Ray Price Dies: Respected Indie Film Producer Was 75

Ray Price, the respected indie movie producer who championed the likes of Tran Anh Hung, Gurinder Chadha and Carl Franklin, has died at 75. Price’s death on July 16 after a long battle with cancer was confirmed by his long-term partner, Meg Madison.

Price launched his film career in 1972, managing the Berkeley storefront theater the Rialto, and went on to build with Allen Michaan Renaissance Theaters. Under Price’s stewardship, Renaissance Theaters was renowned for redesigning marketing materials which fledgling distributors often adopted when the films hadn’t found success in other markets.

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The company also took films out of studio vaults and relaunched them, including Ridley Scott’s The Duelist.

Roadside Attractions Co-President Howard Cohen said of Price: “He had a deep knowledge and love of movies, and was the source of great lore about the theatrical distribution business. He was part of what I might call a vanishing breed of indie film executive, along with the late Bingham Ray, who came at the business from a unique combination of cineaste love and down-to-earth, on the ground movie theater perspective, often starting out managing local theaters.”

In 1988, Price re-located to LA, where he helped to start several distribution companies including IRS Pictures and First Look Pictures, while building the theatrical arm for the home video company, TriMark Entertainment. During this period, he handled distribution and marketing for a slew of independent films.

The majority of the films Price distributed were from women and people of color and he went on to champion the likes of Anh Hung, Chadha and Franklin.

After 1999, when he joined American Zoetrope, Francis Ford Coppola’s indie film production company, Price supervised the worldwide sales and marketing of such films as Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides, which debuted at Cannes, and Coppola’s productions of the first Jeepers Creepers.

Along with his partner Madison, Price is survived by his children, Antigone Dempsey, Dierdre Price and Asher Price; and his brother, Brian Price; and Madison’s sisters, Liz and Sean Madison.

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