Rick Schmidlin is a film preservationist, silent film scholar and a producer-director whose work has focused on restorations, reconstructions and documentaries. Early on, Rick was the assistant lighting director at The Whiskey A Go Go on Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood. Later as a lighting director Rick toured the U.S. and Europe numerous times with several celebrated punk bands (X, The Cramps). In the early 1980′s, Rick produced music videos that were presented on MTV for X and The Doors.
Rick quickly developed a career in film full time and in 1986 he became assistant to the producer on David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986) and the location manager on the feature film Hoosiers (1986). After working on those films Rick produced the long form home video The Doors Live At The Hollywood Bowl (1987), which was voted #1 non-theatrical of 1987 by Video magazine. He also later produced four other major projects for The Doors and MCA Home Video including The Doors Collection a special edition Laserdisc/ DVD. He also produced the film The Doors: The Soft Parade—A Retrospective (1991). During 1987 Rick was personal assistant to Frank Zappa, helping him develop his video enterprise. From 1987-1992 Rick created Easyriders Video Magazine —the first subscription based video publication—and produced, directed and wrote 13 hour-long Harley Davidson videos. One project Rick is very proud of is that he produced and directed two documentaries on the breaking of the motorcycle land speed record (322 mph) at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, narrated by Peter Fonda.
In 1998 Rick produced the re-edit of Orson Welles Touch Of Evil (1958), which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and Toronto Film Festivals. He received special awards from The National Society of Film Critics, The New York Film Critics Circle, The Boston Society of Film Critics and The Los Angeles Film Critics Association for “scholarship and integrity.” In 1999 Rick produced the reconstruction of the Erich von Stroheim 1924 classic Greed for Turner Entertainment and Turner Classic Movies. The American premiere was held at the Telluride Film Festival and the European premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Special presentations were at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, Italy, The Berlin Film Festival and the Moscow International Film Festival. Rick received from The National Society of Film Critics their Film Heritage Award and from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association a special award for a “meticulous reconstruction.” He also re-edited the concert film Elvis: That’s the Way It Is (1970). Rick produced a Special Elvis Presley Theatrical Edition of Elvis, That’s The Way It Is for Turner Entertainment and Turner Classic Movies. This film was completely re-cut and remixed. Included in this new version are nine additional new musical performances and many personal moments of Elvis working with his band that have never been seen before. It premiered before 2,500 screaming fans in Memphis on August 12, at The Orpheum Theater as the main theme of “Elvis Week 2000.” Schmidlin produced the restoration in 2000 of The Dickson Experimental Sound Film (1894/95) which is the first known film with live-recorded sound and was selected for inclusion in the United States National Film Registry. Schmidlin has led a team of restorers in reconstructing (from stills and shooting continuity scripts) the famous lost horror film London After Midnight (1927) for TCM starring Lon Chaney and directed by Tod Browning. For this project he was given the RONDO Award for “restoration of the year 2002″ from the Classic Horror Film Board.
In recent years Schmidlin has taught archival classes at the University of British Columbia and curated exhibition’s on the life of Erich von Stroheim for The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Rick also lectures internationally about his work on his films.