John Dorr, 48, video artist and founder of EZTV, one of the nation’s first centers devoted to the production and exhibition of video, died Jan. 1 in Los Angeles of complications resulting from AIDS.
A pioneer in the production of full-length dramatic videos, Dorr wrote and directed his first video feature, “Sudzall Does It All,” in 1979, and went on to make “Dorothy and Alan at Norma Place,” about Dorothy Parker, “Approaching Omega” and “The Case of the Missing Consciousness.”
Since 1980 he had also worked on more than 100 video productions as producer, director, cameraman and/or editor, including “What Happened to Kerouac?,” Eric Bogosian’s “Funhouse,””The Battle of the Bards,” Malcolm McDowell’s “The Oak Grove School” and the Lannen Literary Series, hourlong profiles of major writers and poets.
Most recently, he was working on a feature-length documentary on the making of Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts.”
However, his most significant achievement was EZTV, which he opened in 1979.
Based in West Hollywood, it was also a video studio equipped with editorial, duplication and production facilities available to artists at reasonable costs, reflecting Door’s philosophy that video provided an inexpensive way for everyone to make moving pictures.
Dorr also founded the EZTV Arts Foundation in 1988 to curate public exhibitions of independent video work. Among his eclectic programming was the premiere of Barbet Schroeder’s “The Charles Bukowski Tapes,” as well as George Kuchar’s “Evangelust” and Altman’s “Tanner ’88.”
A native of Lancaster, Mass., Dorr graduated from Yale, where, as president of the Yale Film Society, he introduced auteurist programming to the campus with series devoted to directors such as Hawks, Ford and Hitchcock. He was later a teaching assistant in the Theater Arts Dept. at UCLA and received a teaching fellowship from the American Film Institute.
Dorr also wrote film criticism and articles on film history for Film Comment, the Hollywood Reporter, Millimeter, Take One, the Los Angeles Times and other publications.
A memorial service will be held at EZTV later this month.
His longtime companion was George LaFleur. He is survived by a brother, three sisters, step-mother and stepsister.