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Searching for Mr. Rugoff

Searching for Mr. Rugoff

Wisconsin Premiere • documentary • USA • 2019 • DCP • 93 MIN

One of the most influential people in the history of independent movies, Donald Rugoff was a New York theater chain owner who later founded his own distribution company, Cinema 5. With a gruff, and sometimes downright impossible personality, Rugoff kicked art films into the mainstream with outrageous marketing schemes and pure bluster. Some of his most successful releases included Costa-Gavras’ Z, Lina Wertmuller’s Swept Away, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Robert Downey's Putney Swope, and the legendary Rolling Stones documentary, Gimme Shelter (screening at this year’s WFF). His impact on the art film business is undeniable. Yet, mysteriously, Rugoff has become a virtually forgotten figure. In Searching for Mr. Rugoff director Ira Deutchman, himself an important figure in independent releasing, sets out to find the truth about the man who had such a major impact on his life, and uncovers some surprising and poignant truths. “An enthralling documentary that movie buffs everywhere will want to see. Don Rugoff… had a dream, and Searching for Mr. Rugoff is an infectious salute to what that dream was: a place where cinema could live” (Owen Gleiberman, Variety) (JH)


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