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R.I.P. Irving Saraf

By | Sunday December 30, 2012 @ 9:05am PST
Mike Fleming

Academy award winning filmmaker Irving Saraf died December 26 at his home in San Francisco. Saraf, 80, succumbed to ALS, which he battled for the last three years. He is the father of Peter Saraf, producer of such films as Little Miss Sunshine and partner with Marc Turtletaub in the film financier/production company Big Beach. Irving Saraf was a long time fixture in the Bay Area film community. After helping to start the Special Projects department at San Francisco public television station KQED, Saraf formed Fantasy Films for Saul Zaentz. With his second wife, Allie Light, Saraf made the Academy Award winning docu, In The Shadow of the Stars and the Emmy award winning Dialogues With Mad Women.

Born Ignatz Szcharfertz in Lodz Poland in 1932, Saraf and family fled the Nazis in 1939 when he was 7. The family eventually settled in Palestine, where Saraf took the Hebrew first name of Itzhac. He was one of the first citizens of the new nation of Israel. He changed his name to Saraf while in Israel and adopted Irving after emigrating to the U.S. in 1952 to attend San Francisco State University at age 20. After falling in love with movies, he transferred to UCLA and graduated with a degree in cinema.

At the fledgling public television station KQED, he made films all over the world on political and literary subjects. That included traveling to Cuba to co-direct a film on Fidel Castro, and … Read More »

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Johnny Knoxville And Patton Oswalt Play Squabbling Sibs In Big Beach Comedy

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Knoxville and Patton Oswalt have signed on to star in an untitled comedy that will be directed by Todd Rohal and financed by Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf’s Big Beach Films. Knoxville and Oswalt will play battling brothers who attempt to honor their ailing father by taking a troop of boys on a camping trip. It all goes awry. Rob Riggle, Maura Tierney and Patrice O’Neal also star.

Rohal, who originally wrote the script under the title Scout Master, most recently directed The Catechism Cataclysm. Production on the new comedy starts this week. Turtletaub and Saraf are producing with Lisa Muskat, David Gordon Green is exec producer, and Big Beach’s Michael Clark and John Hodges are overseeing production. Big Beach produced the Paul Rudd comedy Our Idiot Brother, which The Weinstein Co launches on Aug. 26. Rohal, Knoxville and Oswalt are repped by CAA, Knoxville’s managed by 3 Arts and Oswalt by Generate.

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Sundance: Weinstein Company And Ron Burkle Make Big Buy Of ‘My Idiot Brother’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has closed a deal for the Paul Rudd comedy My Idiot Brother that will amount to a minimum guarantee of $6 million-$7 million, and a $15 million P&A commitment for a wide theatrical release. That makes My Idiot Brother the biggest deal of the Sundance Festival so far, but there’s an intriguing component here. Ron Burkle, who backed Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s attempt to acquire Miramax Films and its library, will be a partner on the acquisition, the first of what is rumored to be the beginning of an ongoing relationship.

The deal comes after a marathon auction that began last night with TWC, Relativity Media and Fox Searchlight. The action on began right after the premiere screening finished. The two parties chasing it hardest were Relativity Media and The Weinstein Company. The discussions were still taking shape around 2 AM, and the feeling was the film had a good shot to reach $5 million. Reaction to the film was that it was more heartfelt than broad comedy, and some of the players looking for a can’t miss wide release  weren’t biting. Bidders broke at 6:30 AM, with TWC prevailing.  Harvey Weinstein, David Glasser and Pete Lawson reached terms with the UTA team and producers Anthony Bregman, Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf earlier today and the deal is being signed. It’s a bold play by the … Read More »

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