Allison Anders Loves Dan Hassid
Dan Hassid has indie credentials back before the famed class of Sundance ‘92. He began working in post production at the company founded by Roger Corman, New World, although at this time, Corman was no longer involved and the company was making un-Cormanesque schlock. With two co-workers, Carl Colpaert and Bill Ewart, Hassid formed Cineville to produce Colpaert’s directoral debut Delusion in 1990 written by Kurt Voss (who had written and directed indie films Border Radio, Horseplayer and Genuine Risk by this time).
I met Dan in ‘91 when my UCLA buddy Bill Ewart brought me on to rewrite a project they had and which I possibly could get a chance to direct. This project eventually became Gas Food Lodging and every film I made after that Dan produced.
We were a partnership. He knew how to talk to me, what information I needed, and what information would just stress me out, and he protected me from distractions, from problems I couldn’t solve, from the terrible forces that bring good work down. And incredibly too—he always kept me laughing, even though we would inevitably hit some seriously rough patches during the process… he was there to remind me “it’s only a movie.”
We only made one studio film together, Grace Of My Heart, which was still on a pretty indie scale. After this experience, I came to him with another project and he didn’t walk away when the budget was laughably low: we made Sugar Town for $400,000, unbonded, but owned the North American rights and sold it for 3 times as much.
I was not the only filmmaker lucky to work with him. He also produced for Rodrigo Garcia who we’d come to know when we hired him to shoot Mi Vida Loca. For an even lower budget than Sugar Town, Dan produced Rodrigo’s Ten Tiny Love Stories and took on the wild ride of Swimming With Sharks and Tony Marke’s movie Welcome To Hollywood.
And of course we weathered together many projects which never came to fruition. But Dan always approached each one with the same positive attitude and the belief we could do it, we could make it work, on our own terms and have an adventure and lots of laughs in the process.
Dan is at Miramax now, and though he no longer produces independently, he remains my indie hero. I could never have made any of my films without him.
— Allison Anders