American Rhapsody, An : About The Filmmakers

Eva Gardos

An American Rhapsody comes straight from the heart of writer-director Eva Gardos, who makes her feature film debut with this moving story based on her own experiences coming to America. Her powerful screenplay won the prestigious Hartley-Merrill International Screenwriting Award and was immediately put into production, sending Gardos boldy hurtling into her own hidden past.

Growing up in a rural village behind the Iron Curtain, Gardos, like the character Suzanne, never saw a movie or a television set. When she arrived in America as a Red Cross refugee to rejoin her family, she saw her first movies, and fell instantly in love with the medium. She went on to become a sought-after editor, who apprenticed with such filmmakers as Hal Ashby and Francis Ford Coppola. Her many editing credits include Anjelica Huston's Bastard Out of Carolina and Agnes Browne , Barbet Schroeder's Barfly, Martha Coolidge's Valley Girl, Peter Bogdanovich's Mask, Prince's Under The Cherry Moon and Out of Order/Miniszter félrelép for producer Andrew Vajna.

She won a Cable ACE Award as Best Editor for the HBO telefilm "Murderers Among Us, the Simon Wiesenthal Story" starring Ben Kingsley. She recently completed editing "In the Time of the Butterflies" starring Salma Hayek for Showtime.

Eva is currently involved on several projects that she will direct. Her next project is a very contemporary story "Body and Paint. " She is developing a film based on the book Above Suspicion that Colleen Camp will produce.

Peter M. Hoffman

Peter M. Hoffman is chairman and founder of Seven Arts Pictures, an independent producer and distributor of feature motion pictures. Seven Arts has produced and distributed four motion pictures since inception: Johnny Mnemonic, Never Talk to Strangers, 9 1/2 Weeks II and Shattered Image. Seven Arts has also produced Onegin, The Believer (winner of the 2001 Sundance Grand Jury Prize), Duets, Cletis Tout and Insterstate 60. In conjunction with Paramount Pictures Corp. , Seven Arts has produced Rules of Engagement, Rat Race and Hardball.

Hoffman is also chairman and founder of the cinematic consultancy Cinevisions, a broker of entertainment financing transactions and a risk manager for motion picture and television production insurance companies.

From 1986 to 1992, Hoffman was President and CEO of Carolco Pictures, during which the company developed into the world's leading independent film entertainment company. Hoffman was directly involved at Carolco in the production of a large slate of independent motion pictures including such features as Terminator 2, Basic Instinct, Total Recall, Rambo III, The Doors, Mountains of the Moon, Angel Heart, L. A. Story, Air America, Music Box and Jacob's Ladder. Prior to his tenure at Carolco, Hoffman was a founding partner of the law firm Gibson, Hoffman and Pancione in Los Angeles. Hoffman is a graduate of Drew University, Summa Cum Laude, and of the Yale Law School.

Colleen Camp

Colleen Camp, a multifaceted actress and producer, has been friends with Eva Gardos for 25 years - the two having met when Gardos was a production assistant and Camp was playing a Playboy bunny in Francis Ford Coppola's epic Apocalypse Now. Camp was one of the first to urge Gardos to use her remarkable life story as a jumping-off point for a feature film, which became An American Rhapsody.

Recently making a significant mark as a producer, Camp went from her producing deal at Seven Arts / Fireworks to a deal at Fireworks Entertainment, which financed An American Rhapsody, along with Andy Vajna. This was a busy year for Camp having produced, in addition to An American Rhapsody, a series of five films for HBO's "Creature Features," along with Lou Arkoff and Stan Winston. Winston, who created the creatures in such films as Terminator and Jurassic Park, collaborated with Camp and Arkoff on remakes of the old classic Arkoff 1950's monster movies that will start airing Halloween 2001. They have all been updated with great filmmakers putting their own spin on the material.

