Tag Archives: Saul Zaentz Media Center

Oscar-nominated Berkeley film tells tale of forgiveness

Matthew Boger revisits the location of his attack. Film still courtesy of Jason Cohen Productions.
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At age 13, Matthew Boger was banished from his mother’s Northern California home for being gay. To stay alive, the teenager prostituted himself on the streets of Hollywood, where, one night in 1980, he was brutally beaten up by a group of young skinhead neo-Nazis. 

The attackers never knew that Boger miraculously survived the assault – until 25 years later, when one of the perpetrators met Boger by chance at, of all places, Los Angeles’ Museum of Tolerance.

Boger and his attacker, former neo-Nazi Tim Zaal, are the subjects of Berkeley filmmaker Jason Cohen’s Academy Award-nominated short documentary Facing Fear. Through interviews with Boger and Zaal, and an examination of their respective backgrounds, the film explores bigotry, transformation, and forgiveness. Cohen tells the startling story of the two men’s personal evolutions and their eventual, improbable friendship. Today, Boger and Zaal speak together at museums and schools, and continue to navigate the process of reconciliation.

Berkeleyside interviewed Cohen at the Saul Zaentz Media Center, where he edited and produced Facing Fear. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s legendary producer Saul Zaentz dies

Saul Zaentz Photo: Saul Zaentz Company
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Saul Zaentz, who produced three Academy Award-winning films and whose Fantasy Records building on Tenth Street in Berkeley became an international center for music and filmmaking, died in San Francisco on Friday at the age of 92.

His death marks the end of an era that started in 1971 when Zaentz moved his Fantasy Records into what was then a two-story building on Tenth and Parker streets in West Berkeley. For close to 40 years, because of Zaentz, Berkeley has been synonymous with high quality film and music production.

Zaentz, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, was born in Passaic, N.J. in 1921, and ran away from home at 16. After serving in North Africa and Sicily in World War II, Zaentz came to San Francisco where he went to work in 1954 for Norman Granz, a jazz producer and promoter. Zaentz managed Granz’s touring company and went out on the road with jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz. … Continue reading »

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Film about music pioneer Don Buchla in the works

Buchla 01
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Connie Field can usually be found on the front lines of social struggle. From her classic 1980 documentary The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter to last year’s seven-part PBS series on the global movement to end apartheid, Have You Heard From Johannesburg, the Berkeley filmmaker seeks to ensure that history doesn’t forget the citizens and activists behind world-shaking movements for social justice.

Her latest project, Buchla, for which she’s seeking initial funding via a Kickstarter campaign that concludes on April 15, explores a different kind of untold story. Working with her longtime editor, Gregory Scharpen, she’s delving into the fascinating world of electronic music pioneer Don Buchla, the ingenious Berkeley inventor and theoretician who has played an essential role in shaping the way humans interact with electronic devices.

While his late East Coast contemporary Robert Moog gets the lion’s share of the credit as the forefather of electronic instruments, the 75-year-old Buchla preceded him. After earning a degree in physics from UC Berkeley in 1960, he collaborated with avant garde composers Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender, who were both associated with the San Francisco Tape Music Center, which led to the invention of synthesizers controlled by touch sensitive plates (a concept that turned out to be decades ahead of its time). … Continue reading »

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