Letter to Elia, A: Scorsese’s Documentary about Kazan

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and THIRTEEN’s “American Masters” series on Wednesday have acquired A Letter to Elia, Martin Scorsese’s new documentary exploring the life and talent of Oscar-winning director Elia Kazan.

The film, co-directed by Scorsese and Kent Jones, made its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival and its North American premiere at the Telluride Film Festival.  It is also an official selection of the New York Film Festival where it will screen alongside Kazan’s “America, America” on September 27.

Martin Scorsese cites the works of Elia Kazan as being highly influential on his life and career. Of making the film, Scorsese says, “It took many years. I asked my old friend and collaborator Kent Jones 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.”

With respect to the Elia Kazan Film Collection, Scorsese added,  “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.”

A Letter to Elia, produced by Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, was co-financed and executive produced by Stone Douglass and Taylor Materne’s Far Hills Pictures.  WME Global assembled financing and brokered the distribution deal to PBS and Fox.

A Letter to Elia will air nationally on PBS as part of the “American Masters” series on October 4, 2010, accompanied by a companion short documentary featuring  actors and directors talking about Kazan’s influence on their work and on the American film industry.