Founders

Alan Klingenstein, Chairman

al-picture-1-e1303857127624Alan Klingenstein has enjoyed an eclectic career, first as a business attorney, then an investment banker, and finally as an independent film producer and distributor.

After leaving college for two years – one to race and sell skis in Colorado and another to serve as a researcher and speech writer for U.S. Senator Charles H. Percy in Washington — Al graduated with a B.A. in History from Princeton in 1978 and then earned his law and MBA degrees simultaneously from Cornell in 1982.

Following his graduation, he worked in San Francisco as a corporate and securities lawyer, first with the firm of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, then as General Counsel & Head of Acquisitions at the global fast food franchisor, Shakey’s International. In 1989 he returned to New York where he worked for five years as an investment banker in the Real Estate Capital Markets Group at Bankers Trust Company (now Deutsche Bank) where he helped complete a number of high profile assignments, including the purchase of hundreds of millions of dollars of distressed commercial mortgages for the bank’s own account and a two-year posting to London to start the group’s new European office. While there, among other deals, he originated and helped execute the largest structured real estate financing ever completed in Europe at the time ($1.8 billion).

Looking for a change, Al left the financial world in 1994 and started Filbert Steps Productions where, with a friend and financial partner, he produced all of the company’s films and succeeded in selling them to world class entertainment outlets like Bravo, Lifetime, Lions Gate, Lorber Films and The Samuel Goldwyn Company. His films have won numerous awards including the Audience Award at the 2000 Sundance Film festival for “Two Family House”, Best Dramatic Feature at the 2005 Austin Film Festival for “Runaway” and a special 100th anniversary National Board of Review award in 2009 for “Trumbo” plus selections to top tier international festivals including Cannes, Toronto, Deauville, London, San Sebastian and Rio de Janeiro.

Before starting FilmRise with fellow principals Danny & Jack Fisher, Al developed Filmcatcher with another financial partner, a blog that commented randomly on all things film-related. Filmcatcher still hosts a YouTube channel where it posted the hundreds of on-camera interviews it shot with cutting edge filmmakers and actors, including Dennis Hopper, Charlie Kaufman, Paul Giamatti, Anthony Hopkins, Edie Falco, Colin Furth, Elliott Gould, Danny Glover, Marissa Tomei, Zooey Deschanel, Darren Aronofsky, Bruce Dern, John Sayles, Ben Kingsley, Paul Schrader, Jeff Goldblum and Mike Leigh.

Danny Fisher, CEO

Danny FisherDanny Fisher, a veteran film and television producer, financier and distributor, joined FilmRise as its CEO. The company is engaged in the acquisition, distribution and global licensing of proprietary content including motion pictures, television series and special interest programs.

Danny’s unique acquisitions strategies and leadership have led to meteoric growth for the company.

Danny founded his previous company, City Lights Media – a world recognized producer and distributor of film and television content. Danny also developed City Lights Post, which was one of the largest post-production facilities in the country, with 40 digital editing suites and 5 surround sound mix suites.

Under Danny’s leadership, City Lights Television sold perhaps more original television shows and series than any company in the world – 63 television shows sold to over two dozen networks in a period of just three years. Network clients include ABC, Disney, MTV, VH1, The History Channel, Lifetime, Nickelodeon, HGTV, Discovery, Oxygen, AMC, Fine Living, A&E, Travel Channel and many more. City Lights Television earned Emmy’s and other prestigious awards and created and produced highly popular shows such as “Chopped,” which is still one of Food Network’s top shows.

Danny established City Lights Pictures as an emerging mini-major distributor, with a label deal with Warner Music Group and relationships with major retailers such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Blockbuster, Best Buy, Walmart and Barnes & Noble. City Lights Pictures’ releases included “Kiss of the Spider Woman” for the first time on DVD, the Sundance Grand Jury prize winning documentary “Manda Bala,” the Alec Baldwin starrer “Brooklyn Rules” and the highly popular foreign language movie “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation,” which was one of the year’s top ten highest grossing theatrical releases in North America for foreign language movies.

Danny also led his company to become one of the industry leaders in the newly developed space of the internet, producing over 1,000 webisodes for clients such as Hearst, Lifetime, Kohler and Barnes & Noble (which won two Emmy’s for best commercial webisode series “Book Obsessed”). Danny’s emerging media division also won an Emmy for the VOD special on Johnny Cash called “Walking with Johnny.”

Danny’s motion picture credits, in which he served as executive producer and financier, include “The Ten,” starring Paul Rudd, Winona Ryder and Jessica Alba, “Descent,” starring Rosario Dawson, Lionsgate’s “Tamara” and John Waters’ “A Dirty Shame,” starring Johnny Knoxville. Danny’s current motion picture projects include the Nicholas Ray biopic “Interrupted,” to be directed by Philip Kaufman (“The Right Stuff,” “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and “Quills”) from a screenplay Danny wrote with Academy Award nominee Oren Moverman (“The Messenger”). Al Pacino is attached to star in the lead role of Nicholas Ray.

Jack Fisher, President

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Jack Fisher began his film career by directing the feature documentary “A Generation Apart,” a personal film that deals with the impact of the Holocaust on the families of survivors. The film premiered on PBS and has been broadcast to millions around the world.

In making “A Generation Apart,” Jack teamed up with his brother Danny who executive produced and edited the film, and they established City Lights Media, a company which grew to become one of the country’s mini major studios. Jack led the production division of City Lights, where he directed hundreds of commercial and corporate assignments for Fortune 500 companies such as Pfizer, AT&T, Met Life and Morgan Stanley. Commercial projects included a series of national spots starring (the real) Erin Brokovich.

Jack also spearheaded and oversaw the creation of one of the country’s largest state-of-the-art post-production facilities, with 40 digital editing suites and 5 surround sound mix/ record studios in NY and LA. City Lights Post provided editing and sound completion services for broadcasters such as MTV, HBO, Showtime, ABC, Sci Fi Channel and NBC, and numerous TV commercials, corporate films, motion pictures and television shows. Ultimately, the post division would primarily service the needs of the fast growing City Lights Television division.

Jack also directed the critically acclaimed theatrical motion picture “Torn Apart,” a love story about an Israeli soldier in love with a Palestinian woman. The National Board of Review praised “Torn Apart,” saying “Jack Fisher’s beautiful love story evokes deep emotion and classic romance in a perfect blend of the personal and political – outstanding performances.”

Jack continued his documentary career with the highly acclaimed “Unforgotten: 25 Years After Willowbrook,” a look at the scandal at the State School at Willowbrook originally unearthed by Geraldo Rivera. Jack also directed “Women Combat Pilots” for The History Channel, which became the first project commissioned by a television network. This launched City Lights Television, which grew to become one of the most prolific television production studios ever, with 63 TV shows and over a thousand digital programs sold to over two dozen networks in a span of three years – including the still-airing hit show “Chopped” on The Food Network.

Jack oversaw all production and post production for City Lights Television. He also served as executive producer and financier on many films, including John Waters’ “A Dirty Shame” starring Johnny Knoxville, “The Ten” starring Paul Rudd, Winona Ryder and Jessica Alba and Lionsgate’s “Tamara” and “Descent” starring Rosario Dawson.

Jack is currently writing an original TV drama series, tentatively titled “Manic,” about a man with severe bipolar disorder who produces extreme reality shows.