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May 18, 2004


Why kids who grew up in L.A. are so cool

One of the films at Cannes this year is a documentary about a cable channel available only around LA from the mid-70's through 1989 called Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession. It's by exactly the kind of person who you might imagine grew up watching Z Channel every night: Alexandra Cassavetes, daughter of John and Gena Rowlands, and sister of Nick. Movies that never got a wide theatrical release, or had been edited for content, often got heavy and uncut play on Z Channel. Underground movie culture seems to have grown in this country in part because of this channel: fans say it was like "having a film festival in your home every single night." It never had more than 90,000 subscribers, but people like Quentin Tarantino exist because of Z Channel--before video rental, this was the source for weird, underground, foreign, and other forgotten movies.

The manager of the station also has an interesting and sad story. He had complete freedom to program the station however he wanted, which was successful for many years, but in 1989 as the business began to fail, he lost it, and murdered his wife then killed himself. Video killed the cable TV star.

categories: Media, Movies, TV
posted by amy at 12:39 PM | #