Filmmaker Stephen Milburn Anderson, best known for 1992’s Oliver Stone-produced “South Central” and 2010’s “Cash,” starring Sean Bean and Chris Hemsworth, died Friday, May 1, at his home in Denver after a battle with throat cancer. He was 67.
Anderson was a pioneer in the use of digital filmmaking and an early advocate of the New Mexico Film Incentive Program.
Anderson wrote and directed eight movies. His short “Hearts of Stone” was the 1987 runner-up for Academy Award and played at the Sundance Film Festival, where it came to the attention of Oliver Stone, who subsequently produced Anderson’s first feature film, “South Central,” which was released by Warner Bros. The movie received wide critical acclaim, most notably in the New York Times where film critic Janet Maslin named Anderson one of the “Who’s Who Among Hot New Filmmakers in America,” along with Quentin Tarantino and Tim Robbins.
Anderson’s second feature was originally titled “Rangers” and released in 1997 under the title “Dead Men Can’t Dance.” In 2007, he wrote and directed “Cash”(originally titled “The Root of All Evil”), starring Sean Bean and Chris Hemsworth in what was the latter’s feature film debut.
Over the past 25 years Anderson worked as a producer, writer, director, production manager, post-production supervisor, location manager, camera assistant, electrician, grip and sound recordist.
In 1986-87 Anderson organized and produced the Discovery Program, a series of 16 professional short films for Columbia Pictures and David Puttnam. The first, “Ray’s Male Heterosexual Dance Hall,” won the Academy Award for best short. The Discovery Program has produced more than 60 films in all, garnering 14 Academy Award nominations and three Oscars (the program is still ongoing).
In 1999 he co-founded the digital production film festival Flicks on 66 (eventually renamed Digifest Southwest) in Albuquerque. Thirty-four short digital films have been produced so far.
Anderson founded the Studio New Mexico, which hosted the $30 million Tom Cruise-Paula Wagner production “Suspect Zero.” This film was one of the first to take advantage of the fledgling New Mexico state funding legislation.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in motion picture production and American literature at the University of New Mexico and his master’s degree in motion picture production at UCLA.
Anderson was a member of the Writers Guild of America and also wrote several novels.
He is survived by his wife of more than 30 years, Mary Weir.