Tag Archives: film about a father who

Slamdance Festival’s opening film features a daughter exploring her father’s secrets

 salt lake tribune logo

from the Salt Lake Tribune
by Sean P. Means
Jan. 19, 2020

https://www.sltrib.com/artsliving/2020/01/19/daughter-explores-her/

Lynne Sachs had already been working as a filmmaker for several years, finding her voice in making personal documentaries, when in 1991 she decided to make a movie about her dad.
 
“I was interested in the ways you could know a person, and to articulate that in film,” Sachs said in a recent interview. “I definitely didn’t know where it was going to go. Or that it would take almost 30 years making it.”
 
Sachs’ long journey toward understanding her father, former Park City developer Ira Sachs, will reach a major milestone on Friday, Jan. 24, when her movie, “Film About a Father Who,” has its world premiere as the opening-night film of the 26th annual Slamdance Film Festival in Park City.
 
Slamdance, showcasing independent movies made for under $1 million, runs Jan. 24-31 at Park City’s Treasure Mountain Inn, parallel to the larger Sundance Film Festival.
 
Peter Baxter, co-founder and president of Slamdance, said programmers chose Sachs’ movie because it “reveals how far bloodlines can stretch without losing connection altogether. While Lynne provokes us into choosing between love and hate, she assuredly explores the degree to which one human can know another.”
 
When Sachs started the movie, she said, “I was keen on looking at my dad and figuring out what made him tick, and how that had an impact on me on the rest of the family.”
 
“If I’m engaging with my father through my art-making, and through my life as his daughter, [I thought] that there could be some kind of catharsis, and that I could explore it both artistically and intellectually, but also emotionally,” she said.
 
Early footage shows Ira Sachs at work as a real estate developer, splitting his time between Memphis, Tenn., and Park City. (One of his best-known properties in Park City was The Yarrow, the hotel now known as the DoubleTree by Hilton, at Kearns Boulevard and Park Avenue.)
 
Sachs started coming to Park City in the late ‘70s, but didn’t move there full-time until 1986 — when Lynne’s younger brother, Ira Sachs Jr., graduated from high school in Memphis.
 
“He was kind of ready to live in the mountains, ready to live somewhere where he could explore the land more and be a pioneer more,” Sachs said of her dad. “The West beckoned. … He never wanted to go to Aspen or Vail. He wanted to go somewhere that was rougher, that was kind of finding itself.”
 
“He was kind of ready to live in the mountains, ready to live somewhere where he could explore the land more and be a pioneer more,” Sachs said of her dad. “The West beckoned. … He never wanted to go to Aspen or Vail. He wanted to go somewhere that was rougher, that was kind of finding itself.”
 
Sachs and her Memphis-raised siblings would visit Park City, and she even recalls attending one of the early editions of the United States Film Festival (which is what Sundance was called before 1991).
 
Ira Jr. was inspired by the independent film festival atmosphere, and also became a filmmaker. Five of Ira Jr.’s movies have debuted at Sundance, and he won the Grand Jury Prize in 2005 for “Forty Shades of Blue,” which starred Rip Torn as an irascible music legend with a much-younger wife.
 
That movie was inspired by Ira Sr., who had divorced his first wife — Lynne and Ira Jr.’s mother, Diane — and married a younger woman, Diana. Ira Sr. had three children with each wife, and those siblings were the only ones Lynne Sachs knew about when she started making her documentary in 1991.
 
Later, she learned her dad had other girlfriends, two of whom had daughters, Beth and Julia, with Ira Sr. A ninth child, a daughter named Madison, was born later.
 
“How many families have discovered similar quote-unquote ’secrets’ to mine, but through science?” Lynne Sachs said. “In some ways, this story is unusual in that it doesn’t use DNA.”
 
In three decades of working on “Film About a Father Who,” the movie now “contains all of my whole emotional spectrum, which is a little bit scary,” Lynne Sachs said. When she showed the film to friends during editing, “they’d say, ‘You haven’t really reckoned with all your rage as a daughter and as a young woman.’ Other times, I needed to reckon with [the fact that] I have forgiven my dad. He was complicated and very untraditional, but also a loving and very attentive father,” she said.
 
Ira Sr., now 83 and living in Florida, has seen the movie twice, Lynne Sachs said. “He cried, and I’ve never seen him cry before,” she said, adding that her dad has developed some speech issues that make it difficult to communicate directly. “I think he likesit,” she said. “There’s an openness to it, and I think there’s a candor that he respects, from all of us.”
 
Sachs said she hopes people will see her father as a unique character, but not that different from most dads.
 
She said, “I want people who watch it to imagine, ‘Well, how might I explore my father? What would be the questions I would ask? Maybe there were things he kept from me, because maybe he was protecting me — or maybe he had a side he didn’t want me to know.’”
 

Lynne reads from Year by Year Poems on WBAI Radio & Slamdance

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I’ve been devoted to WBAI 99.5 FM New York for years so what a thrill to read from my YEAR BY YEAR POEMS (Tender Buttons Press) this week live on their Pacifica Radio Network. Thanks to “Arts Express” (Global Arts Magazine) Host Prairie Miller who asked me to read from my book and also did a shout out for my World Premiere at Slamdance Film Festival of FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO. Prairie even added an audio excerpt from “The Washing Society” (2018 film co-directed with Lizzie Olesker) so I am guessing she has a special interest in the Atlanta Washer Women’s Strike of 1881.

This whole wild compendium of what I have been up to lately starts 29 min. 22 sec. and you can listen here on their radio archive.

https://www.wbai.org/archive/program/episode/?id=9151&fbclid=IwAR0d-uxGeprCzl6tdEHJPQHAHN6p2X2oOsGH2KmdcmQKZzmGcSIM7G7kbls

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Slamdance 2020 Opens With Documentary On Park City Denizen Ira Sachs

By Rick Brough Jan 7, 2020

Read and listen to short version here: https://www.kpcw.org/post/local-news-hour-january-3-2020#stream/0

Listen to complete interview with Leslie Thatcher here https://www.kpcw.org/post/slamdance-2020-opens-documentary-park-city-denizen-ira-sachs#stream/0

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The Slamdance Film Festival returns to Park City later this month—headquartered once again at the Treasure Mountain Inn at the top of Main Street.

But this year, the Festival has some special news for Parkites.      The opening-night premiere is a documentary on Ira Sachs Sr., who’s been an icon in town for 40 years.

The Slamdance Festival, in its 26th year, runs from January 24th to the 30th.

The opening-night premiere, “Film About a Father Who” is by film-maker Lynne Sachs, looking at her dad, Ira, through video and film footage shot over a period of 35 years.

Peter Baxter, the President and co-founder of Slamdance, said they chose the film to open the festival because it breaks the boundaries for documentary film-making.

“Here we have a family.    And most families have fall-outs.  And the ruptured and the intense one in Lynne’s film—amazing documentary—reveals how far blood lines can stretch without losing connection altogether.  Though this is an extremely personal film, and asks us several times to really choose between love and hate, she’s really exploring a universal theme that we all think about from time to time, which is the extent to which one human being can really know another.    And in this case, it’s her dad.”

Ira is known in Park City as the original developer of what is now the Double Tree by Hilton—previously known as the Holiday Inn or the Yarrow.     As the film shows, he could often be seen skiing down the slopes while doing business over the phone—in the days when a mobile phone was the size of a shoebox.

Although the Sachs family is based in Memphis, Tennessee, Lynne told KPCW the film shows off footage of the Wasatch Mountains—areas that have changed a lot in the years since.

Lynne has made 35 films, many of them shorts.    She said that in 1991, she decided to begin making a film about the man who is a big presence in her life.

“But I was always shooting Super-8 material.  The first footage I shot was actually in ’84, before I realized that it was gonna be a longer film and really like a portrait of his life.    But then in ’91, I officially started the movie, and then continued to shoot almost every time we were together for many, many, many years, until this year.”

The film deals with the idea that you may think you know a parent, but there are still limits to that knowledge.

