Mark Urman, Veteran Indie Film Executive, Dies at 66

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Mark Urman

Urman was a driving force at ThinkFilm from 2001-08 before founding the New York-based Paladin Films in 2009.

Veteran indie film executive Mark Urman died Saturday in a hospital in Newark, New Jersey, after a bout with cancer. He was 66.

On Monday, his wife, author Deborah Davis, wrote on Facebook that Urman died "after a ridiculously short illness … he told a dear friend that his life was rich because he had done everything he wanted to do." Survivors also include his children Oliver and Cleo.

Urman most recently founded New York-based distribution company Paladin Films in 2009.

Known for his loquacious style, Urman began his career in the film business as a publicist for United Artists in New York. He later did stints in the publicity department at Columbia Pictures before joining leading indie firm Dennis Davidson and Associates.

Urman departed DDA in the mid-1990s for a job at Cinepix Film Properties. When Cinepix was acquired by Lionsgate, he became co-president of Lionsgate Films Releasing, working on the distribution and awards campaigns for such films as Monster's Ball (2001), on which he was credited as one of the executive producers, and Gods and Monsters (1998).

In 2001, Urman co-founded ThinkFilm, a small but influential New York-based indie. As president of distribution, he helped the company rack up Academy Award nominations, with Born Into Brothels (2004) and Alex Gibney's Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) winning the Oscar for best documentary feature.

Urman also helped Half Nelson (2006) become an awards contender, with Ryan Gosling securing a Independent Spirit Award nomination for best male lead.

Thinkfilm created a stir with the 2005 documentary The Aristocrats, in which dozens of comedians told the same, famously dirty joke.

Paladin's previous releases include Taika Waititi's What We Do In the Shadows (2014) and Rob Reiner's Being Charlie (2015). Over the weekend, it released Rockaway in select theaters and on VOD.