Camp also produced with Bryan Bantry The Cream Will Rise about the singer Sophie B. Hawkins directed by Gigi Gaston. As a producing partner at Seven Arts Pictures, formerly a subsidiary of Fireworks Entertainment, Camp contributed to The Believer and Rat Race and received an Associate Producer credit for Raul Ruiz's and Barbet Schroeder's Shattered Image, starring Billy Baldwin and Anne Parillaud. Early in her career Camp got financing for Martha Coolidge's feature directorial debut Anne and Joey for which she received Associate Producer credit.

Camp also has a consulting deal and is producing projects with Crusader Entertainment, and also has projects at various studios and production companies across the country. Her forthcoming projects at Crusader Entertainment include Preschool: The Movie for Mike Newell, screenplay by John Richards with producing partner Terri Fettis D'Ovidio; The Remarkable Journey of Katherine Morrow to be directed by Wally Nicita; and Pre Nup, written by Jonathan Lynn who is also attached to direct. At Fireworks, Camp has The Alibi Club and Karma. She is producing Karma with Terence Chang and John Woo and developing the script with Gregory Hoblit.

Other producing projects include The Dirty Thirty, with Chang / Woo; Time and Chance at Intermedia with producing partnets Jerry and Janet Zucker and Amy Adelson; Novelist Angela Amatos' Lady Gold to be directed by Mel Gibson; The War Magician with Cruise/Wagner starring Tom Cruise; and finally, The Gods by Nicolas Kazan.

As an actress, Camp has starred or co-starred in more than 50 film and television productions, from her breakthrough performance in Peter Bogdonavich's comedy They All Laughed to Michael Ritchie's Smile, Jonathan Lynn's Clue and Greedy, John McTiernan's Die Hard III, Philip Noyce's Sliver and Penelope Spheeris' Wayne's World. She most recently starred in the critically acclaimed Election with Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon and will next be seen in Jerry Zucker's Rat Race, 24 Hours with Charlize Theron, Who's Your Daddy? produced by Verna Harrah and directed by Andy Fickman with Crusader Productions, Jon Purdy's Joshua, in which she stars with Tony Goldwyn, How to Make a Monster directed by George Huang and additional footage of Camp's to be seen in Apocalypse Now Redux.

Some of Camp's additional film credits include The Last Action Hero, Tony Goldwyn's Someone Like You, Amy Heckerling's Loser, Naked in New York, Love Stinks, Jazz Night, Barhopping, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Coneheads, Eight Heads in a Duffel Bag, The Babysitter's Club, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Three Wishes, D. A. R. Y. L. , House Arrest, Illegally Yours, Clue, Police Academy II & IV, The Joy of Sex, Valley Girl, Track 29, The Vagrant, My Blue Heaven, Funny Lady and The Wicked Stepmother opposite Bette Davis in her last film.

Her television credits include a series regular role on "Tom," "Thirtysomething," "Tales From the Crypt," "Dallas" and several episodes of "Roseanne," and "Murder, She Wrote. " She starred in the mini-series "Rich Man, Poor Man Book II" and in the telefilms "Suddenly," "An Urban Legend," "For Their Own Good," "Backfield in Motion" and Showtime's "The Right to Remain Silent," among others.

Bonnie Timmermann

Producer Bonnie Timmermann is best known as one of the film industry's most sought after casting directors. Most recently she worked for Ridley Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer on Black Hawk Down and Tony Scott on Spy Game with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. She has also worked with Michael Mann on such projects as The Insider, Heat, The Last of the Mohicans, Manhunter and the television series "Miami Vice. " Timmermann has cast more than three dozen feature films including Quiz Show, directed by Robert Redford, Amadeus, directed by Milos Forman, Midnight Run, directed by Martin Brest, Glenngarry, Glenross, directed by James Foley, Dave, directed by Ivan Reitman and Bull Durham directed by Ron Shelton.

Timmermann has produced both the Broadway production, directed by Mike Nichols, and the feature film, directed by Roman Polanski, of Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden. For HBO she produced In the Gloaming, which Christopher Reeves directed.

Currently, she is producing Jack and Jill with Lynda Obst for Paramount Pictures and a series of action adventure books by the English writer Andy McNab at Miramax. With Ed Pressman she is producing a film based on Patricia Bosworth's biography, Diane Arbus, written and directed by Tamara Jenkins. Also she and Dick Wolf are producing Scouts Honor, a film for ABC/Disney.