“It’s like the parent leaves an imprint on you, and you know you’re carrying that throughout your life.  But also that parent goes on and continues to have his or her own relationships.    And my father certainly did too.   So there were parts of his life I knew a great deal about, and other parts that were, let’s say, more secretive.    And so, that all became much more open in the last few years.    And we had deeper conversations about it, and were able to investigate that.”

Lynne said Ira has had two marriages and fathered nine children—from six different mothers.

“Because we weren’t always prepared.   I think that was a big part of it, like how you prepare for the news, how you prepare to love another person, how do you deal with a person you didn’t know about.   And then you find out about, and you want to embrace them, but you also have to figure out how they fit into your psyche.”

She said there have been challenges in getting to know her half-siblings.    But she has developed close relationships.

“It’s a bit like nine planets.    So we all circulate around him in different kinds of ways.   For example, one of my sisters, Julia, I’ve just gotten to know in the last five years, but was very, very close.    She lives in Park City.   Because there’s a certain kind of way that we understand each other through my dad.   It’s like he has, shall I say, a language, and you get it, or you don’t.  But most of us do get it.   And so it brings us closer.”

Lynne said the film also acknowledges that Ira has had numerous relationships with attractive women.

“Being a daughter, you have to reckon with it.  You have to either run away or you have to face it.    Being a feminist, you have to figure out how you’re gonna embrace that situation.    And I did my best to explore it and to also know that he lived his own life.   And I also really tried to connect with those women and to figure out what it would be like to be those women, through conversations that are in the film.  So it’s kinda like a cubist piece where you see my dad from a lot of different perspectives.”

She isn’t the only one in the family who has chronicled her father.    Her brother, Ira Jr., has been a director of independent narrative films since the Nineties—with films sometimes appearing at Sundance.

His film “Forty Shades of Blue”, was about a father-son relationship.    And Lynne said the father figure, played by Rip Torn, was a quasi-version of Ira Sr.

Ira is now 83 years old.   She said he doesn’t ski anymore and spends the winter months mostly in warmer climates.   But he still has a residence in Park City, and there she showed him the completed film.   She said it was one of the first times she saw him cry.

Apart from Slamdance, the film will be shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Meanwhile, Peter Baxter said that Slamdance, programmed by film-makers for film-makers, is showing over 100 selections—picked from hundreds of thousands of submissions.   He said you can go to “slamdance.com” for complete information on the festival program, tickets and passes.

 

Memphis writer, filmmaker Lynne Sachs returns this week with new book of poetry

Commercial Appeal Logo

The impeachment proceedings involving President Donald Trump have revived interest in President Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal.

They’ve also revived memories of that era, for those who were around at the time.

One such memory finds artistic expression in “Year by Year Poems,” a new collection by Memphis-born author/filmmaker Lynne Sachs, who makes an appearance Thursday at Burke’s Book Store in the Cooper-Young neighborhood.

In one poem, simply titled “1973,” Sachs remembers how the televised Watergate hearings disrupted her afternoon rerun routine.

“I say goodbye to Lucy, Ricky, Fred, Ethel, Hazel, and Gilligan,” Sachs writes. The stars of the new show on TV are “Dean, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman.”

Partly to impress her dad, “I wear an ‘Impeach Nixon Now’ button/ on my dress,” she concludes. “I feel brave.”

As its title suggests, “Year by Year Poems” ($19, Tender Buttons Press) consists of poems named for years, from “1961” (the year Sachs was born) until “2011” (the year Sachs reached a half-century). The poems are short and impressionistic yet precise, evoking milestones (the births of Sachs’ two daughters) and what might be called trivia.

For example, “1974” references streaking, the short-lived but much-publicized fad in which people stripped off their clothes and raced, naked, through public spaces.

“Streaking,” she said, “is the only word in the book that when I’m doing a reading, if there’s someone in the audience under 30, I feel like I have to explain it to them.”

The book isn’t the only new work from Sachs that sifts through decades of memory and family history, beginning with the cradle-through-Central High School years Sachs spent in Memphis with her similarly creative siblings, Dana Sachs, who is an author, and Ira Sachs, a noted film director (“Frankie,” “Love Is Strange”).

