History of Elixir Entertainment and its sister corporation Kuri Productions

  In 1976 Kuri Productions, Inc. was formed in California, by John Kuri. Co-founder Emile Kuri, John's father and two time Oscar® winning designer, joined the board of directors. The company produced a musical variety documentary motion picture for television, Vegas! Vegas! Vegas! that John Kuri directed. The film features major artists including Juliet Prowse, Robert Goulet, and Wayne Newton and captured the last days of Las Vegas before its present day rebirth. Sponsored by Hughes Airwest Airline the show was successfully syndicated in more that 80% of the domestic U.S. television market as well as many foreign television markets.

  In the immediate years that followed the company commenced development of a number of motion picture projects for both the feature market and television. As well, John Kuri produced several films, including the award winning GE Theater for NBC movie Skyward, directed by Ron Howard and starring legendary Bette Davis.

 In 1985 Kuri Productions was asked to produce aerial sequences at the Reno Air Races for the hit CBS series Airwolf. John Kuri directed the sequences and flew the camera plane in formation flying with race modified WWII fighter aircraft and also photographed the Blue Angels in flight. 

     

 In 1985 Kuri Productions formed a subsidiary corporation, Kurissama Productions, based in Montreal, Canada. Kurissama, initially backed by one of the founding directors of Hawaiian Airlines, was the production company that produced the MGM released feature film Captive Hearts, which was produced by John Kuri. John co-wtote the film's screenplay with actor Pat Morita, and directed 2nd Unit. The film released theatrically in 1987 worldwide followed by a successful home video release by CBS/Fox.


 

 In 1990 Kuri Productions formed a subsidiary California Corporation, Sheffield Entertainment. Its primary focus was the development of business opportunities within entertainment. In 1991, Sheffield, successfully won a lengthy arbitration and was granted rights to the last full power FCC granted television broadcast license for the Sacramento, California television market. Sacramento at the time was ranked the 19th largest television market in the U.S. Sheffield had developed a full business plan for the construction, development, and operation of the station, that began broadcasting as KCMY, Sacramento. Through Kuri's efforts, Sheffield received a full financing commitment from Pacific Corporation, later acquired by AT&T financial. Kuri also successfully negotiated an affiliation for the station with the Telemundo Network. In September of 1996 Paxson Communications acquired KCMY, now broadcasting as KSPX.

 During this time John produced the very popular award winning motion picture, Conagher, starring Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross, working again with Ron Howard through his Imagine Entertainment production company. See the trailer here.

 Kuri then elected to develop the screenplay based on his published historical article Determined to Live: An American Epic.  His script was acquired by Disney Studios and Kuri produced the film for Walt Disney Productions on location in Canada.  The movie was retitled One More Mountain. Kuri's writing resulted from months of research along the Oregon Trail. It is the story of James and Margaret Reed and their children, members of the ill-fated Donner Party. The now famous wagon train made its way west in 1846 and met with many unfortunate delays that ultimately placed them in the Sierra mountains during a very early and heavy winter snowfall where the party became trapped. Ultimately it was through James and Margaret's undying dedication to their children and each other that the family survived and went on to prosper in California. 

Determined to Live: An American Epic was released as One More Mountain in 1994. The movie was honored when the Disney company scheduled the film to relaunch The Wonderful World of Disney Sunday evening programming on ABC television. The film stars Chris Cooper, Meredith Baxter, Frances Conroy, Larry Drake, and special guest star, Jean Simmons. John Kuri was presented the Christopher award in New York for "affirming the highest values of the human spirit" as the writer and producer of the film.

 The digital revolution captured Kuri's interest in the early 1990s. Fathom Pictures, then a leading CD-ROM interactive game design company, asked John to  design, produce, write, direct, and edit a CD/ROM video game titled Dreggs for GT Interactive,a division of GT Home Video, one of the leading video retailers of that time. The game involved over 21-hours of video, compositing 3-D animation with blue screen video of scenes performed by actors, layered over 2-D graphics, all creating the illusion of a sci-fi world of imagination. Kuri, an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, had been a member of their Visual Effects Committee during those years and was keenly interested in the development of digital visual effects. This project was a natural outgrowth of Kuri's background in film which included years as a production designer and art director as well as his work as a second unit director. 

