Saul Zaentz Company evolved from Fantasy
Records in Berkeley, California, the largest jazz label in
the world. In 1972 Saul Zaentz and his Fantasy partners ventured
into feature film, producing “Payday” starring Rip
Torn. This was followed in 1975 with “One Flew Over the
Cuckoo’s Nest,” directed by Milos Forman and co-produced
with Michael Douglas, which won five Academy Awards including
Best Picture. Zaentz produced “Three Warriors” in
1977 and the animated “The Lord of the Rings” in
In 1984 “Amadeus,” Zaentz’s second collaboration
with Forman, won eight Oscars including Best Picture, Best
Director, Best Actor and Best Sound. In 1986 Zaentz acted as
executive producer on “The Mosquito Coast,” directed
by Peter Weir.
In 1988 the Saul Zaentz Company produced “The Unbearable
Lightness of Being.” Based on the novel by Milan Kundera,
directed by Philip Kaufman and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette
Binoche and Lena Olin, the film was warmly received by the critics
and honored with three Academy Award nominations. “At Play
in the Fields of the Lord,” directed by Hector Babenco,
followed in 1991.
In 1996 Zaentz’s “The English Patient,” directed
by Anthony Minghella, swept nine Academy Awards including Best
Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Sound.
The success of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” encouraged
Fantasy to add a new building to the existing record company
facility in Berkeley. Opened in 1980, the Fantasy Building housed
a fully-equipped dubbing stage and picture and sound editing
suites. A second film mixing stage was added in 1989, along with
additional editing rooms and many facility updates.
For more than twenty years, studio and independent filmmakers
from around the world used the Saul Zaentz Company facilities
to finish their productions. Films posted at the Fantasy Building
have earned 26 Academy Awards, including three for Best Picture
and three for Best Sound. Fantasy Records was acquired by Concord
Music Group in 2004.