“If all the people who hate Ishtar had seen it, I would be a rich woman today”.
– Elaine May
On the night of his 39th birthday, writer/director John Mitchell was having a conversation with friends about guilty pleasures. When he confessed to loving the Elaine May comedy, Ishtar, starring Warren Beatty & Dustin Hoffman, Mitchell was met with stunned silence and subsequently chided for “mocking the conversation”. After all, who could love a movie that was on Time Magazine’s list of the worst ideas of the 20th century? None of the others had seen Ishtar, and it occurred to Mitchell that perhaps all most people knew about the film was what they had heard in the media. A short time later, Mitchell tried to borrow Ishtar from his local library, only to discover that he was #34 on a list of 47 people lining up for the library’s single VHS copy. Realizing that it could take 8 and a half months to get the film, Mitchell wondered who else would be willing to wait that long, or longer, for the legendary box-office bomb. Enlisting the help of a friend, actor Jonathan Crombie, the pair set off on a quest to track down and interview one of the others, Waiting For Ishtar. A modest film about one man’s obsession, soon turns into a quixotic journey to discover what really happened to Ishtar.
John Mitchell Co-Writer/Director/Producer
John Mitchell is a writer and award-winning director who started his career as one half of the cult 90’s musical comedy duo, Brock & John. Mitchell spent two years at the famed Second City in Toronto. He has written and directed several musical comedies and was one of the creators and early writers of, The Drowsy Chaperone, which went on to win 5 Tony Awards on Broadway. He recently completed filming his first feature, the upcoming romantic comedy, Portrait of a Serial Monogamist, co-written & directed with Christina Zeidler. If all goes well, John hopes to follow Waiting For Ishtar with the tentatively titled, Hanging Around for Heaven’s Gate.
Jonathan Crombie Co-Writer/Director/Producer
Jonathan Crombie recently studied documentary filmmaking at OCAD. He has also been a professional actor for over 25 years. His theatrical credits include the Broadway production of The Drowsy Chaperone, and its U.S. National Tour (as Man In Chair), four seasons at Ontario’s Stratford Festival, and a long list of regional productions across Canada and the U.S. (including the recent Raisin Cycle at Baltimore’s CenterStage, featured on PBS). His film/TV credits include Cottage Country, Empty Room, Slings And Arrows, Comedy Now (with Skippy’s Rangers),
Power Play, Mount Royal, Bullies, and Anne of Green Gables 1,2 & 3. Jonathan became a fan of Ishtar after watching it for the first time on his 24th birthday. It contains his favourite movie line of all time (“We didn’t need a pencil!”).