Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
April 01
Barry Sonnenfeld April 1, 1953
Barry Sonnenfeld born

While Barry Sonnenfeld grew up in New York City tangentially connected to the movie world––his father was a rep for a stage and movie lightning company––he didn’t love movies. He found them unrealistic and, even worse, required a date to go to them. His mother, an art teacher at his school, had, like any good Jewish mother, a strong hold over her son. (At his first rock concert, she got them to announce over the PA, "Barry Sonnenfeld, call your mother.”) When he was a child, he joked, “I was more interested in the French horn, an instrument chosen by my mother, who wanted to make sure I’d make the band if I ever had to go into the army.” After getting his masters from Amherst College, Sonnenfeld came back to New York to get an MFA from New York University, hopefully in photography. He found that he could pick up extra money shooting other people’s films, especially pornographic ones. He later joked that, if Boogie Nights had not been made, he’d wanted to make a film about his own experience shooting 9 porn features in 9 days. After graduation, Sonnenfeld met the Coen brothers, who hired him for $100 for a four-day shoot to make a promo (a short film illustrating crucial scenes) for the movie they were hoping to make, which was called Blood Simple. Intrigued by the film (and the filmmakers), Sonnenfeld struck a deal with the brothers that he’d help raise money, if they let him shoot the final film. And the rest is history. Sonnenfeld shot two more Coen brothers films––Raising Arizona and Miller’s Crossing––before embarking on a directing career of his own with the blockbuster comedy The Addams Family


More Flashbacks
April 1, 1949
Ma and Pa Kettle Opens

A backwards country couple win over America.

Read more »