'Searching for Mr. Rugoff' by Professor Ira Deutchman Released in Theaters

Felix Van Kann
September 08, 2021

Searching for Mr. Rugoff, a documentary directed and produced by Professor Ira Deutchman, is currently screening theatrically in more than 45 locations all across the US, including in seven theatres in New York and six in California. Deutchman was also recently interviewed by Filmmaker Magazine about the film which had a strong festival showing ahead of its release. 

The feature documentary is the story of Donald Rugoff, who was the crazy genius behind Cinema 5, the mid-century theater chain and film distribution company. Rugoff was a difficult (some would say impossible) person but was also the man who kicked art films into the mainstream with outrageous marketing schemes and pure bluster. Yet, mysteriously, Rugoff has become a virtually forgotten figure. The story is told through the eyes of former employee Ira Deutchman, who sets out to find the truth about the man who had such a major impact on his life, and to understand how such an important figure could have disappeared so completely.

Ira 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 an independent producer, and a consultant in the marketing and distribution of independent films. In 2017, Deutchman was awarded the Spotlight Lifetime Achievement Award by the Sundance Art House Convergence. His current projects include serving as producer of Nickel & Dimed, based on the book by Barbara Ehrenreich and directed by Debra Granik (in pre-production), director/producer of the feature documentary Searching for Mr. Rugoff, and producer of the stage adaptation of Joan Micklin Silver’s Hester Street (in development). 

Deutchman’s screen credits include Associate Producer of John Sayles’ Matewan and Honeydripper; Executive Producer of Jonathan Demme’s Swimming to Cambodia, Gary Sinise’s Miles From Home, Paul Bartel’s Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, Matty Rich’s Straight Out of Brooklyn, Stephen Gyllenhaal’s Waterland, Maggie Greenwald’s The Ballad of Little Jo, Alan Rudolph’s Mrs. Parker & the Vicious Circle, Paul Auster’s Lulu On the Bridge, Wayne Wang’s Center of the World, Daniel Noah’s Twelve, Anthony Jaswinski’s Killing Time, Loren-Paul Caplin’s The Lucky Ones, Amy Wadell’s Brothel and Georgia Lee’s Red Doors; and Co-Producer of David Anspaugh’s The Game of Their Lives. Deutchman was the Producer of Tony Vitale’s Kiss Me, Guido, Sarah Kernochan’s All I Wanna Do, Mark Christopher’s 54, Adam Davidson’s Way Past Cool, Bob Gale’s Interstate 60, Tanya Wexler’s Relative Evil, Ann Hu’s Beauty Remains and Ed Radtke’s Speed of Life