The First Run Features Collection was generously given to Penn Libraries by proud Penn Parents, Seymour Wishman, the President of First Run Features, and his wife Nancy Evans. Their daughter Samantha Wishman C'10, had a successful four years at Penn, and her parents were thrilled to support the University’s core resources by gifting this important collection to the Libraries.
With a background in law and politics, Seymour Wishman became President of First Run Features in 1984. The company was founded in 1979 by a group of filmmakers to advance the distribution of independent film. Under the leadership of the late independent film pioneer, Fran Spielman, First Run Features quickly gained a reputation for its controversial catalog of daring independent fiction and non-fiction films. First Run remains one of the largest independent theatrical and home video distributors in the United States, releasing around 12 films a year in theaters nationwide and about 40 DVDs annually. In addition, First Run has an educational/non-theatrical division, and it also licenses its titles to television and cable outlets and through internet platforms.
Mr. Wishman has also written several plays, a screenplay for ABC, published two novels, three nonfiction books, and produced four documentaries and three children's videos.
Nancy Evans has enjoyed a distinguished career in writing and publishing. She is the co-founder of iVillage, a leading women's internet site, and founder and former editor-in-chief of the national magazine, Family Life. Former President and Publisher of Doubleday, Ms. Evans is also the co-author of two books, and has written numerous articles for the New York Times Book Review, The Harvard Business Review, Ms. Magazine, and Family Circle, among others. She has taught and lectured at Harvard, Barnard and Wesleyan, and has appeared on the Today Show, Charlie Rose and 60 Minutes.
Nancy and Seymour truly love books and appreciate their importance which is why they are so pleased to be able to support the Penn Libraries in such a significant way.