PAUL ZAENTZ ACQUIRES RENOWNED FILM LIBRARY
The Saul Zaentz Company’s film library has been sold at auction to Teatro della Pace Films, founded and owned by Paul Zaentz, Beta Pi ’69, where Paul is CEO.
This film library features three films that captured Best Picture Academy Awards (Oscars): One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Amadeus (1984), and The English Patient (1996). It also includes other fine cinema such as The Mosquito Coast (1986), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1991), Fritz the Cat (1972), Three Warriors (1977), Payday (1973), Goya’s Ghosts (2006), Wattstax (1972), and Heavy Traffic (1973).
After graduating from Penn’s Wharton School, Paul, a New Jersey native, moved to California and started working at Fantasy Records, home to Creedence Clearwater Revival, that was owned by Saul Zaentz and partners. He eventually shifted to making films at The Saul Zaentz Company, where Paul was one of the founders and a minority stockholder.
Using the financial skills he acquired at Wharton and as Treasurer for Beta Pi, he was Production Controller on director Milos Forman’s Amadeus, Financial Controller on director Peter Weir’s The Mosquito Coast (including a stint as stand-in for Harrison Ford), Associate Producer on director Philip Kaufman’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, director Hector Babenco’s At Play in the Fields of the Lord, and director Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient, and Executive Producer on Milos Forman’s Goya’s Ghosts. Paul is particularly proud of being the producer of The Talented Mr. Ripley, although this film was not owned or filmed by The Saul Zaentz Company.
Among his duties as a Producer, Paul was responsible for securing financing and distribution for the films, as well as finding shooting locations, hiring the crew, overseeing construction of the sets, filming, and postproduction. Once on site, he had to obtain permits from local authorities to film on site and determine where to place the “gratuities” as part of the budget that were paid to these authorities. These tasks were not easy, particularly when the filming is being done in a foreign location such as the Amazon or Communist countries.
He travelled extensively as almost all filming for The Saul Zaentz Company was done in foreign locations. During his 40 years of making films, Paul only filmed in the USA for three weeks. Being the first to arrive at the films’ locations, and usually the last to depart after filming was completed, the least amount of time Paul spent at a foreign location was nine months. The most time he spent at a location was the 19 months he had to endure the Amazon Rain Forest. Paul has often said that working in the jungles of Central America was like being in Central Park in New York City when compared to working in the Amazon.
Paul is a strong supporter of the Beta Pi Alumni Association. At Penn, he was treasurer and lived in what was then the brand-new Chapter House, at 3916 Spruce Street, for three years. These days, he can be found attending Beta Pi’s Founders Day celebrations. After the dinner, he is at the Chapter House to play in the annual pinochle game that is now over 50 years old and still going strong.
Congratulations to Paul for keeping these films “in family” and best wishes for future success.