The English Patient: About The Filmmakers

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SAUL ZAENTZ / Producer

Saul Zaentz, recently described by The New York Times as "perhaps the last of the great independent producers," was called in a 1990 Variety profile "as close to an idealized version of what an independent filmmaker is as exists."

Working far from Hollywood in Berkeley, Mr. Zaentz invests in his own films - possibly a singular distinction - and then helps bring them to life in the most complete hands-on manner. His productions tend to be complex and epic in size, and his involvement in producing extends from the purchase of film rights of source material and supervision of shooting to taking an active role in the film's editing, marketing and distribution phases.

In 1975 Zaentz's first effort, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", produced with Michael Douglas, starring Jack Nicholson and directed by Milos Forman, swept the top five Academy Awards including Best Picture. Zaentz then produced "Three Warriors" in 1977 and "The Lord of the Rings" in 1978. In 1984 "Amadeus," his second collaboration with Forman, won eight Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.

In 1986 Zaentz acted as executive producer on "The Mosquito Coast" and in 1988 produced "The
Unbearable Lightness of Being." Based on the novel by Milan Kundera, directed by Philip
Kaufman and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin, the film was warmly
received by the critics and honored with three Academy Award nominations. "At Play in the
Fields of the Lord" followed in 1991.

Saul Zaentz was born in New Jersey of Russian-Polish parents. Throughout childhood he was consumed by passions he continues to enjoy today: reading, music, sports, theater and movies. He also developed a penchant for calculated gambling which marks his career as a producer.

In 1948, after serving in the Army during World War II, Zaentz settled in San Francisco where he worked in record distribution. He returned East (for one year - 1954) and took a job with music impresario Norman Granz working for Granz's jazz record company and managing concert tours that took him on the road with Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz.

In 1955 Zaentz returned to San Francisco to join Fantasy Records, the first record company to record Dave Brubeck, Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl. Fantasy's first hit, however, was Vince Guaraldi's "Cast Your Fate to the Wind." In 1968 the label became hugely successful recording the group Creedence Clearwater Revival. By 1967 Zaentz and a group of investors had purchased the company which has since expanded to become the largest jazz label in the world.

Today Fantasy Records and The Saul Zaentz Company occupy a seven-story complex in Berkeley that consists of offices, state of the art recording studios, film editing and mixing facilities. Many
major films are edited or mixed there, in addition to those produced by Mr. Zaentz himself, including "The Right Stuff," "Never Cry Wolf," "Ed Wood," and "To Die For."

ANTHONY MINGHELLA / Director and Screenplay Writer

After a decade of writing successfully for theater and television, Anthony Minghella made an auspicious feature film debut in 1991 with "Truly, Madly, Deeply," a love story that is also a ghost story which he wrote as well as directed. Starring Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman, the film won numerous accolades including awards for Minghella from the British Film and Television Academy (BAFTA) and the Writer's Guild of Great Britain. The Australian Film Institute Award named it Best Picture. He was also voted Best Newcomer by the London Film Critics Circle. In 1993 Minghella directed his second film "Mr. Wonderful," starring Matt Dillon and Mary Louise Parker.
Born of Italian parents in 1954 on the Isle of Wight, Minghella lectured at the University of Hull until 1981 when he began his playwrighting career. In 1984 he was named the most promising playwright of the year by the London Theater Critics for three plays, " A Little Like Drowning," "Love Bites," and "Two Planks and a Passion." Two years later the London Critics honored "Made in Bangkok" as Best Play of the Year.

Minghella's radio play "Hang Up," won the Prix D'Italia in 1988. Another radio play, "Cigarettes and Chocolate," was a finalist for the Prix D'Italia in 1989 and won several other honors.

Anthony Minghella wrote the pilot script and regularly contributed to British television's award winning series "Inspector Morse," and his television trilogy, "What If It's Raining?," was highly acclaimed throughout Europe.

Minghella wrote all nine of the short television films in the Emmy Award-winning "Storyteller"
series for Jim Henson and NBC. He also wrote another film for the same team, "Living with
Dinosaurs," which won an international Emmy in 1990. He remains a creative consultant for
Jim Henson Productions.

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