Tuesday, February 26, 2008
John Polonia: In Memory
Friend and prolific b-movie filmmaker John Polonia passsed away suddenly yesterday of a heart aneurysm. He was 39 and leaves a wife and young son.
John was an incredibly funny person who enjoyed home and family life and could talk movies with a great fervor. He turned this love of movies into a memorable filmmaking career.
John was a good friend to me and a lot of other filmmakers. He was a great lover of cinema and had a vast collection of movies stored on the shelves of his home and in his brain. He had a dream to make movies and lived that dream every single day since his teenage years. I spoke with him a few weeks ago about a new project I would rewrite over one of his scripts and he was as excited about these upcoming prospects as he was about every project.
I think we are too close to the Polonia Brothers' legacy for it to be properly measured. They first got distribution as teenagers and are noted for having one of the first shot on SVHS features to be accepted at Blockbuster. They produced and directed more than 30 features in 20-some years that were distributed direct to video. They were incredibly prolific and successful together and embraced a large fan base while being courteous to foes. Their role in the rise of VHS rentals, the mom and pop stores, the SOV era, and then the direct-to-video DVD boom, will have to be noted much farther down the timeline to see what they have really meant as people and professionals.
I can say in total honesty I have never met anyone like John. When I first saw "Blood Red Planet" I knew the Brothers were special as very unique filmmakers and I later came to learn they were incredible individuals as well.