EXCLUSIVE: As the Sundance Film Festival ponders how it will honor indie icon Bingham Ray — word is festival director John Cooper will read a eulogy penned by some of Ray’s friends during Saturday’s awards ceremony — Oscar-nominated Moneyball producer Rachael Horovitz has written a remembrance of her longtime friend and colleague. Ray died Monday after falling ill unexpectedly just before he was due in Park City.
I met Bingham in the fall of 1996 when I went to the Toronto Film Festival as vp of acquisitions for Fine Line Features. Having previously been an independent producer of low-budget movies, I’d heard of this legendary figure, but had never gotten close enough to introduce myself. It was in the middle of the night at my first Dart Party (a Bingham tradition) that I got my chance and we began the conversation that continued until just a few weeks ago (see Lesson #4). Our friendship spanned some pretty rough times for each of us but, also, as was clear to me while his great life ended this past Monday, many of my best times were in his company: watching the sun burst into being on early May mornings in Cannes, closing Michael Stipe’s annual New Year’s party with a dance in the middle of a Soho sidewalk, brushing off the bitter chill of Park City winds, laughing out loud about unfaithful bosses and colleagues and their inanity, taking in the deeply nourishing air of a Telluride afternoon.
Bingham taught me much of what I know about life and the film world. Here are a few of the basic lessons I learned from the man: (more…)