 Interested in all film related opportunity, Kuri produced several commercials and documentary videos over the years. Included in those were films for the Los Angeles Sheriff's department. Ron Howard was featured in a commercial/recruitment spot that Kuri directed and edited. Kuri also directed and edited Officer Survival, IV, a widely distributed police training video which depicts actual major crimes.

 

  After publishing Determined to Live Kuri's interest in historical writing continued. When offered the very sacred history of the Northern Cheyenne Indian, Kuri decided to write an historical novel that is the literary basis for the film the company plans to produce based on, Cheyenne Rising Sun. The hardcover edition of the novel released in September of 2004 and was received very favorably at Book ExpoAmerica, Chicago, where it was previewed. It went to number one best seller status in multiple book stores within California. In 2018 the book was selected for inclusion in the arcives of the American Philisophical Society. Founded by Benjamin Franklin the Society is a major center for research in the history of the sciences, early American history, and Native American ethnography and linguistics. His third novel, Takin' It Back, previewed in June 2005 at Book Expo America in NYC and its hardcover edition was released in September of that year. Shaquille O'Neal and the NBA have endorsed the book. A CBS one-hour special Pride, Passion, and Power introduced John and promoted the novel. Elixir is developing Takin' It Back as a motion picture project. Kuri's fourth book, ROD, released June 2008 at Book Expo America and is a true-life, inspirational, sports themed story also destined for motion picture production.

 Continuing with its interest in all aspects of entertainment, in early 2004 KPI completed production of the first three episodes of a Live Music television series titled, Stay Tuned, hosted by Peter Coyote. The essence of this program is capturing the experience of live music in actual major music venues.

 The pilot features the Disney recording artists Leftover Salmon, a hugely popular Colorado Jam Band. Episode 2 features Legendary Blues artist John Hammond, recorded at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco performing a concert of his PointBlank/Virgin release of Tom Waits originals titled, Wicked Grin. Episode 3 features Platinum artists, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, also on Disney. The one-hour pilot is available for rental streaming or purchase on Amazon.com.

  In 2004 Elixir Entertainment was formed as a development and production partner to KPI.  For StayTunedTV Elixir and KPI have produced multi-camera video of several concerts presented on our entertainment portal www.staytunedtv. Among the many productions are: the Lincoln Center for the Performaning Arts North American premiere of Mongolia: Concert; the New York City Central Park Summer Concert in the Park Sudanese Music and Dance Festival; the Chicago Millenium Park/Pritzker Pavilion "Music Without Borders" United States Debut of Enzo Avitabile & I Bottari.

  In 2008, at the request of the Grammy Foundation, Elixir made four documentary shorts celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Grammy®. The titles, all presenting the effect music has had during definitive periods in the history of the Grammy®, include The Birth of Rock and Roll, The Civil Rights Movement, and The Protest Movement. In addition to Elixir's film development the company is currently developing multiple titles for theatrical release as well as television and streaming distribution, some of which are presented on the homepage of this site and within the Projects in Development section of this site.


 Co-Founder of Kuri Productions was Emile Kuri, John Kuri's father.  He was an eight-time nominated and twice awarded Oscar® set designer.  Emile Kuri was a collaborator with the greats of the golden era of Hollywood including, David O. Selznick, Frank Capra, William Wyler, George Stevens, Alfred Hitchcock, and Walt Disney.  He was a Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for 10 years.  His motion picture credits include: It's A Wonderful Life, Spellbound, A Place in the Sun, Duel in the Sun, The Heiress, Mary Poppins, Shane, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. (IMDB on Emile Kuri)

 Walt Disney with Emile Kuri

Walt Disney, Emile Kuri in the Oscar® winning Nautilus set, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

  

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