Adam Leipzig

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Adam Leipzig is the CEO of Entertainment Media Partners, an American film and theatre producer, film executive and author. As a former Disney Executive, he supervised such films as Dead Poets Society (1989) and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989). He went on to produce such films as Titus (1999), The Way Back (2010) and A Plastic Ocean (2017). While president of National Geographic Films, he acquired the international rights to March of the Penguins and created the US version. He is the author of two books on filmmaking, both published by imprints of Macmillan, and the publisher of the online arts magazine Cultural Weekly.


Leipzig attended Yale University as an undergraduate and there received a B.A. in literature in 1979.[1] He also trained as Fellow in Arts and Public Policy at Coro Foundation.[2]

Theatre career[edit]

Leipzig joined the Los Angeles Actors’ Theatre in Hollywood in 1979 as a stage manager and eventually became the theatre’s dramaturge and one of its producers. In 1984 Leipzig was one of the members of Los Angeles theatre companies that successfully negotiated with the Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival for local theatre inclusion in the festival.[3] In 1985 the Los Angeles Actors’ Theatre changed its name to the Los Angeles Theatre Center and moved to a four-theatre performing arts complex in downtown Los Angeles.[4] Leipzig was involved in plays by Dario Fo,[5] Jon Robin Baitz, David Henry Hwang, Miguel Piñero, Joyce Carol Oates, Charles Marowitz, William Mastrosimone, Steve Carter, Michael Frayn, Marlene Meyer and Emmanuel Fried. Leipzig was one of the producers of Secret Honor, written by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone and directed by Robert Altman, which Altman also made into a movie.[6] Leipzig left his staff position at the Theatre Center in 1986, but continued to consult and do translations for the company.[7] Leipzig worked with Iranian theatre artist Reza Abdoh, and after Abdoh’s death in 1995 organized the archiving of his works.[8] In 1999, Leipzig was responsible for the Internet success of Bang, Bang, You’re Dead by William Mastrosimone.[9] More recently, he produced two plays by Donald Freed: American Iliad (2001)[10] and The Einstein Plan (2010).[11]

Film career[edit]

Leipzig joined Walt Disney Studios as a creative executive in 1987 and in 1991 was promoted to senior vice president of motion picture production.[12] Films he supervised included Dead Poets Society, Good Morning, Vietnam, The Doctor, Billy Bathgate, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, 3 Ninjas, The Program, Mad Love, Fire Birds and Paradise. He left to become a producer with PolyGram Entertainment’s Interscope Communications in 1993, where he produced films including The Associate, Roommates, Two Much and Dead Silence.[13] Leipzig started his own production company called Terra Bella Entertainment in 1999,[14] where he produced films including Titus and I Was a Teenage Faust.[15] In 2003 Leipzig became president of National Geographic Films,[16] where he supervised acquisition and distribution of films including March of The Penguins, The Story of the Weeping Camel, Amreeka, Kekexili: Mountain Patrol and God Grew Tired of Us; and he produced The Way Back , The Last Lions and Arctic Tale.[17] In October, 2008, National Geographic Films announced $100 million in financing with an equity investment from Abu Dhabi Media Company and a credit facility from JP Morgan.[18] Leipzig left National Geographic Films in March, 2010.[19]

In 2014 he founded Entertainment Media Partners, a company that provides advisory services about the media and entertainment industries, and also produces films, such as A Plastic Ocean.[20] From 2015-2016, Leipzig served as the Chief Operating Officer of CreativeFuture, a non-profit organization that advocates for creative communities, and is currently their Senior Creative Adviser. He also serves on the advisory board of the philanthropic social media platform and app, Pixhug.