Timmermann added, "I love this film because it comes from the hearts of my friends. And although specific to particular historical circumstances, it illuminates the pain and confusion experienced by so many growing up. "

Jay Firestone

With over fifteen years experience in the film and television industry, Jay Firestone is one of Canada's most experienced film and television industry executives.

Mr. Firestone established Fireworks Entertainment in 1996 to produce, distribute and finance television programs and feature films. Acquired by CanWest Global Communications Corp. in May 1998, Fireworks is now the core operation of CanWest Entertainment, giving CanWest a major presence in television and film production and distribution. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CanWest Entertainment, Mr. Firestone oversees the company's Los Angeles- and London-based television operations, as well as its Los Angles-based feature film division, Fireworks Pictures, responsible for such films as Rules of Engagement, Rat Race, Hardball, I-60, American Rhapsody, and The Believer, awarded the Grand Jury Award at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.

Mr. Firestone also oversees the company's interest in New York-based IDP Distribution, an independent distribution and marketing entity formed by Fireworks in 2000 as a joint venture with Samuel Goldwyn Films of Los Angeles and Carl Icahn's Stratosphere Entertainment of New York

Prior to forming Fireworks in 1995, Mr. Firestone was Vice Chairman of Alliance Communications Corporation, and is widely regarded as a key contributor to the company's impressive growth.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Firestone has served as producer for numerous television series, including Relic Hunter, La Femme Nikita, Queen of Swords, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Highlander: The Raven, FX: The Series, 18 Wheels of Justice, Caitlin's Way and Pacific Blue, the made-for-television movies The Girl Next Door, Robocop: Prime Directives, Poison and Blonde, and the feature films Black Top, Shattered Image, Onegin, American Rhapsody, Cletis Tout, I-60 and Trinity.

Mr. Firestone's work has garnered a number of industry awards, including a Gemini Award for Reboot, ABC's first CGI animated series, and Chrysler Canada's People's Choice Award for Nikita. Mr. Firestone was also nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998.


Executive Producer Adam Haight joined Fireworks at its inception and has been a vital contributor to its impressive growth including the company's significant expansion in both production and distribution.

Prior to joining Fireworks, Haight was one of Canada's most experienced producers. His drama series credits include Night Heat, Diamonds, TNT, Counterstrike, Hidden Room and Due South. In addition Haight has produced numerous long form projects including Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story, for which he received an Emmy nomination.

Since joining Fireworks Haight has been a producer on numerous series and feature film projects including Relic Hunter, Queen of Swords, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Highlander: The Raven, 18 Wheels of Justice, Caitlin's Way, The Girl Next Door, Robocop: Prime Directives, Poison, Black Top, American Rhapsody, Cletis Tout, Interstate 60 and The Believer.

Andrew G. Vajna

An American Rhapsody was close to Andrew Vajna as he is also Hungarian and left as a child. Vajna is renowned for his association with projects that have become international blockbusters. With his partner Mario Kassar, he helped turn the independent production company Carolco into a major Hollywood force. Carolco made motion picture history when it introduced a new cinematic hero, Rambo, to audiences in First Blood, continuing the series with the worldwide blockbusters Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III. With Kassar, Vajna also served as executive producer on Angel Heart. Other Carolco projects include Music Box, Total Recall, Air America and Jacob's Ladder. Other films include Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Color of Night, Judge Dredd, The Scarlett Letter, Oliver Stone's Nixon, Evita, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, Shadow Conspiracy, Out of Order / A Miniszter félrelép and The 13th Warrior.

Recently, Vajna re-teamed with his former partner Mario Kassar to produce the event-oriented films for which they are both known. Their plans include further sequels to the Terminator and I Spy franchises, and other major motion pictures.

Elemér Ragalyi

It seems fitting that An American Rhapsody should be shot by a pre-eminent Hungarian cinematographer who has worked extensively in the United States. Elemer Ragalyi has received the Critic's Prize for Best Cinematography six times at the Hungarian Film Festival. He has also shot 95 feature films, mini-series, telefilms and documentaries all over the world.

