Ron Yerxa

Along with partner Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa produced a number of quality films in the independent spirit of the seventies that translated well not just with fans of indie cinema, but for people who just love good movies. Working together since the early nineties, Yerxa and Berger produced a remarkable body of work. Ronald Paul Yerxa was born on May 18, 1947, and attended UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University. Before becoming a producer, Yerxa was a teacher at a program called Upward Bound in L.A., which helped under-privileged kids get into college. He also taught at an alternative school, and worked as a journalist. Yerxa moved into the entertainment business working for CBS and Sovereign Films. He then became partners with Albert Berger and formed a partnership, Bona Fide Films, in 1991. Their first film together was "King of the Hill" (1993), directed by Steven Soderbergh. Yerxa and Berger first met Soderbergh at Sundance when the producing team was trying to get a movie version of the Tobias Wolff novel "This Boy's Life" off the ground. While that movie was later made by another director and producing team, when they read the novel "King of the Hill," they were eager to make it with Soderbergh, and the project got set up at Universal. After "King of the Hill" came the acclaimed documentary "Crumb" (1994), about underground comics artist Robert Crumb; Alexander Payne's comedy "Election" (1999); the adaptation of the best selling Civil War novel "Cold Mountain" (2003); Academy Award winner "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006); and another film with Payne, "Nebraska" (2014), which generated serious Oscar buzz for Bruce Dern. Yerxa and Berger were fond of adapting literary properties; "Election" was an adaptation of an unpublished book by novelist Tom Perrotta. They also had the passion to get "Cold Mountain" made after every major studio passed on it. Working on tight budgets and schedules, like the great filmmakers of the '70s, Yerxa and Berger were able to make smaller, more personal films with greater potential profit margins. They were also willing to go the long haul for projects they believe in. It took ten years to get "Nebraska" made, and they also took a big risk shooting the film in black and white. Other Yerxa credits include another film based on a novel by Perrotta, "Little Children" (2006); "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" (2002), a documentary about the band Wilco; the Steve Coogan comedy "Hamlet 2" (2008), a documentary on legendary drummer Levon Helm, "Ain't In It For My Health" (2010); and "Ruby Sparks" (2012), a romantic comedy starring Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan.