Harvardwood Social Impact: A Conversation with Julie Corman

June 04, 2020 at 4:00pm - 5pm PT
Harvardwood ·
From the Skoll State of Social Impact Entertainment report: “As a vehicle for storytellers, artists and visionaries for over a century, narrative film has rapidly become one of the most influential mediums of the modern age.” For the inaugural event of Harvardwood's Social Impact Initiative, we’d like to welcome producer Julie Corman.

Hosted by Gene Pao MBA '97, Harvardwood’s Director of Social Impact, Julie will walk us through her 50 years of filmmaking and her approach to incorporating social impact themes and messaging into her works.

Julie Corman

Veteran producer Julie Corman has produced over 30 films. She has worked with noted talents: Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, John Sayles, Monte Hellman, Martin Sheen, Charles Grodin, RayWalston, Diane Ladd, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Jonathan Kaplan, Jason Priestley, Barbara Hershey and Mario van Peebles. She has never lost money on a film.

Her first feature producing credit was on BOXCAR BERTHA, directed by Martin Scorsese, starring David Carradine and Barbara Hershey. She went on to produce MOVING VIOLATION, starring Kay Lenz and Eddie Albert; CRAZY MAMA, directed by Jonathan Demme, starring Cloris Leachman, Jim Backus, Stuart Whitman and Ann Sothern (chosen as the U.S. entry in the Edinburgh Film Festival); THE LADY IN RED, written by John Sayles, starring Robert Conrad and Pamela Sue Martin (chosen as the U.S. entry at the Deauville Film Festival); SATURDAY THE 14TH, starring Richard Benjamin, Paula Prentiss and Jeffrey Tambor; and DA, starring Barnard Hughes and Martin Sheen, based on the Tony award-winning play.

In the 1970’s Corman and her husband, film legend Roger Corman’s New World Pictures became one of the most successful independent production and distribution companies in the film industry. The company produced and distributed over 200 feature films, in addition to distributing a prestigious slate of international films by such acclaimed directors as Francois Truffaut, Ingmar Bergman, Volker Schlondorff (whose TIN DRUM won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film), Federico Fellini and Akira Kurosawa.

After the sale of New World Pictures (the name and the going concern only) in 1983, the Cormans founded a new production and distribution company, New Horizons Picture Corporation, which has proved even more prolific than its predecessor. The library of Corman films now exceeds 450.

Julie Corman has produced family films under her Trinity Pictures label. The Academy of Family Film and Television named her “Producer of the Year” in 1996. A CRY IN THE WILD is based on Gary Paulsen’s Newbery award winning novel, HATCHET; and THE WESTING GAME is based on Ellen Raskin’s Newbery award winning novel of the same name.

Corman has produced several other family films: THE DIRT BIKE KID, starring Peter Billingsley; MAX IS MISSING, shot at Machu Picchu in Peru and LEGEND OF THE LOST TOMB, based on Walter Dean Myers’ book “Tales of a Dead King” and shot in Egypt.  Following on the success of A CRY IN THE WILD she made a series of wilderness films: WHITE WOLVES; A CRY IN THE WILD II, starring Mark Paul Gosselaar and WHITE WOLVESII: LEGEND OF THE WILD, starring Elizabeth Berkley, Corin Nemec, Justin Whalin and Jeremy London.

In 2000 Corman became Chair of the Graduate Film Department at NYU in the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. While there Corman executive produced a series of short films by NYU film students, REFLECTIONS FROM GROUND ZERO, based on the students’ 9/11 experiences. The films aired on Showtime.

Most recently Corman has produced a series of "creature" films for the Syfy Channel with her husband, Roger, most notably the “Sharktopus” series. She executive produced "Death Race 2080". She is currently in development on a remake of "The Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin.

Corman is a member of: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Women in Film and the International Women’s Forum. She has given numerous film seminars at NYU, UCLA, USC, UPenn, Yale, Duke, and Sundance. In 2012, she gave lectures in Japan at Rikkyo University and Nihon Eiga (the Japanese Institute of the Moving Image). She has received career achievement awards from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas and was given the Indy Pioneer Award at the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee. She has been on the jury or chaired the jury of numerous film festivals.

Corman was commencement speaker in 2010 for the UCLA (her alma mater) English Department, where she is a visiting professor in creative writing.

The Cormans have reared four children in Los Angeles and tended to a farm in the San Joaquin Valley that contracted with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers.

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