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David Winters

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MST3k and RiffTrax filmmaker David Winters

David Winters

David Winters (born April 5, 1939 in London, England, UK) is an English-born American dancer, choreographer, producer, director, screenwriter, and actor.[1] Winters has participated in, directed and produced over 400 television series, television specials, and motion pictures. Of these, he has directed, produced and distributed over 50 films.

Winters likes to remind everyone he knows that he is typical Ram (Zodiac wise) which means he is notonly full of flair, originality, and courage but is also a great leader. And it possibly these traits along with his tenaciousness that allows him to leave his comfort zone and embrace new challenges,resulting in him having credits and rewards in so many categories within the entertainment industry, including that as movie producer and distributor.

There is no doubt that David would have eventually become a film producer, but the stimulus came during his stint as director of the phenomenal cult hit, Thrashin’ , where he experienced being over-ruled in casting and other creative decisions. Gravely disappointed Winters made the professional decision to control all aspects of future projects and in 1986 hecreated his own production and distribution company with David A. Prior and Peter Yuval, named Action International Pictures (AIP). As president, he had to wear a business hat as well as a creative hat and the company focused on producing low budget actions films and video distribution for many international films, which proved to be quite lucrative.

On average, AIP was responsible for 10-15 films a yearmainly for video market and controlled their own distribution. According to the Internet Movie Database, AIPproduced 17 films and distributed 41 films and videotapes between 1988 and 1994, and were involved in a total of 46 films in this period. Fifteen of thesefilms were written and directed by Prior. Winters directed three of the films, including Space Mutiny (which he also wrote under pseudonym Maria Dante) and produced 28 of them. Yuval wrote,directed, and produced two of the AIP films including Dead End City and Fireheadand directed two more.

Like many low-budget film productions, AIP's original filmsused many of the same cast and crew in many of the films, including DavidPrior's brother Ted as an actor and writer; the apparently versatile William Zipp as actor, writer, director, producer, and stunt man; and an occasional well-known actor like Cameron Mitchell (featured in Space Mutiny and three other AIP ventures). Popular Television show, Mystery Science Theater 3000 would ultimately joke that Space Mutiny was "infested" with "the Mitchell family" referring to Cameron's two children also appearing in that film. Another actor appearing in Mutiny was actor James Ryan, the acrobatic sinewy and lean martial arts hero in Rage to Kill and Codename Vengeance. In Mutiny, Ryan played against type as the disabled villain Mac Phearson. Joe Estevez joked on occasion about how duke some of the AIP productions he found himself in turned out to be much to the not-so-amused reactions of the producers who caught Joe speaking at one of the premieres about it at the wrong time.

AIP movies not only brought David cult status but a few awards to add to his collection aswell. Night Trap, starring Lesley-Ann Down and Michael Ironside, won the first prize “Gold Award” at the Houston WorldFest International Film Festival in 1993. Good Cop Bad Cop (also known as Raw Justice), starring Pamela Anderson, David Keith and Stacy Keach, won the Bronze award at The Charleston Film Festival in 1994

In 1992, Winters bought out partnersand re-branded AIP as West Side Studios, although Prior would continueto direct. Branching out from just action flicks, David tried his hand in comedy and in 2002, Welcome 2 Ibiza won the Bangkok Film Festival Audience Award.

In 1999 Winters and his British business partner, Patrick Meehan, took their Equator Films public and in 2004 purchased the company HandMade Films. His current American production entity is known as Alpha Beta Films International.

In 2012, RiffTrax ended up taking on the David Carradine starters, Future Force (1989) and Future Zone (1990) on their video-on-demand service which allows their users to download or stream the content with the riffing audio already attached to the movie file itself.

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