Curt Johnson

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Curt Johnson (June 15, 1968- ), an independent documentary maker, was one of the producers and musical supervisors of the 2004 film Michael Moore Hates America. Although he has been involved with two films that won Academy Awards, Johnson did not receive any individual awards for the films.

In January 2006, Johnson working through his film company Indie Genius on an untitled documentary about the animal rights movement, interviewed Ann Berlin of the Animal Liberation Front website for information on that organization. [1]

On August 31, 2005, Claude Brodesser reported in Variety magazine that "documentarian Curt Johnson's Gotham- and Dallas-based production shingle Indie Genius has secured a $30 million financing commitment that will allow it to produce, co-finance and acquire finished projects. The deal was brokered by Georgia-based attorney William Slater Vincent, who'll oversee continued financing for Indie Genius, and by financial adviser Howard Jarrot, who arranged the financing through Wells Fargo Bank and an unidentified private equity investor. [2]

Film Awards

  • Thoth: 74th Academy Award Winners: Winner of Documentary Short Subject. Accepting the award were Sarah Kernochan and Lynn Appelle. In her acceptance speech, Kernochan gave additional thanks to crew members, including Curt Johnson, who was co-producer on the project.

Tommy Morrison "Boxing Project", Etc.

"In addition to life rights," David Rooney reported March 9, 2004, for Variety, "Dallas- and New York-based writer-producer" Curt Johnson "secured rights to two ESPN magazine articles by Tom Friend about Morrison in 1998 and 2003. ...

"Johnson will pen the screenplay and will produce through his Indie Genius Prods. banner with Gigi Gaston. Several prominent figures from the sports world are expected to be cast in the drama.

"As well as the feature, Johnson will produce a behind-the-scenes, making-of documentary and is shepherding an autobiography by Morrison, which will coincide with the former champ's return to boxing commentary.

"'We've got one huge package coming together,' Johnson told Daily Variety. 'This is an incredible story, like 'Raging Bull' meets 'Rocky,' and with all the various elements, this is similar to what we're doing on 'West Memphis Three'.'

"That project, scheduled to shoot in late spring will be the first feature producing credit for Johnson, who produced 2002 documentary short subject Oscar winner 'Thoth'. Johnson also scripted the fact-based murder story, which stars Michael Pitt, Jacob Reynolds, Gina Gershon, Drea de Matteo, Michael Madsen and Doug Hutchinson.

"With Mike Julian, Johnson also is producing the baseball biopic 'Walk On,' with an ensemble cast that includes Jessica Simpson, Keith Carradine, Sophie B. Hawkins, Donal Logue and boxing star Joe Mesi."

Art for America

The Art for America (AFA) Benefit, a "virtual exhibition," was "a project designed to solicit art to be shown and sold for the benefit of the survivors of the 9/11 Attack on America." [3]

Art for America "was born when [Curt] Johnson, president of the Manhattan-based public relations and marketing firm New World Inc., suggested asking artists around the country to participate," Nancy Ruhling wrote in the December 2001 Art & Antiques.

Art for America, Ruhling wrote, was "a national fundraiser to benefit injured rescue workers and the families of those killed in the World Trade Center tragedy."

The New York Post reported September 23, 2001, that "Artists, auction houses, show promoters, galleries, dealers and museums throughout the country are being asked to become part of Art for America, a national day of fund-raising this fall. Art for America will culminate in a joint live auction in November. Proceeds of the event will benefit the Twin Towers Fund, the charity set up by Mayor Giuliani for the families of uniformed heroes missing in the blast. The fund already has received pledges of $72 million."

Contact Information for Curt Johnson

Phone: (214) 315-9321

SourceWatch Resources

External links




  • "Mariah's Beau, Aaron Mathias, Goes Hollywood," Mariah (Carey) Dailey, March 5, 2002: "One night, while he worked at Tonic, a stranger approached and told Mathias he had what it took to make it in film. 'I'm thinking, Yeah, right,' he said. Two months later, the stranger, who turned out to be Curt Johnson of New World, Inc., a manager who handles actors and is also a producer (he's up for an Oscar with Thoth), started lining up auditions for Matthias."


