Tag Archives: film about a father who

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.



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

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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.









Slamdance 2020 Opens With Documentary On Park City Denizen Ira Sachs

By Rick Brough

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.


The Salt Lake Tribune: Park City developer Ira Sachs Sr. will be profiled in Slamdance’s opening film

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The Salt Lake Tribune

Park City developer Ira Sachs Sr. will be profiled in Slamdance’s opening film

By Sean P. Means

A Park City legend will get his moment on the big screen in his hometown, as the subject of the opening-night film of the 2020 Slamdance Film Festival.

Experimental documentarian Lynne Sachs’ movie “Film About a Father Who,” a profile of her father, Ira Sachs Sr., will open the independent film festival on Jan. 24 at the Treasure Mountain Inn, 255 Main St., Park City, the festival announced Wednesday.

Ira Sachs Sr., 83, is known around Park City as an eccentric millionaire, the pioneering developer who, among other things, opened The Yarrow Hotel (now the DoubleTree by Hilton Park City). The film employs footage from 1984 to 2019, on 8mm and 16mm film, videotape and digital images.


“It takes undeniable courage to discover and reveal shocking truths about one’s family,” said Alina Solodnikova, Slamdance festival manager. “Lynne Sachs has done it with unique style, a dry sense of humor and honesty that captivates our programmers.”

The Sachs family has another link to Park City in January: Ira’s son, also known as Ira Sachs, is a filmmaker who has had six of his seven films screen at the Sundance Film Festival. His 2005 drama “Forty Shades of Blue” won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. dramatic films at Sundance.

Slamdance — which runs Jan. 24-30, alongside the larger Sundance Film Festival — announced “Film About a Father Who” will be part of its Breakouts program, showcasing directors who have already made their debuts and are sticking to the independent mindset.



KPCW Local News Hour with Leslie Thatcher – Park City NPR Jan. 3, 2020 Live Radio Interview with Lynne Sachs








Local News Hour – Jan 3, 2020

By Leslie Thatcher

On today’s program, outgoing Park City Councilmember Lynn Ware Peek reflects back on her time in office. Solitude Resort Communications Manager Sara Huey talks about the results they’ve seen by implementing paid parking this winter. Park City Institute Executive Director Teri Orr, newly named Managing Director Ari Ioannides and Board President Jason Owen talk about the on-going leadership changes and the future of the Institute. Peter Baxter, Co-Founder and Director of Slamdance Film Festival, talks about this year’s festival, which features Lynne Sachs festival premiere, a documentary on her father and Park City bon vivant Ira Sachs Sr., Film About A Father Who.


Screen Daily: Slamdance 2020 to open with ‘Film About A Father Who’








Slamdance 2020 to open with ‘Film About a Father Who’

By Jeremy Kay

Lynne Sachs’ Film About A Father Who will open Slamdance 2020, set to run in Park City, Utah, from January 24-30, 2020.

Sachs shot her film about Ira Sachs Sr., a bon vivant and pioneering businessman from Utah, over 35 years from 1984 to 2019 using 8 and 16mm film, videotape and digital.

“It takes undeniable courage to discover and reveal shocking truths about one’s family,” said Slamdance festival manager Alina Solodnikova. “Lynne Sachs has done it with unique style, a dry sense of humour and honesty that captivates our programmers. A generation in the making, Film About A Father Who is pulling no punches. We couldn’t imagine a better film to open Slamdance 2020.”