Magnifying Education Through Film
His persistence amplifies the reach of works by independent filmmakers.
Film as a historical record has been one of the most impactful tools in our learning arsenal. It can illustrate accomplishments to inspire en masse and present tragedies as examples of who we should never be again.
If voices vital to the record of our collective human experience are never heard, would it be irretrievably tragic? If no one ever learned about traumas or triumphs happening in obscure corners of our world, would we be blissful in our ignorance? Probably so, and no one could hold anyone accountable, nor could we celebrate with the glorious.
Thankfully, one man has dedicated his life to expanding the impact of independent documentarians and filmmakers recording these historical events. His name is Dan Gurlitz, and his archive may be the one thing beings from other worlds should check out first to fully understand what humanity is.
Embracing the Art Form
Gurlitz began his love affair with the arts at New York University in the graphics department. With a concentration on communicating with fonts, shapes, and color, an appreciation began to form. The native New Yorker fleshed out his education with the study of people receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology from C.W. Post. With these insights deeply embedded, his attraction to the work of documentarians was a natural fit.
A Different Kind of Film Career
He began his celluloid-centered career in 1984 at Win Records and Video as a Director of Advertising. In 1986 he was named Director of Sales for Wood Knapp Video promoting such uplifting works of Children’s Circle and Angela Lansbury’s Positive Moves. Seven years later, he was appointed Vice President Sales for Fox Lorber Associates, a foreign film boutique handling such notable titles as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and the early works of Director John Woo.
A Mission Found
His love affair with filmmakers took off at his next position as General Manager at Wellspring Media, an independent distributor of international films and feature documentaries. The position that followed next as Koch Entertainment’s SVP/General Manager rounded out what he needed to know about DVDs and the birth of digital distribution. Following Entertainment One’s purchase of Koch Entertainment, he remained there through 2010.
The Noble Documentarian
Now armed with a multi-year background in marketing, films, and distribution, Gurlitz pursued his mission. He would create a springboard for filmmakers around the world to expand the impact of their work. There were so many valuable voices languishing in a sea of films, and no one knew they were there. Big studio money surely didn’t help the situation for independents, and that’s where Gurlitz stepped in. He founded Soundview Media Partners in 2010 to showcase the independent documentarian, artist, label, and content owner to create awareness, allowing for wider global distribution, what Gurlitz refers to as “ubiquitous availability.”
The Mission Begins
Getting insider savvy from a seasoned industry professional can be invaluable for an aspiring filmmaker. Soundview Media Partners does precisely that. It offers marketing and distribution solutions, creates product mixes for potential venues, and generally nurtures the creativity of clients by taking the business side of the equation off their worried minds. Early on, Gurlitz coined the mission as “Business Acceleration for Independents” but migrated to his current tagline of “Documenting the World One Film at a Time” by 2015.
“I launched Soundview on a bit of a whim; not knowing exactly where the road would take me,” he says and continues, “I wanted to work from home and help raise my two children. People thought I was nuts to exit the corporate world and go it alone. As it turns out, it’s been a wildly fun and crazy ride, meeting and doing business with people from all over the globe, sharing their messages and hopefully expanding upon their missions and dreams. That said, each morning when I wake, I jump on a wild stallion and hold on for dear life… then I return to life to have dinner with my wonderful wife and discuss our incredible kids. Oh yea… if you have kids, Don’t Blink… they grow up really fast!”
For Your Consideration
If needed, Gurlitz can act as a “pitchman” for clients, helping them score distribution in a competitive marketplace. The grateful clients respond by singing his praises throughout the industry. His glowing reputation is no accident. Years of experience combined with a sincere belief in the works of his clients come across as genuine and compelling, precisely the way they feel about their craft.
Curating Great Works
With access to some the best independent film work and media content of our time, is it any wonder Gurlitz began curating collections for universities, museums, and other educational venues? His appreciation of film as a method for enlightening and informing has benefited us all. His expertise has not gone unnoticed by influential like-minded people who earnestly invited Gurlitz to serve on various boards as a valued advisor.
In addition to running Soundview Media Partners, Gurlitz recently joined MVD Entertainment Group and is making a contribution to their digital sales expansion. In February 2020, Gurlitz launched a new electronic newsletter entitled FILM RELEASE NEWS which is dedicated to conveying independent film release information to educators and library media specialists.
Matters of the Utmost Importance
The Holocaust is known to be one of the most significant events in 20th-century human history and profoundly impacts our collective psyche. Fittingly, Gurlitz has elected to help safeguard the films of record surrounding this event. He currently serves on the Board of Advisors at The Holocaust Education Film Foundation. The organization dedicates its efforts to ensure the world never forgets the heartbreaking horrors of the victims or the inspiring triumphs of its survivors.
Nurturing Future Filmmakers
Gurlitz serves on yet another Board of Trustees, one that looks hopefully into the future. KIDS FIRST! The Coalition for Quality Children’s Media educates, challenges, and expands the minds of kids who watch media. They learn to be critical viewers and consumers of media. Budding film critics visit the website to view a curated collection of children approved films and shows, all under the supervisory eye of KIDS FIRST. It’s a safe environment for kids to enjoy the art of the film. Who knows? Maybe future documentarians are taking videos on their phones right this very minute.
It may be years before we know what impact Gurlitz’s mission has had on future generations of filmmakers, but the current effect is apparent. Gurlitz has created a friendlier avenue in a harsh environment and a warmer embrace of documentarians within the film distribution industry as a whole. He says, “The transformation of our industry is well underway, and with transformation comes great opportunity.”
There will no doubt be more who dare to create and dream; document and share. Just imagine what things we’ll see! Gurlitz already does. Learn more about Daniel Gurlitz and Soundview Media Partners at soundviewmediapartners.com.