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Russell Schwartz

Russell Schwartz

A graduate of NYC's Hunter College, Schwartz became president of the Film League in the late 1970s where he supervised the marketing and distribution of such films as Jean-Charles Tacchella's "Cousin, Cousine" (1975) and Robert M. Young's "Short Eyes" (1977). Additionally, Film League served as producer's representative for directors, such as Jack Nicholson ("Goin' South" 1978) and Martin Scorsese ("The Last Waltz" 1978). There, Schwartz had his first involvement with Peter Bogdanovich, handling the unsuccessful "Saint Jack" (1979), but the pair later collaborated on "They All Laughed" (1981), with Schwartz serving as line producer. Moving back to the executive suites, Schwartz joined the independent distributor Island Alive in 1983, where he rose from senior vice president of marketing and distribution eventually to the presidency of Island Films in 1987. Among the motion pictures released under his aegis were Jonathan Demme's "Stop Making Sense" (1984), Alan Rudolph's "Choose Me" (1984), "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "The Trip to Bountiful" (both 1985), which won Oscars for stars William Hurt and Geraldine Page respectively, "Mona Lisa" (1986), Spike Lee's "She's Gotta Have It" (1986) and Percy Adlon's "Bagdad Cafe" (1988). In the mid-80s, the executive also took time to serve as executive producer of Jim Jarmusch's "Down By Law" (1986) and produced the River Phoenix vehicle "A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon" (1988). Moving to Miramax as executive vice president of its marketing strategies and planning in 1988, Schwartz supervised the selling of such films as the Oscar-winning foreign film "Cinema Paradiso" (1988), Jim Sheridan's "My Left Foot" (1989), which solidified Daniel Day Lewis' stardom, the Merchant-Ivory production "Mr. & Mrs. Bridge" (1990), with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and the behind the scenes documentary "Madonna - Truth or Dare" (1991). In 1992, he left Miramax to assume the presidency of Gramercy Pictures. Under his tenure, some of the top independent films have been released ranging from Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused" (1993), "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and the Oscar-nominated "Before the Rain" (both 1994) "The Usual Suspects" (1995), "Bound" (1996), Leon Gast's Oscar-winning documentary "When We Were Kings" (1996) and "Keys to Tulsa" (1997).
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