  • "Big Chance," Page Six / New York Post, January 15, 2003: "MADONNA'S sperminator, Carlos Leon, is up for a major movie role that could help him prepare for daughter Lourdes' coming of age. Leon is up for the lead in Breanna’s Sunrise, Indigenous Filmworks' flick about a single father whose 13-year-old daughter hits puberty, throwing him for a loop. Leon faces stiff competition from the likes of Billy Zane, Brendan Fraser and Billy Crudup, but writer/producer Curt Johnson is a big fan of Leon’s."
  • Michael Musto, "La Dolce Musto: How They'll Punish Michael Moore, and More," Village Voice, March 24, 2003: "But let's surrender to a more buoyant tale of Euro-American relations, one that might even take us away from war worries for a gay gossip second. I hear frisky Rupert Everett has found a boyfriend—Curt Johnson, who co-produced last year's Oscar-winning documentary short, Thoth, and who's a good friend of Carlos Leon (the ex of Rupert's pal Madonna. You know, the singer—have you forgotten?). If there's any decency left on earth, Rupie will live up to the title of his greatest triumph, An Ideal Husband."
  • Unregistered Guest, Re James Marsters, Restless: The Hellmouth (message board cache file), March 26, 2003: "I was just reading that James has officially announced that he is pursuing a role in the movie West Memphis Three that Curt Johnson who won an Oscar last year is producing and writing. ... James is friends with Rupert Everett who is dating Johnson and has done so much research on this true life murder case that he has said he wants to be in it."
  • Mjm, "Rupert Everett Message Board," The Movie Times, March 27, 2003.
  • Karen Croft, "The Fix," Salon Directory, March 28, 2003: "Rumors abound that Madonna introduced Rupert Everett to his new boyfriend -- docu producer Curt Johnson ("Thoth"). We don't care what team he plays on, Rupert would make anyone an An Ideal Husband."
  • Elston Gunn, "Weekly Recap,", June 4, 2003: West Memphis Three "is shooting entirely in Arkansas, though Johnson is putting this entire film together in Texas. Additionally, Johnson is also adding his name to an Off-Broadway show that will be about the WM3 case that's being put together by Alan Cummings' production company."
  • Nikki Tranter, "Describing a Magic Trick. Interview with Mara Leveritt (author of Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, Atria Books, October 2002), PopMatters, June 10, 2003: "The case of The West Memphis Three is soon to become a major motion picture produced by writer Curt Johnson. Gus Van Sant is rumored to be directing."
  • "Nick Stahl in Steyermark's West Memphis Three," Coming Soon (Hollywood Reporter), September 18, 2003: "The movie was written by Curt Johnson, who also is producing with Steyermark; Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky are executive producing. Production begins on the privately financed film in November in Dallas."


  • "My show will go on, says Moore," Guardian (UK), October 18, 2004: "Veteran documentary maker Albert Maysles, who shot the 1970 Rolling Stones film Gimme Shelter, says he withdrew permission from Michael Wilson to use footage of his comments about Michael Moore's technique when he realised Wilson's film was a personal attack on Moore. Wilson says Maysles gave a 'verbal release' to use the interview."
  • Interview with Albert Maysles: "The legendary Albert Maysles on KIN, Keith, and Kael," Film Freak, February 13, 2005. Scroll down to "You've taken out a lawsuit against the makers of an anti-Michael Moore film over how you were represented therein. Can you comment?"
  • Elston Gunn, "Weekly Recap," (cache file), November 9, 2004: "Curt Johnson is producing/directing The Minneapolis Sound with Levi Seaucer, Jr. (who produced Prince and Sounds of Blackness) and Bob Ashmun through his company Indie Genius Productions. The project is in the vein of Standing in the Shadows of Motown but for Minneapolis and will include people like Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum), Bob Mould (Husker Du), Gear Daddies, Terry Lewis & Jimmy Jam, Prince, Morris Day, Sheila E., Billy Corgen (Smashing Pumpkins) Janet Jackson, Madonna, among others whose music came out of the city or was heavily influenced by it. Shooting for the documentary begins later this month. Johnson will also be teaming up with R.J. Cutler (The War Room, 'American Candidate') for the documentary series Boys On the Road which follows Jerry Koenig, owner of Portfolio Studios, the largest production company in the Midwest and his stable of male strippers around the country."
  • News Archive, Beautifully Scarred, December 12, 2004: "It looks like West Memphis Three fliming is back on. In an online interview done September 30th, 2004 with producer Curt Johnson, he had this to say: ... We'll be shooting WEST MEMPHIS THREE in March 2005 and I've just started working a project that's in the vein of STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN for Minneapolis. I'm excited to get to work with people like Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum and other great names in music from the area. Levi Seucer, Jr. who used to write and produce for Prince is producing with myself and Bob Ashmun on this. They'll both be released in theaters next fall as we're getting distribution locked up now."


