The Film Comment Podcast: Searching for Mr. Rugoff
This week’s podcast features a conversation with Ira Deutchman, the director of the new documentary, Searching for Mr. Rugoff. The film explores the life and work of the infamous movie-theater impresario Don Rugoff. In a 1975 Film Comment profile, Stuart Byron writes that Rugoff might be best remembered as the man who “made Manhattan’s Upper East Side rather than Times Square the prime area for motion picture exhibition in New York, substituted Colombian coffee for popcorn, and—to the chagrin of critics like Andrew Sarris and the delight of those like John Simon—turned ‘movies’ into ‘films.’”
Ira, a longtime producer and distributor, has a secret Film Comment connection: in the ’90s and early ’00s, he penned the magazine’s anonymous industry column, Grosses Gloss. To pick Ira’s brain about his days working for Rugoff, his extensive knowledge of the New York City exhibition landscape, and the transformation of the indie business over the last half century, we invited a special guest host: Film Comment publisher and industry veteran Eugene Hernandez.