John Dorr; Studio Helped Young Filmmakers


John Dorr, founder of EZTV, a video gallery that doubles as a production and distribution headquarters where filmmakers can turn out feature-length videos for under $1,000 and who also wrote, produced or directed dozens of avant-garde, inexpensive pictures, is dead.

Mike Kaplan, a longtime colleague in Dorr’s video ventures, said the cameraman, editor or producer-director of more than 100 videos over the last 12 years was 49 when he died in a Los Angeles hospital on Friday of the complications of AIDS.

He was credited with nurturing many of Los Angeles’ young filmmakers, but Dorr also had a generous output of his own on topics ranging from “What Happened to Kerouac?” to “Dorothy and Alan at Norma Place,” a look at writer Dorothy Parker’s years in Hollywood and her troubled marriage.


From his two-story, cluttered loft in West Hollywood, Dorr directed a self-contained studio with room for filming, editing and exhibiting. Prospective filmmakers just needed enough money for videotape and groceries for their casts, he boasted.

Opened in June, 1983, EZTV was home for profiles, documentaries, video noirs and dark comedies.

His early offerings involved documentaries on poets Arthur Rimbaud and Allen Ginsberg. Recently, he was preparing a documentary on the making of Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts.”

Dorr was a graduate of Yale University and president of the film society there. He provided exhibits of the films of Howard Hawks, John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock at the New England campus before going to UCLA as a teaching assistant.

He hit upon the idea for EZTV when he found many young documentary makers were able to make inexpensive films because of video but had no place to show them.

In addition to producing pictures, Dorr critiqued them, writing for Film Comment, The Times and the Hollywood Reporter, among other publications.

Survivors include George LaFleur, his longtime companion; his stepmother, Nancy, and several brothers and sisters.