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Chasing Cool

Chasing Cool

Sophy Holland

Damon Cardasis gets his hands dirty for projects he’s passionate about.


Photography by Sophy Holland.

For many outside the movie industry, it's difficult to understand what a producer does. Sometimes it means hobnobbing with billionaires; other times it's crawling through boxes in remote storage units.

"I was on a scavenger hunt in Fort Lee, N.J., to find this 8mm film," says Damon Cardasis, who's collaborating with director Rebecca Miller on a forthcoming documentary about her father, legendary playwright Arthur Miller. "No one else was going to do these things, so I rented a U-Haul and found about 200 hours of footage. Now we're piecing it together."

It's this sort of scrappy attitude that has benefited Cardasis since he started out as an assistant to producer Scott Rudin. Since then, he's stumbled into being the male face of Hermes for Spring/Summer 2007, created a critically lauded Web show (Vicky & Lysander), and recently celebrated the fifth year of the Lower East Side Film Festival -- which began in a storefront with 30 folding chairs. Perhaps most unusual in the ultra-competitive industry is that he's tried to help all those he's met along the way, even creating a gay-oriented networking listserv.

"I've been in that position of needing a favor," he explains. "I think a lot of people are self-involved, and they should be, but it always means a lot when people try to help one another."

That positive karma has paid off: This fall, another film he produced with Miller, the feature Maggie's Plan (starring Greta Gerwig, Julianne Moore, and Ethan Hawke), premieres at the Toronto Film Festival. "I think being an actor and being rejected every day helped," he says. "I expect the first answer -- and the third and the fourth -- to be no. But I just keep fighting for something I believe in until it happens."

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