Netflix to Complete Orson Welles' Final Film 'The Other Side of the Wind'

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Orson Welles

The streamer will continue the efforts of filmmaker Filip Jan Rymsza, who began the process of restoring and completing the decades-old film by raising $400,000 through an Indiegogo campaign.

The Other Side of the Wind, the incomplete final film from Orson Welles, will finally be seen by movie fans in a completed version, thanks to Netflix.

The streamer announced Tuesday that it has secured global rights and will finance the completion and restoration of the Citizen Kane director's final production, which has remained unfinished for several decades.

Producer Frank Marshall, who served as the production manager during the film's original shoot (which began in 1970 and continued sporadically through 1976), will oversee the restoration and completion. Peter Bogdanovich — who was a part of the original cast, along with John Huston, Oja Kodar, Lilli Palmer and Dennis Hopper — will serve as a consultant on the project, originally directed by Welles and co-written by Welles and Kodar.

Marshall and Bogdanovich will use handwritten notes from Welles and their own memory of the production to finish the postproduction process.

The Other Side of the Wind is considered to be Welles' semiautobiographical satire of Hollywood, and follows a legendary film director (played by Huston) who is attempting to stage a Hollywood comeback by appealing to a younger audience by making a stylish art film, which turns into a disaster. 

“Like so many others who grew up worshipping the craft and vision of Orson Welles, this is a dream come true,” said Netflix head Ted Sarandos in a statement. “The promise of being able to bring to the world this unfinished work of Welles with his true artistic intention intact, is a point of pride for me and for Netflix."

Commented Marshall: “I can’t quite believe it, but after 40 years of trying, I am so very grateful for the passion and perseverance from Netflix that has enabled us to, at long last, finally get into the cutting room to finish Orson’s last picture."

Netflix is working directly with filmmaker Filip Jan Rymsza, founder of Royal Road Entertainment, who began the process of restoring and completing Other Side of the Wind by raising $400,000 through an Indiegogo campaign begun in 2015 for a projected $1 million. Perks that were offered ranged from Orson Welles-emblazoned T-shirts to tickets to the premiere of the film in Los Angeles, New York and Paris. 

After several months without update from Rymsza and his team, backers took to social media and the comments section of the campaign to voice their displeasure and inquire about getting their money back.

After Netflix's announcement Tuesday, Rymsza posted an update on the page for the first time in 11 months, offering his "sincere apologies for the long silence," saying that once he entered into talks with Netflix he could not comment on the state of the project. He added that the perks will be distributed in the coming week, and that there will still be production of a limited-edition DVD/Blu-ray, saying that it was a "rare move" for Netflix to allow such a thing.

Marshall and Rymsza will be credited as producers, with Bogdanovich, Jens Koethner Kaul, Beatrice Welles, Carla Rosen-Vacher, Olga Kagan and Jon Anderson as executive producers. The film is a Royal Road Entertainment production and was originally produced by Welles and Les Films de L'Astrophore.

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