Professor of Professional Practice Ira Deutchman has been appointed as the new chair of Columbia’s Film Program, Dean Carol Becker announced July 27. Deutchman will succeed Jamal Joseph, who has stepped down as chair after five years.
Deutchman, who has taught at Columbia for 24 years, founded the MFA program in Creative Producing in 2009 after having supervised the producing concentration since its inception. The new program doubled the enrollment of producers at Columbia and added the study of television and new media producing to the curriculum.
“I’m privileged to be taking on the chairmanship of the Film Program at this auspicious time. Under Jamal Joseph’s leadership, the Program has emerged as the leading program of its kind in the world. Our graduates are already having a major impact on the future of filmmaking in a time of rapid change and disrupting technologies. Columbia’s emphasis on the creation of artists sets it apart, and the proof is in the work of our students, who have gone to win just about every major award given in the field. I hope to build on this success, and to further position Columbia as the place to look for the next generation of directors, producers and screenwriters," Deutchman said.
Deutchman has been making, marketing and distributing films since 1975, having worked on over 150 films including some of the most successful independent films of all time. He was one of the founders of Cinecom and later created Fine Line Features—two companies that were created from scratch and in their respective times, helped define the independent film business. Currently Deutchman is Managing Partner of Emerging Pictures, a New York-based digital exhibition company.
Among the over 60 films he acquired and released at Fine Line were Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table, Gus van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho, Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth, Robert Altman’s The Player and Short Cuts, Roman Polanski’s Bitter Moon and Death and the Maiden, Alan Rudolph’s Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Mike Leigh’s Naked, and the award-winning Hoop Dreams, until recently the highest grossing non-music documentary in history.
Prior to Fine Line, as President of The Deutchman Company, he provided marketing consulting services for such films as Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies, and Videotape for Miramax, Charles Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger for The Samuel Goldwyn Company and Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan for New Line Cinema.
Previously, Deutchman was one of the founding partners and President of Marketing and Distribution for Cinecom Entertainment Group, the film distribution company known for such diverse releases as Merchant/Ivory’s A Room with a View, Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense, Gregory Nava’s El Norte and John Sayles’ The Brother From Another Planet.
Hollywood Reporter on Deutchman's appointment