  • "2005: A Year in Review": Online Diary of David-Matthew Barnes. January 2005: "Around this time, film producer Curt Johnson entered our lives. He was introduced to me by fellow writer and editor Elizabeth Newman. Curt expressed interest in producing my original screenplay Rock It Girl. As Curt is an Academy Award winning producer, this news thrilled my new attorney (and former professor) William Vincent." May 2005: "At this point, I had completed six rewrites on the Rock It Girl screenplay (in a month), but in the end Curt became a second writer and made significant changes to the script (including a title change that I didn't find out about until months later). We were still happy that the project was moving forward, but we were hoping to have a much bigger voice in the production of the film. We were assured that all of our work was now in good hands." October 2005: "I read in an industry magazine that my attorney helped close a $30M multi--project deal for Curt Johnson, the producer of Rock It Girl. ... In addition, I read in the magazine that the title of the film is now Whatever It Takes. I contact both the attorney and the producer. I receive a brief response explaining that I will most likely be paid for the script in November. There's been no mention of this or the project since."
  • Glenda Vosburgh, "DBJ Confidential," Dallas Business Journal, June 24, 2005: "Dallas film producer David Burrows, owner of Barking Harley Productions, is warning others in his industry to be careful out there. The local film production business, he says, 'is booming once again, and has many opportunities for people to be taken advantage of. It almost reminds me of the real estate craze in the '80s -- lots of opportunities and excitement, but fraught with risks.' Burrows himself is taking legal steps to recoup money -- about $28,000 -- he says is owed him by Academy Award-winning documentary producer Curt Johnson. Johnson was working with Burrows on a project in 2003, the Dallas producer says, but left town owing him money. Another producer shared a similar story with Burrows about his dealings with Johnson. Recently, Johnson's name popped up in the Page Six column in the New York Post. Seems he's now working on another movie project called Rock It Girl. Burrows says he believes Johnson is out looking for more money and people to work with. We tried to reach Johnson through his agent in New York, but our call wasn't returned by press time."
  • David Burrows, "West Memphis 3 Film Legal Action,", March 4, 2005: "I am the co-producer for this film and have not been informed on its status, updated on its progress nor the business structure in any way since fall 2004. I have spoken to other cast members that have not received any correspondence as well even though Curt Johnson claims the project begins shooting March 2005. I have now been removed from the IMBD site as the co-producer. ... Since I have made a substantial investment in this project (via my time, research, cash and other resources IE: providing the writer of this project room/board/cash over a 15 month period), I am officially making notice here and on various other WM3 related sites that I am actively and aggressively seeking compensation and acknowledgement for my role in the West Memphis Three film project. This is a film which needs to be made."
  • "Non-Partisan America Speaks Out Debuts Mid-October. Film Maker Spotlights Stars, Senators And The Strange To Get Out The Vote," The Front Burner (Dallas/Fort Worth), September 16, 2004: "The 'buzz' is already out there about feature film West Memphis Three which David is co-producing with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Curt Johnson."
  • Claude Brodesser, "Indie Genius Swims in $30 Million Fountain," Variety magazine, August 31, 2005.
  • "The last line says it all...," American Lung Association of Minnesota, September 1, 2005.
  • "Digging up the roots of Devil's Weed," American Lung Association of Minnesota, September 2, 2005.
  • Mark Giga, "Taxpayers League Live! with David Strom," Taxpayers League of Minnesota, September 30, 2005.
  • Mark Giga, "Smoking bans bring Hollywood to Minnesota," Taxpayers League of Minnesota, October 14, 2005.