Ragalyi's feature film credits include Jacob the Liar, Out of Order / A Miniszter félrelép, Scrooge, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Kid in King Arthur's Court, Catherine the Great, Mesmer and The Heiress. In 1989, he shot the emotionally shattering, Oscar-winning Journey of Hope.

Ragalyi's work has most recently been seen in such prominent television fare as ABC's "Anne Frank" with Ben Kingsley and Brenda Blethyn, NBC's "Mary and Jesus" and "In The Beginning" with Jacqueline Bisset and Martin Landau; and the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of "David Copperfield" directed by Peter Medak and starring Sally Field. In 1990, he won the Cable ACE Award for Best Cinematography for HBO's "The Josephine Baker Story. " Ragalyi also garnered ACE nominations for the HBO features "Max and Helen" and "Red King, White Knight. " His extensive HBO work also includes the Emmy Award-winning "Rasputin," directed by Ulrich Edel and the acclaimed "Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story" for which he won an ACE Award for Cinematography.

Beatrix Aruno Pasztor

Hungarian-born costume designer Beatrix Aruna Pasztor brings a unique perspective to the look of An American Rhapsody. Pasztor has designed the costumes for nearly 20 films, including The Wonder Boys, Monkeybone, She's So Lovely, U-Turn, Indecent Proposal, The Fisher King and her first feature, The Bloodhounds of Broadway. She has also enjoyed a long working relationship with director Gus Van Sant, working with the director on the Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting, as well as Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, To Die For and Psycho.

Born in Budapest, Pasztor studied at the Academy of Applied Arts and graduated in 1984, when she moved to New York. There she was a hat designer and window display dresser before beginning her career in films and moving to Los Angeles.

Vanessa Vogel

Vanessa Vogel began her association with Beatrix Aruna Pasztor on Gus Van Sant's Good Will Hunting, on which Vogel served as assistant costume designer. She went on to serve as costume supervisor on Van Sant's remake of Psycho. Vogel's credits as costume designer include A Boy Called Hate and an untitled feature forthcoming from director Nicole Holofcener and starring Brenda Blethyn, Catherine Keener and James LeGros.

Cliff Eidelman

Cliff Eidelman provides the haunting and emotionally stirring score that combines strains from both Hungarian and American culture. Eidelman's film credits include One True Thing, Montana, Free Willy 3, Now and Then, Beautician and the Beast, My Girl 2, A Simple Twist of Fate, Meteor Man, Untamed Heart, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

For television, Eidelman composed the score the award-winning series "If These Walls Could Talk" and the recent telefilm "Witness Protection," among others.

Margie Goodspeed

Margie Goodspeed had the challenge of editing on An American Rhapsody. Goodspeed's past credits include Spitfire Grill, Morgan's Ferry, Free Willy 3, a segment of Four Rooms and The Fence. She also edited the acclaimed HBO series "If These Wall Could Talk 2. "

As an assistant editor, Goodspeed worked on Bull Durham, Broadcast News and John Carpenter's They Live among others.

Alex Tavoularis

Alex Tavoularis began his career working as an Illustrator for Francis Coppola and his brother Dean Tavoularis on The Conversation. Thereafter he worked on The Godfather II, Apocalypse Now and other shows apart from Zoetrope Studios such as Walter Hill's Hard Times in New Orleans, Star Wars and Heavy Metal. In the early 1980s when Zoetrope Studios was located in Hollywood, Tavoularis worked on One from the Heart, and many of the other movies the studio produced at that time. Tavoularis painted the art work which appeared on the poster for Francis Coppola's re-release of Abel Gance's Napoleon.

Tavoularis began his production design career in 1986 on Lance Hool's Steel Dawn which was filmed in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. Following were Paul Bartel's Scenes from a Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, Abel Ferrara's The King of New York, Beethoven I, William Friedkin's Jade and others.

He met Eva Gardos during the filming of Apocalypse Now in the Philippines.

Author : © Paramount Classics