March of the Penguins[edit]

In 2005, when he was at National Geographic, Leipzig was responsible for March of the Penguins getting North American distribution; the film was a major box office success, made $77 million domestically and over $133 million[21] worldwide to become the second-highest grossing documentary of all time[22] and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Leipzig became aware of the film when it was being shot in Antarctica and negotiated with the film’s U.S. distributor Warner Independent, to purchase the film at Sundance for $1 million and create a new English-language version with narration voiced by Morgan Freeman (written by Jordan Roberts) and a new musical score composed by Alex Wurman.[23] The film’s success marked a turning point for National Geographic.[24]

Teaching career[edit]

Leipzig is on faculty at the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business, where he teaches in the MBA and Executive Education programs,[25] and at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

Writing career[edit]

Leipzig is the author of two books on filmmaking. Inside Track for Independent Filmmakers: Get Your Movie Made, Get Your Movie Seen was published in 2013, with a second edition in 2015 (Macmillan). Filmmaking in Action: Your Guide to the Skills and Craft, a comprehensive textbook about all aspects of filmmaking, written with Barry S. Weiss and Michael Goldman, was published by Macmillan in 2016.[26]

Leipzig also writes for Cultural Weekly, a digital magazine for which he is publisher and managing editor. Leipzig frequently writes about trends in the entertainment business, including a popular annual Sundance infographic that quantifies information about independent filmmaking; it is published each January. Many other writers also write for Cultural Weekly, which, as of December, 2017, had published more than 3,400 articles by more than 300 writers and the work of more than 250 poets.

TEDx Talks[edit]

Leipzig has given two TEDx Talks. "The Real Culture Wars" was given at TEDx Fullerton in 2010.[27] His next talk, given in 2013, "How to Know Your Life Purpose in 5 Minutes," is one of the most popular TEDx Talks of all time, with more than 10 million views.[28]

“The Leipzig Hypothesis”[edit]

In a 2009 article in Screen International, Leipzig posited the hypothesis that the entertainment industry’s expansion and contraction follow “a wave pattern which peaks with uncanny regularity in the middle years of each decade, then bottoms out in the decade’s last years, only to rise again from the ‘0’ year driven by new innovation.”[29] According to this hypothesis, the entertainment industry will start to expand in late 2011 or early 2012, and will continue to expand until 2017 or 2018.

"Creative Theory of Value"[edit]

In a 2010 article in Cultural Weekly,[30] Leipzig proposed the Creativity of Value, an updated variation of Marx’s Labor Theory of Value.[31] According to this theory, the value of anything is the product of the Creativity involved in creating it multiplied by the Labor required to produce it. In mathematical terms, this is expressed as:

C * L = V

where C is Creativity, L is Labor and V is Value. Leipzig calls the result the Creativity Index. When the Creativity Index is the number 1 or more, creative efforts have a significant positive effect on the product’s value. But if the Creativity Index is less than 1, then creative efforts are a negative influence on the Labor; in other words, creative efforts devalue the labor involved in making the product. Leipzig has applied the Creativity Index to evaluate the dollar value of creativity in motion picture productions.

"The Eighth Studio"[edit]

In a 2014 article in Cultural Weekly, Leipzig declared that independent films are the "Eighth Studio," because their collective budgets amount to more than $3 billion per year, which is roughly the amount a major US movie studio spends on producing movies.[32]

Current projects[edit]

Leipzig is the Publisher and Managing Editor of Cultural Weekly, and produces media projects, including social impact documentaries; he has written that documentaries and non-profit organizations can join together to make “a perfect marriage.”[33] Leipzig continues to write books, teach at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, is a frequent speaker and moderator at film festivals and events, and also is a keynote speaker.


Leipzig has written for American Theatre, Written By, Screen International, and High Performance, and he was the founding editor of Theatre LA magazine.[34] In 2005 Leipzig wrote two articles[35][36] for the New York Times about how the movie business works for theatrical and home video releases. He is also writes frequently for Cultural Weekly magazine.


