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From the monthly archives:

December 2009

Happy New Year!

by Danny Fisher on December 30, 2009

While 2009 was undoubtedly the most challenging year of my life, I choose to remember the good things, the things I am thankful for, the awareness that any and all of my difficulties pale in comparison to what others around the world are experiencing right now. The truly wonderful and liberating thing about being at the bottom is that the view is actually much better from there – as by necessity and definition there is only one direction in which to look – and that is up.

danny picture

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from…

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time…

And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

from “Little Gidding,” No. 4 of “Four Quartets” by T.S. Eliot

My best wishes to everyone for a wonderful and bright New Year!



by Danny Fisher on December 24, 2009

There is something exciting about the process of rebuilding. I have thought of shooting a documentary or reality show of me and my brother Jack, our colleagues including Joel Dovev, Phil Michas and my son Aaron as we gather in my brownstone garden floor pitching ideas to each other. When we get news of some developments we all become excited and motivated – like little children. It’s just a few of us, and we have no departments, no hierarchy, no committees.

In the past few weeks I have been reassembling a distribution operation, and have already been entering into deals for distribution with Amazon, iTunes, Sony Play Station, X Box, and international sales. While I am also discussing arrangements for theatrical distribution and other traditional distribution platforms, I am focusing my efforts on digital distribution. Why? Because my business model is: “it’s the internet, stupid.” Each day I am approached with exciting film projects for production and there are some in which I am beginning to become involved.

I am very saddened by the recent death of Rose Kaufman, wife of director Phil Kaufman, who I have always considered the most underrated American director and one of its very best.  Phil Kaufman plans to direct a movie I wrote together with my brother Jack and Oren Moverman called “Interrupted.”  It is the story of the last few years in the life of my mentor, director Nicholas Ray. I worked with Nick Ray on his last unfinished movie, “We Can’t Go Home Again,” a highly experimental film he made while teaching at Binghamton University, where I met him. I always considered “We Can’t Go Home Again” an unacknowledged masterpiece, and for so many years the movie was generally dismissed. I was thrilled to learn last week that the Venice Film Festival is investing $500,000 to restore and complete the movie for showing in Venice in 2011. The Venice Film Festival speaks of the movie as a masterpiece, and so I feel a sense of personal vindication – I was not crazy all these years after all. What a nice feeling. I also appear in the film – the very first dialogue, in fact. I contributed to the shooting and editing, and the experience of working with Nick was an unforgettable experience.


Nicholas Ray

I learned yesterday that at least two television networks are seriously interested in a television series I am developing with John Waters and created by Lauren Merrill. John Waters is a class act – I worked with John Waters on his most recent movie, “A Dirty Shame,” which I executive produced – and produced by my wonderful colleagues Ted Hope and Christine Vachon.

Oh, and I finally got an iPhone, installed iTunes and listening to BB King, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Brahms Piano Concerto #2.

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In Search of Lost Time

by Danny Fisher on December 21, 2009

I have reached a major crossroad in my life. For the past 27 years, I was the CEO of City Lights Media, a film and television company I founded with my brother Jack, and to which my brother Joe joined a number of years later.  With the recent downturn in the economy, great upheaval in the independent film industry and other factors, City Lights Media has shut its doors.  Barry Diller’s IAC bought the remnants of City Lights and is operating it as a company called Notional, run and staffed entirely by people who used to work at the company I built.

In 2008, there were 400 people working for me.  Today I operate out of my Park Slope, Brooklyn brownstone with my brother Jack and a handful of associates.  I am very happy – most days.  I am working on rebuilding my career, and pursuing a number of ventures in film, television and the internet, as well as general business ventures outside of  media.  At the same time, I seek to define, focus and develop on all levels – professional, personal, spiritual – the remaining years of my life.

I have been summoning the numerous influences on my life – my family, the people I have met, the art, literature, film and music that has inspired me, the memories of experiences both joyous and challenging – and mostly the art of fully appreciating each day as a gift and a blessing.

From Marcel Proust at the moment he sipped his famous cup of tea:

And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory–this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it was myself. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, accidental, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I was conscious that it was connected with the taste of tea and cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could not, indeed, be of the same nature as theirs. Whence did it come? What did it signify? How could I seize upon and define it?


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