Director’s Note

I have known Greg Laemmle for some time, having reached out to him on several occasions to screen films I had made as an independent filmmaker.

What I instantly discovered was that screening my movie for an audience was a singular moment. We had shaped an idea into a film, and it was completed—but when it found an audience in a theater, it took its first breath.

Then one day I was attending a film festival and noticed “The Laemmle Family Wall,” a visual history of the Laemmle family, tracing back to the origins of Hollywood. This compelled me to reach out to Greg and ask him if anyone had ever thought about doing a documentary about his family. His response: “Do you think anyone would be interested?”

We had no idea where this was headed. As it unfolded, the Laemmle story became the microcosm of the macrocosm—theaters were forced to ask big questions when the pandemic landed. They closed for more than 16 months, and many never reopened. We were able to witness the Laemmles’ extraordinary challenges, and feel quite privileged to have been there, during what was the most tumultuous 24-month period in the theater’s history.

Raphael Sbarge

Raphael Sbarge

Raphael Sbarge (Director/Producer) has spent significant time on both sides of the camera. In 2020, Sbarge earned his first Emmy nomination for LA Foodways, a one-hour feature documentary and six-part television series that he directed and produced. It debuted on KCET-PBS, which also co-produced the project. He has directed several other films for KCET, and is currently in preproduction for a new feature documentary that KCET will co-produce, called 10 Days in Watts. Sbarge recently completed a film of Martin Moran’s Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway play The Tricky Part, now on the festival circuit. His series On Begley Street with Ed Begley Jr. won numerous awards. Sbarge’s first narrative short, The Bird Who Could Fly, has won numerous awards and garnered many laurels at film festivals around the country. He is the founder of Wishing Well Entertainment.

Sbarge has also been a working actor for more than five decades. Growing up in New York City, he began working at age 4 on Sesame Street. Son of a theatrical costume designer, Sbarge grew up backstage. He has appeared in five plays on Broadway and on stages around the country, and dozens of movies, including Risky Business, My Science Project, Independence Day, Pearl Harbor and Vision Quest. Sbarge has appeared in more than 100 television guest and series regular roles on network television shows, including the long-running ABC hit Once Upon a Time, Steven Bochco’s TNT drama Murder in the First and The Guardian for CBS, among others.

Rick Pratt (Editor/Producer) is a Los Angeles-based producer and editor. His diverse portfolio includes numerous corporate videos, music videos, TV series, independent films and documentaries. Pratt has extensive experience in editing. In his early career, Pratt worked under the direction of many top directors including Darren Doane, Geri Cusenza and Robert Lobetta. His work on LA Foodways for KCET garnered an Emmy nomination. Other films for KCET include Is There Hope For Planet Earth?, A Concrete River and Lewis MacAdams: A Celebration of Life.

Thomas Cassetta (Supervising Sound Editor/Sound Mixer/Producer) enjoys bridging the gap between the invisible art of technical craft and creative expression, after a quarter century in theater, film and television. Casetta brings an intimate understanding of the technical processes from development to distribution, for television and film clients including Viacom, KCET, HBO, Disney+, Amazon Studios and Netflix.

Matthew Kubas (Director of Photography) is a Los Angeles-based director of photography and lighting designer. His diverse portfolio includes numerous short films, music videos, TV series, feature films, documentaries and TV specials. Kubas has extensive experience in lighting and artistic camerawork. In his early career, Kubas worked under the direction of many of the top cinematographers, including Jo Willems and Matthew Libatique.

Freida Orange (Producer) started her film career at Miramax/Dimension, where she supported publicity campaigns for award-winning narrative films and documentaries including Kill Bill Vol. II, Bad Santa, Cold Mountain, The Aviator and Fahrenheit 911. At Sikelia Productions, she was executive assistant to Martin Scorsese on projects including Academy-Award winning The Departed, Shutter Island and acclaimed concert documentary Rolling Stones Shine a Light. Freida spent the next eight years at PR agencies PMK*BNC and Rubenstein, where she led publicity campaigns for titles including Sundance breakout and Academy-Award nominated feature Beasts of the Southern Wild and documentaries Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, Casting By, Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland and The American Meme. She also led entertainment strategy for the ACLU. She currently works in Film Publicity at Netflix.

A founding member of The Innocence Project’s Young Professionals Committee, Freida graduated from the Grady School of Journalism at The University of Georgia. She spent 10 years as CBS Sports’ tennis liaison at The U.S. Open in NYC.

Executive Producers

Gary Rubin has more than 25 years of experience distributing, acquiring and managing independent films/companies. He has held senior-level positions at Artisan Entertainment, First Independent Pictures, Cohen Media Group and Menemsha Films. His executive producer credits include Edmond, the David Mamet adaptation.

Heather Kenyon, a partner in Citizen Skull, started her career at Hanna-Barbera and dabbled in journalism as editor-in-chief of Animation World Network. From there, she returned to content creation, joining Cartoon Network, where she ultimately became senior director of development, original series, and helmed the development department for all animated and live-action series for children 6-11 years old. She then went to Starz Animation Toronto, producer of such films as Focus Features’ 9 and Elton John’s Gnomeo & Juliet as vice president, project development and sales. Kenyon went on to join Citizen Skull, where she also acts as the principal in its children’s media division, Citizen Kids. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of fine 

Executive Producers (Cont.)

arts degree from the filmic writing program at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.

Mark Myers, owner of Citizen Skull, is currently working on projects that include a five-part unannounced series for Showtime and Street Gang, now on HBO Max. His recent projects include Vice Versa: Chyna, giving Vice one of its top-rated shows, and Collision for Netflix. Past projects include The Oak Room, which premiered at Fantasia 2020, and Vicious Fun, which premiered at Sitges 2020. Other films include the indie For Entertainment Purposes Only, starring Sherilyn Fenn; 7 Splinters in Time, starring Austin Pendleton; Mexman, which premiered at Slamdance; Heartthrob for Netflix; the Amazon Prime cult favorite 12 Feet Deep with Tobin Bell; and Experimenter with Winona Ryder, which premiered at Sundance 2015. Past TV projects include Pond Stars for Nat Geo Wild, a pilot for HGTV and Mother of the Bride for Canada’s Slice Network. 

Humanities Advisers/Film Historians

We have commitment from three respected Los Angeles film historians to develop the broader social, cultural and historical context for Only in Theaters.

Leonard Maltin is an American film critic and film historian, as well as an author of several books on cinema, focusing on nostalgic, celebratory narratives. Maltin is president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and is on the Advisory Board of the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. For nearly a decade, Maltin was also on the faculty of The New School for Social Research in New York. Maltin teaches Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

Michael Renov is a film expert specializing in contemporary documentary filmmaking. He is the vice dean of academic affairs at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and professor of Critical Studies. He has served as a jury member at documentary festivals including Sundance, Silverdocs, the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival, Brazil’s International Environmental Festival of Film and Video, and DocLisboa in Portugal, among others. Renov’s teaching and research interests include documentary theory, autobiography in film and video, video art and activism, and representations of the Holocaust.

Ross Melnick is an associate professor of film and media studies at UC Santa Barbara. He has been named a 2017 Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The honor, one of two for scholars bestowed by the academy, will support Melnick as he writes a book on the history of Hollywood’s foreign ownership and operation of theaters around the world.