Harvey, the visionary programmer behind Z Channel.

Those sharing their thoughts and memories include Robert Altman, Jacqueline Bisset, James Woods, Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, Alexander Payne, Paul Verhoeven, Theresa Russell, Penelope Spheeris, Henry Jaglom, Alan Rudolph, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and film critics F.X. Feeney and Kevin Thomas. The documentary will be executive produced by IFC’s Director of Original Programming Alison Bourke. Today’s announcement was made by IFC’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, Ed Carroll.

“For a while in the eighties, Z Channel became the repertory house for the entire city,” commented Carroll. “It was the early days of pay-TV, before exclusivity deals between studios and networks – which allowed for a programming inventiveness that would be difficult to replicate today.”

“Z became almost indistinguishable from its tormented creator,” stated Alison Bourke, Director of IFC’s Original Programming. “Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession is a story about a small, but revolutionary cable station and IFC believes the innovations and historic influence of Z needed to be chronicled.

We’re very pleased to be providing Xan Cassavetes with a strong platform for her first project and think it will be a great addition to IFC’s already strong programming slate.”

Launched in 1974 in Los Angeles, Z Channel was one of the country’s first pay cable stations.

Z Channel’s prominence was solidified in 1980 when maverick programmer Jerry Harvey took over as head of programming. Z’s uniqueness was attributed to Harvey and his staff’s determination, diverse taste and encyclopedic knowledge of cinema. Harvey’s programming showcased a combination of classic, international, independent, and Hollywood films. Z was the first to develop programming innovations such as ‘director’s cuts’ and uniquely themed on-air festivals, while also airing many rare and never before seen exclusives and critically acclaimed films not in the mainstream.

The documentary chronicles Harvey’s emergence as a brilliant programmer, but also explores Harvey’s emotional and psychological descent, which eventually resulted in a shocking murder/suicide and the eventual demise of Z Channel itself.

"When Z Channel existed, it was possible in LA to get into a discussion with the gas station attendant about a Bergman film. It was also possible to be at a dinner party and laugh about a teen comedy with a film snob. Z was a democracy of film and people loved it," said Xan Cassavetes, director.

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession is produced by Rick Ross of Maja Films and Marshall Persinger of Fresh Produce Films (Still Breathing, Wild Iris, Twin Falls Idaho).

Credit List
Directed By XAN CASSAVETES
Produced By RICK ROSS & MARSHALL PERSINGER
Executive Producers ALISON PALMER BOURKE & ED CARROLL
Co-Producer F.X. FEENEY
Supervising Producer Susan Heimbinder
Associate Producers LESLIE LOWELL & JONATHAN MONTEPARE
Director of Photography JOHN PIROZZI
Edited by IAIN KENNEDY
Assistant Editor & Graphic Design by GABRIEL REED
Music By STEVEN HUFSTETER

ABOUT IFC TELEVISION
The Independent Film Channel (IFC) is the first and most widely distributed channel dedicated to independent film 24 hours a day, uncut and commercial free. IFC continues to expand its programming lineup with original series and independent genre-focused specials. The network's recent, critically acclaimed series and specials include Dinner For Five, BaadAsssss Cinema, The American Nightmare, Indie Sex: Taboos, A Decade Under the Influence and In The Company of Women.

IFC Television is a part of IFC Companies, which has created a unique end-to-end business model and brand that focuses on developing and nurturing talent, and maximizing the value of independent film. With a television network, a film distribution and production unit, and a VOD service, IFC Companies represents the future of independent film. IFC Companies uses its unique position to broaden the independent film audience nationwide and to expand the opportunities for independent filmmakers. IFC Companies is a division of Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc.

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