Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Thirteen’s American Masters series have acquired Martin Scorsese’s documentary A Letter To Elia following its world premiere in Venice.
A Letter To Elia received its North American premiere at Telluride over the weekend and will screen alongside Kazan’s America, America at the New York Film Festival on September 27.
The film explores the life and work of Kazan, who won Oscars for On The Waterfront and Gentleman’s Agreement and earned notoriety back in the 1950s when he testified against fellow film-makers before the House Of Un-American Activities Committee.
Scorsese cites Kazan as a major influence on his own work and produced with Emma Tillinger Koskoff. Stone Douglass and Taylor Materne’s Far Hills Pictures co-financed and served as executive producer. WME Global assembled financing and brokered the distribution deal to PBS and Fox.
A Letter to Elia will air nationally on PBS on October 4 as part of the American Masters series, accompanied by a companion short documentary featuring noteworthy actors and directors talking about Kazan’s influence.
“It took many years [to make],” Scorsese said. “I asked my old friend and collaborator Kent Jones [co-director] to work with me, and we spent quite a long time looking at the films, talking about them, looking at the life, the fame, the infamy, and finding the tone, the balance that felt right for this picture. I feel that the finished film speaks to the power of art, in this case the art of Elia Kazan.
“I’m very excited that Fox is making our film available as part of a box set of Kazan’s work – I’m especially pleased by the inclusion of five pictures that have never been released on DVD, Wild River and America, America in particular. Getting the movies seen – that’s what we’re all aiming for.”