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Robin O’Hara on the set of Gummo, 1997. Photo: Bruce Birmelin

Robin O’Hara (1954–2017)

Film producer Robin O’Hara, best known for producing independent films such as Tom Noonan’s What Happened Was . . ., 1994, died in Manhattan on March 14, at sixty-two years old, William Grimes of the New York Times reports.

Born in Baltimore in 1954, O’Hara first studied drama as a teenager at the North Carolina School of the Arts. She continued her acting career by enrolling at New York University’s School of the Arts. In the 1980s, she found work as a videographer for music videos before she began working as a video distributor. While completing an internship at the Kitchen, a nonprofit experimental performance space in Chelsea, O’Hara distributed works by artists Nam June Paik and Bill Viola. She also worked on the one-hour PBS special “Two Moon July” (1986), which showcased new modes of presenting the arts for television. Made in celebration of the Kitchen’s fifteenth-anniversary, the special featured artists Laurie Anderson, Michel Auder, Bruce Conner, Philip Glass, Arto Lindsay, and Cindy Sherman, among others. O’Hara also produced a series of dance and performance videos for PBS’s “Alive From Off Center,” which aired from 1985 to 1996.

After O’Hara’s collaboration with former Kitchen director of programming Scott Macaulay to produce What Happened Was . . ., which won the Grand Jury Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994, her career picked up steam. She and Macaulay established Forensic Films, producing works such as First Love, Last Rites (1997). Julien Donkey-Boy (1999). The Chateau (2001), and Off the Black (2006). Among the other films O’Hara produced are A Couch in New York (1996). The Good Heart (2009), and A Passion of Mind (2000). She most recently served as executive producer of Damian Harris’s film Wilde Wedding, which is currently in postproduction.

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