Albert Berger

As a producer, Albert Berger was able to straddle the worlds of independent and major studios, making great films that recalled the glory days of the character-driven movies of the 1970s. In a period when Hollywood seemed focused on blockbusters, Berger and his partner Ron Yerxa kept hope for quality cinema alive, making films with Steven Soderbergh, Alexander Payne, husband and wife filmmaking team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, and many other directors with strong independent spirits. When Berger attended Tufts University, film was his minor, but it was clearly a major passion. He started the Tufts Film Series and the Tufts Alternative Film series, and also wrote film reviews for the school paper. Another passion of Berger's was reading; many of the films he produced were based on novels. After Berger graduated from Tufts in 1979, he owned and managed Sandburg Theater in Chicago. Berger also attended Columbia Film School, then moved out to Los Angeles and wrote a number of screenplays for the major studios. Eventually Berger became the Vice President of producer Marvin Worth's production company, which was set up at Paramount. It was when Berger moved to L.A. that he met Ron Yerxa, who became his producing partner. Together, they formed Bona Fide Productions in 1993; the first movie they produced together was "King of the Hill" (1993), a 1930s period piece by Steven Soderbergh, who had helmed the groundbreaking independent film "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" (1989). Berger then followed up with "Crumb" (1994), the acclaimed documentary about underground comic artist Robert Crumb; Alexander Payne's satirical "Election" (1999); the big screen adaptation of the best-selling Civil War novel "Cold Mountain" (2003); and "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006), a comedy by Dayton and Faris, which won Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin. Reteaming with Payne, Berger and Yerxa produced "Nebraska" (2013), a black and white comedy-drama that generated considerable Oscar buzz for Bruce Dern.