In what may be a first, a cable-commissioned film has secured official selection status from the Cannes Film Festival.
Commissioned by The Independent Film Channel, Xan Cassavetes’ documentary, Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, was named as an “Official Selection, Out of Competition” to the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. IFC officials believe this marks the first time a cable original film has received such an honor.
The documentary will air on the network sometime later this year.
The film tracks Z Channel, which launched in Los Angeles in 1974 as one of the nation’s first pay channels.
Z Channel’s prominence was solidified in 1980 when maverick programmer Jerry Harvey took over as head of programming. His programming showcased a combination of classic, international, independent and Hollywood films, and the network was the first to develop programming innovations such as “director’s cuts” and uniquely themed on-air festivals.
Directing her first feature-length documentary, Casssavetes explores the historic influence of Z Channel all the way through Harvey’s suicide.