The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

Searching For Mr. Rugoff

Join us for a weekend of celebrating cinemas (literally) as we screen the new documentary from Ira Deutchman: Searching For Mr. Rugoff.

The film is the story of Donald Rugoff, who was the crazy genius behind Cinema 5, the mid-century theater chain and film distribution company. Rugoff was a difficult (some would say impossible) person but was also the man who kicked art films into the mainstream with outrageous marketing schemes and pure bluster.

Rugoff’s impact on cinema culture in the United States is inestimable, and his influence on the art film business–from the studio classics divisions to the independent film movement to the rise of the Weinsteins–is undeniable. Yet, mysteriously, Rugoff has become a virtually forgotten figure. The story is told through the eyes of former employee Ira Deutchman, who sets out to find the truth about the man who had such a major impact on his life, and to understand how such an important figure could have disappeared so completely.

“An enthralling documentary that movie buffs everywhere will want to see…” – Owen Glieberman, Variety

“I got the warm-and-fuzzies from seeing the love here for moviegoing and exhibition, which he goosed with gonzo showmanship.” – Nicolas Rapold, The New York Times