  1. ^ (Retrieved 2010-09-07)
  2. ^ "Adam Leipzig | Faculty Directory | Berkeley-Haas". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  3. ^ L.A. Times press for 1984 Olympic Arts Festival (Retrieved 2010-09-07).[1]
  4. ^ Christon, Lawrence. "Theatre Center Lists Opening of Roster Plays." L.A. Times 25 April 1985. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07). [2]
  5. ^ Christon, Lawrence. "Stage Review: Dario Fo Playlets Make A Trip To The Burbage." L.A. Times 4 March 1986. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07) [3]
  6. ^ Zuckoff, Mitchell. Robert Altman: An Oral Biography. Random House, Inc., 2009. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07).[4]
  7. ^ Drake, Sylvie. "L.a. Theatre Center Still Eclectic." L.A. Times 30 April 1987. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07).[5]
  8. ^ Stayton, Richard. "STAGE: Theater on the Edge: Teetering near financial ruin, LATC dares to stage one of its most costly, controversial shows, Reza Abdoh's outrageous 'Bogeyman'." L.A. Times 25 August 1991. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07).[6] Mufson, Daniel. Reza Abdoh. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999. Print. ISBN 0-8018-6124-1
  9. ^ (Retrieved 2010-09-08) Archived November 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Weinart, Laura. "American Iliad." Black Stage West 14 June 2001. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07). [7]
  11. ^ The Einstein Plan production team profile (Retrieved 2010-09-07) Archived July 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ (Retrieved 2010-09-07)
  13. ^ (Retrieved 2010-09-07)
  14. ^ Chetwyn, Josh. "Leipzig sets up prod'n company." The Hollywood Reporter 26 February 1998. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07). [8]
  15. ^ (Retrieved 2010-09-07)
  16. ^ Thompson, Anne. "National Geographic a natural for Hollywood." The Hollywood Reporter 29 April 2005. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07). [9]
  17. ^ (Retrieved 2010-09-07)
  18. ^ "Academy Award-Winning National Geographic and Imagenation Abu Dhabi Form Joint Venture to Finance Feature Films: Partnership to Commit $100 Million to Finance 10 to 15 Features over Next 5 Years." National Geographic 8 October 2008. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07). [10]
  19. ^ Finke, Nikki. "EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Battsek Becoming President Of National Geographic Films; Adam Leipzig Leaving To Produce." Deadline Hollywood 5 January 2010. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07). [11]
  20. ^ "A Plastic Ocean". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  21. ^ "La marche de l'empereur (2005) - Financial Information". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  22. ^ Blair, Elizabeth. "'March of the Penguins' a Box Office Surprise." NPR 31 October 2005. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07). [12]
  23. ^ Carvajal, Doreen. "Compared With Their Filmmakers, the Penguins Have It Easy." The New York Times 28 September 2005. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07).[13]
  24. ^ Kay, Jeremy. "North America - Natural selection." Screen Daily 12 January 2007. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07).[14]
  25. ^ "Adam Leipzig | Faculty Directory | Berkeley-Haas". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  26. ^ "Film Friday: Meet the Author - Adam Leipzig | The Macmillan Community". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  27. ^ TEDx Talks (2010-09-19), TEDxFullerton - Adam Leipzig - The Real Culture War, retrieved 2016-10-01
  28. ^ TEDx Talks (2013-02-01), How to know your life purpose in 5 minutes | Adam Leipzig | TEDxMalibu, retrieved 2017-07-06
  29. ^ Leipzig, Adam. "Patterns in History." Screen Daily 10 December 2009. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07).[15]
  30. ^
  31. ^ Labor theory of value
  32. ^ "Sundance InfoGraphic: Are Indies the 8th Studio? - Adam Leipzig". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  33. ^
  34. ^ (Retrieved 2010-09-07) Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  35. ^ Leipzig, Adam. "The Sundance Odds Get Even Longer." The New York Times 16 January 2005. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07). [16]
  36. ^ Leipzig, Adam. "How to Sell a Movie (or Fail) in Four Hours." The New York Times 13 November 2005. Web (Retrieved 2010-09-07).[17]

External links[edit]