About two weeks after the 5:30 p.m. book signing and reading at Burke’s, Sachs will be in Park City, Utah, for the Jan. 24 premiere of her new feature, “Film About a Father Who,” which opens the 26th annual edition of the weeklong Slamdance Film Festival, a once-upstart rival to Park City’s overlapping and more renowned Sundance Film Festival.

Almost 30 years in the making and constructed from rediscovered Super 8 and 16mm home movies, VHS tape recordings and new digital video footage, “Film About a Father Who” — the title is a reference to Yvonne Rainer’s 1974 landmark “Film About a Woman Who…” — is, at base, a portrait of Ira Sachs Sr., the “Bohemian businessman” whose Memphis children were only three of what eventually was revealed to be nine children among six mothers. (Two of these women were Sachs’ wives, the first being retired Rhodes College sociology professor and Memphis resident Diane Sachs, the mother of Lynne, Dana and Ira Jr.)

According to the Slamdance catalog, the documentary is Sachs’ attempt “to understand the web that connects a child to her parent and a sister to eight siblings, some of whom she has known all of her life, others she only recently discovered … Her film offers sometimes contradictory views of one seemingly unknowable man who is always there, public, in the center of the frame, yet somehow ensconced in secrets.”

Said Sachs: “The film is my investigation of what a family is.” (In fact, that phrase also could be applied to her brother’s feature films, including the made-in-Memphis “Forty Shades of Blue,” in which Rip Torn plays a man somewhat inspired by Ira Sachs Sr.)

The film is bookended with footage of Lynne Sachs attempting to cut her aging father’s sandy hair, which — complemented by his signature walrus mustache — is as long and hippie-ish as it was during the man’s still locally infamous party-hearty heyday, when Ira Sachs Sr. restored, renovated and lived in the historic Adams Avenue property that is now home to the Mollie Fontaine Lounge.

“There’s just one part that’s very tangly,” Lynne comments, as the simple grooming activity becomes a metaphor for the daughter’s attempt to negotiate the thicket of her father’s romantic entanglements, the branches of her extended family tree and the thorny concepts of personal and social responsibility.

A graduate of Brown University and a resident of Brooklyn (where she lives with her husband, Mark Street), Lynne Sachs has been creating experimental short and feature-length films since the mid-1980s. Most are nonfiction films, although they may contain recreations of actual events or passages of abstract imagery.

MOVIES: Here are John Beifuss’ 10 best movies of 2019 (plus a second 10)

Generally, Sachs’ films screen at museums and colleges, and at film festivals more devoted to movie aficionados than to movie marketers. In 2018, her film “The Washing Society,” about the women who work in New York City laundromats, won an award at the Indie Memphis Film Festival in the “Departures” category, which recognizes experimental work.

Opening up the hectic Slamdance festival will be a new experience for Sachs, whose movie is likely to find an appreciative audience among any attendees who live in Park City, where Ira Sachs Sr. — now 83 — earned a reputation as “the Hugh Hefner of Park City” after he relocated from Memphis to Utah.

“I know there is a lot of pain in it,” said Lynne Sachs, referencing the film’s presentation of the children’s fraught relationships with their loving but often inattentive and self-centered father. “But there’s also a lot of love and forgiveness.

“I’ve made so many films about other people’s lives, I felt like it was time for me to be as vulnerable in my own film as I expect other people to be when I’m in front of them with my camera.”

Lynne Sachs and ‘Year by Year Poems’

Book signing, reading and conversation at Burke’s Book Store, 936 Cooper.

5:30 p.m. Thursday.

For more information, call 901-278-7484.

