Siguron “Joni” Sighvatsson, co-chairman of Propaganda Films, announced his resignation Dec. 22 from the company he co-founded with Steve Golin, effective at year’s end.
The film, commercial, and music video company, which is owned by Dutch media giant Polygram, said Sighvatsson, 42, would remain as a consultant to Propaganda’s music video and commercial departments. He will also continue as producer on several Propaganda film projects, including “An American Werewolf in Paris.”
“I’m inspired today,” Sighvatsson told Variety, asserting that “I came to this country to make movies and that is what I intend to do now.”
Statements from Propaganda co-chairman Golin and Polygram Filmed Entertainment president Michael Kuhn were congratulatory and indicated an amicable parting.
In fact, Sighvatsson’s exit comes in the wake of a restructuring ordered last May in which Propaganda’s film activities were placed under Golin’s control, while commercials and music videos were given over to Sighvatsson. Sighvatsson has apparently chafed under the corporate arrangement, saying now, “As things grew, I felt I was getting more removed from the creative side.”
A native of Iceland, Sighvatsson came to the U. S on a Fullbright Scholarship to study film at USC’s graduate program. He met Golin while both were students at the American Film Institute in 1981.
They formed Propaganda in 1986 and, when filmmaking ambitions were thwarted, entered the nascent music video business. Propaganda quickly cornered the market, turning out 125 music vids in 1987. Several directors of Propaganda’s music videos, such as David Fincher and John Dahl, went on to direct movies.
But making movies has been difficult over the past year for the Hollywood-based indie, which broke into the feature market with director David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart.” Propaganda fell three short of the four films it had planned to make this year. “Red Rock West,” the company’s low-budget sleeper from suddenlyhot director Dahl was a success-but only by way of accidental rescue from home video limbo.
Aside from “Werewolf,” Sighvatsson remains tied to Propaganda projects such as “A Taxing Woman,” the remake of the Japanese hit with Meg Ryan starring, and “Just Looking,” starring James LeGros, which starts Jan. 25.
Sighvatsson said he will be taking several projects with him. One is “Build a Fort and Set It on Fire,” based on the life of the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, which is to be directed by Julian Schnabel, also a New York artist.
As part of its filmed entertainment group, Polygram also owns Interscope and Working Title, both productive film companies, as well as Gramercy Pictures, which released this year’s indie hit from Working Title, “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”