On Saturday, December 23 beginning at 1:00pm, Sundance Channel will broadcast a selection of Robert Altman television programs and films in tribute to the iconic director who passed away in Los Angeles on November 20, 2007. Sundance Channel will also air a short montage of Altman's work narrated by NBC News Anchor & Managing Editor, Brian Williams. The programming block will feature the television series Altman created with Garry Trudeau ("Doonesbury") Tanner on Tanner, starring Michael Murphy and Cynthia Nixon; the landmark 1973 film The Long Goodbye starring Elliot Gould; the 1990 biopic Vincent and Theo starring Tim Roth, and the 1992 movie industry parody The Player with Tim Robbins.
"Robert Altman's work, aside from being enormously entertaining, has always been timely, intelligent and extremely relevant politically. He will be deeply missed, and I am honored to have the chance to pay tribute to him alongside Sundance Channel," said Williams.
Sundance Channel President and CEO Larry Aidem commented, "Robert Altman was a great friend to Sundance Channel, and we feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work with him on several occasions. His love of filmmaking was unrivaled, and we hope that this small tribute will honor his iconic work in the way he would have liked - through the timeless and intimate narrative of his films."
The schedule for the tribute to Robert Altman is as follows:
Saturday, December 23, 2007 - 1:00 - 3:00pm
Tanner on Tanner (2004) - The 2004 Sundance Channel original series, "Tanner on Tanner" revisits the principal characters from Robert Altman and Garry Trudeau's groundbreaking 1988 television series "Tanner '88." This four-part series of half-hour episodes follows documentary filmmaker Alex Tanner (played by Cynthia Nixon) on her quest to probe the very soul of the modern politician. As Alex and her father, former candidate Jack Tanner (Michael Murphy), interview present day political figures, the documentary approach of "Tanner on Tanner" blurs the boundary between the factual and the dramatic. Part political satire, part wry portrait of an independent filmmaker "Tanner on Tanner" both sends up and salutes the worlds of politics and documentary filmmaking.
The Long Goodbye (1973) - After M*A*S*H and McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Robert Altman took on Raymond Chandler's classic L.A. thriller, transporting it from the dark mean streets of the '40s to the sun-drenched freeways of the '70s. Elliott Gould plays honor-bound private dick Philip Marlowe in a screenplay by Leigh Brackett (who also worked on another Chandler film, Howard Hawks's The Big Sleep). Now widely considered a landmark film of the early '70s, The Long Goodbye is a devastating commentary on changes in American values and one of Altman's best.
Vincent and Theo (1990) - In an unusual departure from the ironic ensemble dramas for which he is best known, filmmaker Robert Altman offers this intimate look at the life of the post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh (Tim Roth) and his long, supportive - yet exhausting - relationship with his art-gallery manager brother Theo (Paul Rhys). Altman and screenwriter Julian Mitchell consider the relationship between art and commerce while movingly capturing the humor, love and pain that enlivened the intense familial bond between the two brothers. "More than art appreciation, [Vincent & Theo] is a treasure in its own right, unframed and arcing in the projector's light" - The Washington Post.
The Player (1992) - Based on Michael Tolkin's revealing Hollywood murder mystery, Robert Altman's film stars Tim Robbins as Griffin Mill, a workaholic movie exec who kills a writer he believes is threatening him. Though convinced the authorities are about to snap on the handcuffs, and suffering a sweaty paranoia that begins to interfere with the intricate politicking of his work, he becomes involved with his victim's girlfriend (Greta Scacchi), who may also be onto him. Cameos from countless famous faces (Angelica Huston, Burt Reynolds, Lyle Lovett, John Cusack, Gary Busey) and a sharp awareness of the movie industry make this a fun, smart, edgy film.
Robert Altman was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1925. During his long and illustrious career he directed more than thirty feature films. He received five Academy Award® nominations for Best Director (Gosford Park, Short Cuts, The Player, M*A*S*H*, and Nashville), and three for Best Film (GOSFORD PARK, M*A*S*H*, and NASHVILLE). He was the recipient of an Honorary Academy Award at the 78th Academy Awards presentation on March 5, 2006.
Under the creative direction of Robert Redford, Sundance Channel is the television destination for independent-minded viewers seeking something different. Bold, uncompromising and irreverent, Sundance Channel offers audiences a diverse and engaging selection of films, documentaries, and original programs, all unedited and commercial free. Launched in 1996, Sundance Channel is a venture of NBC Universal, Showtime Networks Inc. and Robert Redford. Sundance Channel operates independently of the non-profit Sundance Institute and the Sundance Film Festival, but shares the overall Sundance mission of encouraging artistic freedom of expression. Sundance Channel's website address is www.sundancechannel.com.