Friday, January 6, 2012

In Memoriam - Mark Nelson

Dances With Films and magicians everywhere have lost an unsung hero.

Mark Nelson passed away this week. He was a dedicated screener and legal advisor for Dances With Films and a jack of all trades for The Magic Castle.

When I think of Mark one phrase comes to mind, old-school, and I mean that in all the best connotations. There was nothing prefabricated about Marc. He took no short cuts. Anything he did, he did from head-to-toe.

He had a love of film and its history that ran deep. His respect for filmmakers showed in every submissions screening session. Most independent filmmakers have no idea who Mark Nelson was, but if they submitted to DWF, then they owe him a debt. He praised the good ones, and never EVER turn off the bad ones. When we say we watch all the movies all the way through, "we" was often Mark.

I've said in this blog before that other screeners disagreed with my opinion. I was usually talking about Mark. Our taste in old films was lock-stepped together. Our opinions of new ones often differed, but always with respect.

Politically we were as far apart as two people can be, but I enjoyed our debates. Unlike the current Congress, we could usually find some common ground, like the fact that the current Congress can't find any common ground.

I have no doubt that Mark's journey to the afterlife is exactly as Mr. Jordan described it. For Mark, that will mean a casting session in a grand old studio. Clarence, wings and all, will call his name. Claude Rains will him lead into the lush office with a whisper of confidence, "You're going to like this role."

The next bell you hear ring will be for Mark.  He's earned his wings.


Anonymous said...

That was beautiful. It really captured the wonderful and unique, Mr. Nelson.

Nancy Cauterucci said...

That was wonderful Leslee! Mark was a true gentleman. I was very fond of him and miss him very much.