Monday, February 25, 2008

John Polonia

I have just been informed via email from John Oak Dalton that John Polonia, one half of the indie filmmaking duo The Polonia Bros. has died due to an aneurysm. He was 39.

John and his twin brother Mark are guys that have helped define the indie filmmaking movement for the past 20 or so years. They were genre movie fans who didn't let the fact that they lived no where near Hollywood deter them from making movies and getting them distributed around the world. John isn't a household name, but I bet one or two of his movies have crossed your eye at the local video store.

Here's John Oak Dalton's tribute to the man he collaborated with:

For those of you who didn't hear the sad news, John Polonia died suddenly in his home this morning of a heart aneurysm. He was 39 and leaves a wife and young son.

John was an incredibly funny person who enjoyed home and family life and could talk movies with a great fervor. He turned this love of movies into a memorable filmmaking career.

John was a good friend to me and a lot of other filmmakers. He was a great lover of cinema and had a vast collection of movies stored on the shelves of his home and in his brain. He had a dream to make movies and lived that dream every single day since his teenage years. I spoke with him a few weeks ago about a new project I would rewrite over one of his scripts and he was as excited about these upcoming prospects as he was about every project.

I think we are too close to the Polonia Brothers' legacy for it to be properly measured. They first got distribution as teenagers and are noted for having one of the first shot on SVHS features to be accepted at Blockbuster. They produced and directed more than 30 features in 20-some years that were distributed direct to video. They were incredibly prolific and successful together and embraced a large fan base while being courteous to foes. Their role in the rise of VHS rentals, the mom and pop stores, the SOV era, and then the direct-to-video DVD boom, will have to be noted much farther down the timeline to see what they have really meant as people and professionals.

I can say in total honesty I have never met anyone like John. When I first saw "Blood Red Planet" I knew the Brothers were special as very unique filmmakers and I later came to learn they were incredible individuals as well. I hope you will join me in keeping his family in your thoughts during this time, and keeping his memorable legacy at the forefront in the future.

John Oak Dalton

The world is lessened by John's death. I am sure he had a lot more pulp to give us.

2 comments:

Brian said...

John was my friend and I miss him. And I believe it was an embolism. That doesn't help the fact that he's now filming in the stars.

David said...

I am one of many who are sorry to hear about Mr. Polonia's death. I did not have the pleasure of knowing him, but I did have the pleasure of viewing work of his and his brother's. John was a *wonderful* talent who made a venerable contribution to horror cinema. Thank you, Mr. Polonia.