The best way to direct the life you live is to do what you love with the people you love. And my father, Edward R. Pressman—film producer, jazz aficionado, philosophy student, frequent reader and Dodgers fanatic who would turn 80 on Tuesday—his life has been filled to the limit.
On January 17, in the final moments of my father’s life, his family and company, which had always been Ed’s family, surrounded him. We heard the “Gassenhauer” theme badlands, My father’s fourth film as a producer. He looked so peaceful and beautiful.
Earlier, on this last day of his life, we watched Ghost of Heaven. I have always been in awe of this movie. joy and chaos in every frame; Music that, like old souls, lasts forever. You can feel the way Ed and director Brian De Palma experimented together, pushing cinematic boundaries while not really knowing where the boundaries lie.
The movie opens with the song “Goodbye Eddie, Goodbye”. The lyrics read, “We will forever remember you, Eddie, by the sacrifice you made. We can’t believe the price you paid for love.”
What sticks with me is love. I really love my dad very much. He didn’t have to say much. I could feel him in the slightest wrinkle of his smile or the gesture of his hands. He loved his family. He loved my mother, Annie. He loved cinema. He liked to work. He loved his company. He loved Hollywood and the independent film community.
In remembering my father, many people talk about his determination. When he committed to a movie he never gave up. I think a lot of that strength came from his childhood. His childhood friends and family shared a lifelong bond that gave him the strength to never be afraid. His fellow Culture Morals and Fieldston School “The Heavies” have been friends for over 65 years.
He grew up in this magical childhood dream surrounded by toys at the Pressman Toy Factory. The company made a wide range of dolls and games as far back as 1922, and is best known for popularizing Chinese Checkers and launching the toy line of Disney’s first full-length animated feature. snow white. I see pictures of Ed’s parents as a child with his sister Anne and brother Jimmy dressed like Arabian royals in marketing materials collected by his mother, Lynn. It seems like some sheer fantasy – a vivid dream.
My grandfather Jack died when Ed was young and my grandmother Lynn, the toy company, took over. Lynn was a larger than life character. She always hosted, and she struck a legendary figure with wide-brimmed hats and a voice from a bygone era. In her 80s, after two martini dinners, I remember Lin exclaiming that shun me chow mein or chicken pietro is “better than sex!”
In the mid-1950s, she was one of the few women to occupy a conference room and the company grew under her leadership. Her creativity led to new toys that children and parents had not seen before, such as the first Doctors and Nurses sets, which were a huge success for the company.
Instead of following the expected path of entering the gaming business, Ed (no doubt inspired by Lin’s bravery) He worked his way up in the early independent film scene during the 1960s. This is where he found his true love: cinema.
The way his films, many cult classics, have been greeted with the same love. The movies we love are part of us and shape our lives. Ed was proud that the characters like Badlands Kate Carruthers, Wall StreetGordon Gekko W American PsychoPatrick Bateman has become an enduring figure, standing the test of time as part of our cultural consciousness.
Then, through the magic of film, he finds my mom, Annie, on set Hand. They have been together for over 40 years. The way they cared for one another, the love they shared, the care they gave me is a model I hope to carry into my life. I always thought it was so sweet that they met on that set as if the hand of the god of cinema brought them together.
Growing up with them, I must have been on some huge sets during a series of Ed movies in the early ’90s. I remember my dad and Danny DeVito lifting me into the director’s chair on the Brooklyn Bridge while shooting Hoffa; My parents would walk me through a stack of pyramid-sized styrofoam bricks on a set Street Fighter, amazed that it was real and imagined at the same time. during Doctor Moreau Island, Which was an absolute mess, was my daycare with the monster humans. Being surrounded by the udder of a six-breasted pig lady is a hug I’ve never been able to find in my adult life.
Across my life, the only times my dad got mad at me was when he felt I was worried about what other people thought or when I doubted I could do something. I will always hear his voice and try to be as strong as he taught me.
From a young age, he introduced me to the filmmakers I love like Stanley Kubrick, Vittorio De Sica, and Billy Wilder. But most importantly, he shared that movies matter. It took my whole life to fully realize what he did as a film producer, and the more I worked at it, the more mystical and transcendent his practice felt.
There are questions I never answered, but which I have tried: his philosophy; his philosophy; his philosophy. What prompted him to go to film a movie? How was he able to do this over and over again. You must have felt that what you’re doing could mean something to people – unlike today, when everything is lost in torrents and vast oceans of content that threaten to make our realities seem meaningless.
It has been the greatest honor to have been able to work alongside Ed on his last three films – She is Will, Daliand, and the Crow — which represent different aspects of his career. in you will doEd defended Charlotte Colbert, a first-time writer-director who delivered a poetic and haunting feature. in DalilandEd reunited with the genius Mary Aaron for a third film, and I finally felt connected as a solid partner to my parents, helping me provide financing and supporting the creative process.
And on Rupert Sanders’ reimagining of the crow, Ed never stopped believing we would get the movie together, supporting our partners despite years of challenges. In the three films I had the privilege of representing the company, both on set in Europe and throughout the shoot, I would call him and seek his wisdom in the few hours of his morning.
I wish we could make many more movies together. But with a slew of projects waiting to go into production – the long-running adaptation of Edward Abbey’s chaotic environmental adventure in the early 1970s… Monkey wrench ring; Jack Firecracker an original horror comedy set on July 4th; And a new version of Bad Lieutenant Edward R. Pressman Film Corp. is looking into the future to continue the 50-plus-year mission of supporting diverse artists tell the stories they want.
Many directors have said it, but his genius was that he loved the filmmakers and wanted to let them do their work, not impose his will and vision on them. Maybe we can all learn from that.
And I will, with the support of our amazing team at Pressman Film, honor my father’s indomitable spirit and love of film. We will be aware of the list of projects he has developed, and take a respectful interest in the library of films he has made and the papers he leaves behind as part of the Academy’s private collections.
At Pressman Film, we will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with the art and science of motion pictures. I promise we will remain true to the collective cinema experience (Ed called it the cathedrals of our time). We’ll dive in with the creators, unafraid of the future to see how AI facilities and immersive experiences can transform our imaginations into euphoric experiences beyond our current understanding.
Ed had the rare ability to live in the present while keeping one eye on the future and one eye on the past, allowing the past to inform his present and the present to inform the future. He always said, ‘Every movie is a miracle’ – here to celebrate miracles and keep the dream alive.