AOL vice chairman segues into role as movie producer


It was the kind of publicity event that most first-time filmmakers could only dream of. An invitation-only screening of the documentary “Nanking,” held in late October at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, conjured up an eclectic mix of attendees, including the “60 Minutes” correspondent Bob Simon, the real estate scion Ivanka Trump and the gossip columnist Cindy Adams, not to mention its official hostess, Wendi Murdoch, the wife of Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the News Corporation.


A scene from Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman’s documentary “Nanking,” the first film produced by Theodore J. Leonsis.

But perhaps the most distinctive guest that night was the goateed, rotund man in the crisp gray suit. Ms. Murdoch shepherded him past a cluster of photographers and into the screening room, reminding him to look at the cameras.

“This is Ted,” Ms. Murdoch announced to the paparazzi. “He’s the producer.”

Ted is Theodore J. Leonsis, the gregarious and sometimes polarizing Web entrepreneur and sports-franchise mogul who, early this year, traded away his day-to-day responsibilities as vice chairman of AOL to devote more time to the decidedly less lucrative field of documentary filmmaking.

(Source: New York Times)

Film Business, Filmmaking, Internet TV, Producers

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