Colcoa French Film Festival
Los Angeles, California
An American film and television producer, Marianne Maddalena’s productions have taken her from the streets of Los Angeles to the stages of Carnegie Hall, from the woods of Vancouver to the farflung reaches of Haiti, Morocco and South Africa. Grossing over $1 billion worldwide, Marianne’s films have been at the center of the pop culture conversation for nearly three decades.
Born in Lansing, Michigan, Marianne attended Michigan State University and then traveled to Europe, to study and work in Italy and France. She entered the world of cinema when she landed a job on DEADLY FRIEND as assistant to director Wes Craven. Their relationship would prove to be a fortuitous one. Working again as his assistant on his next project, THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, Marianne travelled with Wes to Haiti and the unique demands of this famously difficult production forged a professional bond between the two that would last for more than twenty years.
It was this bond of trust that allowed Marianne to make the jump to full producing partner with Craven’s next two films for Shep Gordon’s Alive Films and Universal Pictures, SHOCKER and THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS. Branching out into television, the pair produced the NBC TV movie NIGHT VISIONS as well as the NBC series NIGHTMARE CAFE. With Craven still immersed in production on PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, Maddalena worked closely with director Phillip Noyce on the pilot of NIGHTMARE CAFE, though Craven eventually joined the roster of directors once the series was underway. Marianne then turned her attention back to producing Craven’s preSCREAM foray into postmodern horror, WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE.
Marking Craven’s return to a series that helped to define the horror genre in the 1980s, NEW NIGHTMARE gave the series a fresh 90s spin deemed so original that it garnered Marianne an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Picture of 1994. A most unusual move for the group to venture into underrewarded horror territory, NEW NIGHTMARE found itself competing against the likes of Woody Allen’s BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, Ang Lee’s EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN, Alan Rudolph’s MRS. PARKER & THE VICIOUS CIRCLE and the eventual winner, Quentin Tarantino’s PULP FICTION.
Maddalena and Craven produced the Eddie Murphy vehicle VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN (1995), and then segued immediately into the film that would redefine the horror genre for the 1990s, SCREAM. The film was an international blockbuster and would soon spawn three equally successful sequels that were all directed by Wes and produced by Marianne. Forming a production company together, CravenMaddalena Films, Marianne and Wes were able to capitalize on their newfound success by moving into territory outside the horror genre, like the Meryl Streep vehicle MUSIC OF THE HEART (1999), which garnered 2 Oscar nominations including one for Streep as Best Actress, and the highly successful 2005 thriller RED EYE, starring Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy.
This success also spawned a cottage industry of films by other directors which were produced by Marianne, including 2006’s THE HILLS HAVE EYES directed by Alexandre Aja (which grossed $42 million domestic), its 2007 sequel, THE HILLS HAVE EYES II, and 2009’s THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT directed by Dennis Iliadis (which helped to launch the career of BREAKING BAD’S Aaron Paul). Marianne next had the opportunity to produce the omnibus indie NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU, with a collection of short films directed by such international icons as Fatih Akin, Yvan Attal, Allen Hughes, Shekhar Kapur, Joshua Marston, Mira Nair, and Natalie Portman, making her directorial debut. The success of that film has spawned an Israeli version currently in development, JERUSALEM, I LOVE YOU, featuring a promised roster of equally sterling international directors.
With several films in development and slated for production in 2017, Marianne is currently producing SCREAM: THE TV SERIES, which is in its second season on MTV. Marianne is also a cosponsor of the COLCOA French Film Festival, a festival created and presented by the FrancoAmerican Cultural Fund designed to showcase the diversity of French film, now in its twentieth year.
And in response to the criticism this year of the lack of diversity in film, she is also producing a series of public service announcements with former Academy president Hawk Koch, entitled IF YOU CAN SEE IT YOU CAN BE IT. which will showcase the talents of diverse members of the film community in hopes to educate students about all the many different job opportunities in the film business. Will Smith, Viola Davis, Russell Simmons, Kerry Washington and Vanessa Hudgens will be introducing the segments. The project was inspired by President Obama’s foundation MY BROTHER’S KEEPER.