Indie film vet to chair film program

Indie film veteran Ira Deutchman has been appointed the new chair of the Columbia U film program, replacing Jamal Joseph, who steps down after a five-year tenure.

Deutchman, a founder of seminal indie distributors Cinecom and Fine Line Features, is already a professor of professional practice at the university. He’s taught there for almost 25 years, and in 2009 launched the MFA program in creative producing.

In his career as a distributor, Deutchman has been involved the release of indies “My Own Private Idaho,” “Naked,” “Hoop Dreams” and “Short Cuts,” among many others. He is currently one of the heads of Emerging Pictures, which digitally releases specialty films and alternative content through a network of exhibitors.

Columbia U’s film program, part of the institution’s School of the Arts, includes BA or MA degrees in film studies as well the MFA program that focuses on filmmaking studies emphasizing either screenwriting/directing or producing. Alums of the program include Kathryn Bigelow, Lisa Cholodenko, Greg Mottola and Shari Springer Berman.

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