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French producer and co-founder -- with her husband Jean Cazes -- of the production, financing and distribution company Lumiere International, Lila Cazes has moved from French productions to European ones, and then, in the 90s, to producing for the U.S. market, including such heralded productions as "Leaving Las Vegas" (1995), and Paul Schrader's "Touch" (1997). The Cazes formed Lumiere in 1984, and, although it took a few years to gain inertia, they produced "Mangeclous" in 1988. Directed by Moshe Mizrahi, it was based on the true story of five Zionists who protest at a League of Nations meeting. Cazes produced "Le Miracle" in 1990, and the story of a street smart youth, "Le Thune" in 1991. The miniseries filmed throughout Europe, "Le Chinois," followed in 1992, then Cazes made her first attempt at producing in English for the U.S. market. The initial chance came with "Bank Robber" (1993), for which she was executive producer. It starred Patrick Dempsey as a thief who pulls one last job then hides out at a seedy hotel -- for a price. The film was not well received by critics or the audience, but Cazes second U.S. effort, "Fresh" was a critical and commercial success. The directorial debut of Boaz Yakin, "Fresh" (1994) starred Sean Nelson as a projects youth who will use drug dealing as a way out of the ghetto and will start a turf war to save his sister from the clutches of a sexual dead-end. "Fresh" won the filmmaker's trophy at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival. Cazes had less success with "Somebody to Love" (1994), starring Rosie Perez, then financed and produced Mike Figgis' edgy, dark study of an alcoholic writer trying to drink himself to death, "Leaving Las Vegas" (1995). One of the sleeper hits of the year, the film won an Academy Award for its star, Nicolas Cage. Cazes also produced "Touch" (1997), Paul Schrader's look at an innocent young man with healing powers. In addition, Cazes was one of the producers of "Smoggies!" an international animated series promoting harmony with nature and syndicated in the USA in 1989.
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