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.

You can see John's imdb profile here. Bill Cunningham reflects here. And you can read responses from the Polonia Brothers' Fan Club here.


Anonymous said...

Johns love for moviemaking will stay in my memory forever. His presence and light hearted nature on set instilled an excitement to all those working. I will mss his humor and his visions. My deepest sympathy to Mark and his family.


filmmakertoddmichaelsmith said...

I am so very saddened by the death of our legendary friend and b-movie maker John Polonia. John wrote and directed over thirty films with his brother Mark. I had the honor of working with them on many of those projects. John was the person who got me into filmmaking. He was sweet, funny and one of the most loving caring people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. John was a brother and a great filmmaker. I have cried all day and will feel this loss for my whole life. We love you John and we will miss you. - Filmmaker Todd Michael Smith

Anonymous said...

There is nothing to say besides I lost a friend, and the world lost a great person all to soon. I oofer up prayers for his friends and family.


DMD said...

This came as quite a shock when I received the email from Mark. I worked with John during Wilcat. He was so accomidating and aware of his actors that you couldn't help but love to work with him. You also develop a friendship. He made that movie shoot such a wonderful experience for me that I will never forget it. Especially him and his ard work.