No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos to Air Nationally on the PBS Series Independent Lens on Thursday, November 17th, 2009, at 10pm

A fascinating road trip through American cinema, told by the cinematographers who defined a generation of filmmaking

“When it comes to Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond, it's clear that the American New Wave of the late 1960s and early '70s wouldn't have flowered as it did without them." – Leonard Maltin

Fill 54 Created with Sketch. PDF Download

(San Francisco, CA)—NO SUBTITLES NECESSARY: Laszlo & Vilmos follows the lives of renowned cinematographers Laszlo Kovács and Vilmos Zsigmond from their escape of the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary to the present day. An Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival, James Chressanthis’s NO SUBTITLES NECESSARY will air nationally on the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009, at 10pm (check local listings.) 

As film students in Hungary, Laszlo and Vilmos took to the war-torn streets of Budapest to shoot footage of the Russian invasion, and subsequently volunteered to smuggle it out of the country. Barely escaping with their lives, the two friends fled to America and settled in Hollywood, eventually saving enough money to buy their own 16mm camera. 

After working on a string of low-budget horror and biker movies, both men soon rose to prominence in the late 60's and 70's, shooting the films that defined what came to be known as the American New Wave: Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Deliverance, Paper Moon, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and more. Working with directors such as Robert Altman, Bob Rafelson, Peter Bogdanovich and Martin Scorsese, they helped create a new American film aesthetic, and pioneered innovative, fearless ways to tell stories. 

Told through interviews with Laszlo (who died in 2007) and Vilmos, as well as directors such as Rafelson, Bogdanovich, John Boorman, Graeme Clifford, Richard Donner, William Richert, Mark Rydell, composer John Williams and actors such as Jon Voight, Peter Fonda, Sandra Bullock, Karen Black, Dennis Hopper and Sharon Stone, NO SUBTITLES NECESSARY is an intimate portrait of two giants of modern image making and a deep bond of brotherhood that transcended every imaginable boundary. Two heroes. One road. 

To learn more about the film and its subjects, visit the companion website for NO SUBTITLES NECESSARY at Get detailed information on the film, watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section where viewers can share their ideas and opinions. 

The Participants, in Alphabetical Order: 
Karen Black
Peter Bogdanovich
John Boorman
Sandra Bullock
Graeme Clifford
Allen Daviau, ASC
Richard Donner
Bob Fisher
Peter Fonda
Dennis Hopper
Audrey Kovács
Julianna Kovács
Nadia Kovács
Ellen Kuras, ASC
Leonard Maltin
Todd McCarthy
Rob McLachlan, ASC
Rachel Miner
Tatum O’Neal
Larry Parker
Steven Poster, ASC
Dan Pritzker
Bob Rafelson
William Richert
Susan Roether-Zsigmond
Owen Roizman, ASC
Mark Rydell
Crayton Smith
Peter Sorel
Ray Dennis Steckler
Sharon Stone
Vittorio Storaro, AIC, ASC
Jon Voight
Haskell Wexler
John Williams
Irwin Winkler 

About the Filmmakers 
James Chressanthis, ASC (Director/Producer) is a cinematographer who has earned nearly 40 credits since the early 1990s, with a diverse range of projects, including documentaries, independent features, television movies and episodic series. He shot the Emmy®-nominated Four Minutes and Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows and additional photography on the Oscar®-winning Chicago. He studied cinematography at American Film Institute, and began his career shooting nearly 100 breakthrough music videos with such artists as Bobby McFerrin, James Brown, Hammer, NWA and Dr. Dre. Since 2005, Chressanthis has been a director and cinematographer of the popular dramatic series Ghost Whisperer. He recently completed the Renée Zellweger-produced film Living Proof, starring Harry Connick Jr. NO SUBTITLES NECESSARY is his feature film directing debut. 

Kian Soleimanpour (Producer) is a producer, media attorney and principal and founding member of NC Motion Pictures, LLC. NO SUBTITLES NECESSARY is Soleimanpour’s debut as a feature filmmaker and producer. He has also been practicing law for over eight years and is currently legal counsel at Qualcomm’s mobile TV division, FLO TV. 

Zachary Kranzler (Producer) has honed his creative and technical skills as a technical media consultant, as well as his skills as a filmmaker, both in front of and behind, the camera, over the course of his 12-year professional career. As a consultant, his clients included Apple Computer, Inc., The Hallmark Channel and Reality Check Studios. With his move behind the camera, Kranzler has written, produced and/or directed several commercials and music videos. His first foray into the feature world is NO SUBTITLES NECESSARY. 

Other key members of the production team and crew include producer Tony Frere, executive producers Jimmy Conroy and Dr. David Kaminsky, co-executive producer of art Monterastelli, editor and co-producer Elisa Bonora and cinematographer Anka Malatynska. A

About Laszlo Kovács, ASC 
Laszlo Kovács’ breakthrough came with the Academy Award®-nominated 1969 film Easy Rider, starring and directed by Dennis Hopper. In 1970, he again worked with Hopper on the film The Last Movie. That same year, Kovács filmed the Academy Award®-nominated film Five Easy Pieces. Kovács served as cinematographer on more than 70 motion pictures. Among these were six films for Peter Bogdanovich (Targets, What's Up, Doc?, Paper Moon, At Long Last Love, Nickelodeon, Mask and For Pete's Sake), as well as Shampoo, New York, New York, Ghostbusters, Say Anything, Radio Flyer, My Best Friend's Wedding and Miss Congeniality. He also did additional photography on Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Last Waltz

About Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC 
Vilmos Zsigmond gained prominence during the 1970s working on Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller and The Long Goodbye and Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the latter of which won him the Academy Award® for Best Cinematography. Zsigmond has worked with Brian De Palma on Obsession, Blow Out, The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Black Dahlia; he also worked with Michael Cimino on The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate, with Richard Donner on Maverick and Assassins and with Woody Allen on Melinda and Melinda Cassandra's Dream and the Untitled Woody Allen 2009 Film Project

About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award–winning weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about unique individuals, communities and moments in history. Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is supported by interactive companion websites and national publicity and community engagement campaigns. Further information about the series is available at Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. The series producer is Lois Vossen. 

Visit the companion website


Voleine Amilcar, ITVS, 415-356-8383 x 244, 

Mary Lugo, 770-623-8190, 

Cara White, 843-881-1480, 

Posted on October 2, 2009