Film About A Father Who

Film About a Father Who
74 min. 2020
Directed by Lynne Sachs

Publicist:  Sylvia.Savadjian@gmail.com

*World Premiere:  Slamdance Film Festival 2020
Opening Night Film
https://slamdance2020.eventive.org/schedule/5dfd772e5f8abf00dc6dc0bd

Park City ,Utah
Jan. 24 & 27, 2020

Documentary Fortnight:
The Museum of Modern Art’s Festival of Non-Fiction Film
https://www.moma.org/calendar/events/6412
New York City
Feb. 11 & 14, 2020

Download Press Kit PDF here:
Film About a Father Who Press kit 2020

Rotten Tomatoes: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/film_about_a_father_who

Synopsis:

Over a period of 35 years between 1984 and 2019, filmmaker Lynne Sachs shot 8 and 16mm film, videotape and digital images of her father, Ira Sachs Sr., a bon vivant and pioneering businessman from Park City, Utah. FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO is her attempt to understand the web that connects a child to her parent and a sister to her siblings. With a nod to the Cubist renderings of a face, Sachs’ cinematic exploration of her father offers simultaneous, sometimes contradictory, views of one seemingly unknowable man who is publicly the uninhibited center of the frame yet privately ensconced in secrets. In the process, Sachs allows herself and her audience inside to see beyond the surface of the skin, the projected reality. As the startling facts mount, Sachs as a daughter discovers more about her father than she had ever hoped to reveal.

“FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO is a personal meditation on our dad, specifically, and fatherhood and masculinity more generally. The film is one of Lynne’s most searingly honest works. Very proud of my sister, as I have been since we were kids, and so deeply inspired.”

– Filmmaker & brother, Ira Sachs, Jr.

Press Quotes:

“This divine masterwork of vulnerability weaves past and present together with ease, daring the audience to choose love over hate, forgiveness over resentment. Sachs lovingly untangles the messy hair of her elusive father, just as she separates and tends to each strand of his life. A remarkable character study made by a filmmaker at the top of her game– an absolute must see in Park City.”

—Michael Gallagher, Slamdance Programmer

“Here we have a family.    And most families have fall-outs.  And the ruptured and the intense one in Lynne’s film—amazing documentary—reveals how far blood lines can stretch without losing connection altogether.  Though this is an extremely personal film, and asks us several times to really choose between love and hate, she’s really exploring a universal theme that we all think about from time to time, which is the extent to which one human being can really know another.    And in this case, it’s her dad.”

Peter Baxter, President and co-founder of Slamdance speaking on KPCW Radio, Park City, Utah

“The film is bookended with footage of Lynne Sachs attempting to cut her aging father’s sandy hair, which — complemented by his signature walrus mustache — is as long and hippie-ish as it was during the man’s still locally infamous party-hearty heyday, when Ira Sachs Sr. restored, renovated and lived in the historic Adams Avenue property that is now home to the Mollie Fontaine Lounge. ‘There’s just one part that’s very tangly,’ Lynne comments, as the simple grooming activity becomes a metaphor for the daughter’s attempt to negotiate the thicket of her father’s romantic entanglements, the branches of her extended family tree and the thorny concepts of personal and social responsibility.”

John Beiffus, Memphis Commercial Appeal

Photos:

Film About a Father Who dir Lynne Sachs w Ira Sachs Sr 1

Ira Sachs, Sr. in Park City Utah. From FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO (2020) by Lynne Sachs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ira Sachs Sr. w Painting in Film About a Father Who

Ira Sachs Sr. w Painting in Film About a Father Who

 

 

 

 

 

Quarry Explosion in Film About a Father Who

Quarry Explosion in Film About a Father Who

 

 

 

 

 

Lynne Sachs w Ira Sachs in Film About a Father Who

Lynne Sachs w Ira Sachs in Film About a Father Who

 

 

 

 

 

Photo collage from Film About A Father Who

Photo collage from Film About A Father Who

 

 

 

 

 

Lynne Sachs, dir. of Film About a Father Who

Lynne Sachs, dir. of Film About a Father Who

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poster:

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Poster for Film About a Father Who

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credits:

Featuring Ira Sachs Sr. with Lynne Sachs, Dana Sachs, Ira Sachs, Beth Evans, Evan Sachs, Adam Sachs, Annabelle Sachs, Julia Buchwald, and Madison Geist

Editor – Rebecca Shapass
Music –  Stephen Vitiello

Produced with the support of: New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Fellowship, 2018 and Yaddo Artist Residency, 2019

Press: