1944 - 1993
John Dorr, founder of EZTV, was a graduate of Yale who did his postgraduate studies in film at UCLA. He was a widely published film journalist and a noted scholar of D.W. Griffith. For years he was a reviewer for The Hollywood Reporter. With the advent of industrial video technology in the late 70s, Dorr saw a window opening on the future. Anticipating the desktop revolution, he foresaw a time when "films" could be made by independent artists without reliance on the studio system or heavy funding. He knew that these artists would need a public venue to exhibit and distribute their work. This he would call EZTV.
Dorr began by testing his own hypothesis. In 1978 he borrowed a black & white surveillance camera and made the wacky "Sudzall Does It All," the first known video feature. He followed this with "The Case of the Missing Consciousness," a tongue-in-cheek science fiction feature, this time in color. Between 1980 and 1982, working only on some weekends, Dorr produced his masterwork, the feature-length biography of the troubled relationship between writer Dorothy Parker and her bisexual husband Alan Campbell, "Dorothy and Alan at Norma Place."
In April, 1982, Dorr opened the first EZTV premises with a screening of "Dorothy and Alan." Both the work and the EZTV concept received rave reviews. EZTV was on its way. A cooperative of artists and equipment formed around Dorr. In the ensuing years literally thousands of tapes were produced, post-produced or exhibited out of EZTV, as well as countless live and multimedia performances. John Dorr and EZTV became a unique staple of the L. A. art scene.
As EZTV grew, Dorr's energies became increasingly involved with administration. He made only one more theatrical feature, the 1983 quasi-mystical "Approaching Omega," and one feature-length documentary, the internationally acclaimed "Luck, Trust & Ketchup," a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Robert Altman's "Short Cuts." He also co-directed the extensive "Lannan Literary Series." His earlier work was not forgotten, however. A screening copy of "Dorothy and Alan" was requested by Alan Rudolph before that director made his "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle."
John Dorr died of AIDS on January 1, 1993. The American Film Institute that year dedicated its video festival to his memory.