  • "Diary Of A Disaster" Page 3, The Smokers Club (The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter), (scroll down to October 15, 2005): "Filming started last week for the documentary Devil's Weed. Curt Johnson (producer of Michael Moore Hates America) and director Maura Flynn will show the effects of the Minneapolis smoking ban. The Onion, a weekly newspaper is running some advertising for us as well, we are working on the other papers as well."
  • "No Need for 'Devils Weed'," American Lung Association of Minnesota, October 20, 2005: "The American Lung Association of Minnesota (ALAMN) has been contacted to offer its views on the clean air ordinances that have been recently adopted in a number of Minnesota cities and counties. The offer came from independent film producer Curt Johnson, who is in Minneapolis to film a documentary under the working title Devil’s Weed, which its makers describe as '...a journey into the black heart of America's New Prohibition.'"
  • "Right Wing Fave Smokes Out Hypocrisy in Minneapolis. Hollywood Crew Catches Drift for New Documentary, Devil’s Weed," Acme Comedy Company, November 2005: "Tim caught the eye of documentary producers Curt Johnson and Maura Flynn (Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, Thoth, Michael Moore Hates America). They’ll be taping him for their latest venture, Devil’s Weed at Acme on November 3. Devil’s Weed is taking a witty and thought-provoking stab at America’s new prohibition: smoking bans. ... Though a Libertarian at heart, Tim is a perennial star at Republican political events like David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend (the right’s version of the infamous Democrat’s Renaissance Weekend). Bill Kristol, Matt Drudge, Trent Lott and Lindsay Graham have all caught his act. An equal opportunity incendiary, Tim performed at the National Atheists Convention in 2003. He’s also a particular favorite on MTV, Showtime, right wing talk radio, comedy clubs, gun rallies and biker bars nation-wide."
  • Craig Westover, Editorial: "Documentary to tell smoking ban tale," Twin / St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 2, 2005. The film Devil's Weed "(fall 2006 release) will chronicle the smoking ban fallout in the Twin Cities and examine the ban trend across the country — 'America's New Prohibition'."
  • Craig Westover, "A few thoughts on the Hennepin County Commissioner's Meeting,", November 16, 2005: "The crew filming 'Devil’s Weed' was also present at the hearing, taking advantage of open meeting rules to try and get smoking ban proponents on camera to make their cases for a smoking ban. Health organization officials, MPAAT representatives, and pro-ban legislators have been reluctant to take part in the documentary. ... It should be noted that despite the lack of local participation of ban supporters in the “Devil’s Weed” project, producer Curt Johnson notes the crew has interviews set up with epidemiologists, cardiologists and medical professionals around the country to provide the public health point of view. Among the criteria in choosing these professionals was that none have any connection to tobacco companies."
  • Drew Carter, Devil's Weed Film Update: "Poor Phil's (Dennis) Murphy to be in smoking ban documentary. 'Devil’s Weed' contends that bans cut into civil liberties," The Smokers Club, November 22, 2005: "Editing of the film will begin in January, and it’s expected to premiere at the Toronto Film Fest in September 2006. ... Although Johnson claimed the film won’t take a hard line against smoking bans, Flynn did ask some leading questions, such as, 'Who are the creeps who want this ban?' and 'Is there something elitist about these bans?'"



If you’re a movie fan, perhaps you’ve heard of Curt Johnson. The former Dallas resident was credited with an Academy Award in 2002 for his documentary short Thoth. He’s written episodes of television shows such as The X-Files. He’s producing a film, West Memphis Three, a $30 million project set to star Orlando Bloom, Gina Gershon, John Waters, and, possibly, Madonna. Johnson’s work has been touted in Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, and the Dallas Morning News. And the Village Voice romantically linked him to actor Rupert Everett.

But if you’ve met him, you probably know the real story: Curt Johnson’s impressive résumé­—the TV shows, the Academy Award, the famous lovers— is all lies.