GovWorks Story Hits the Silver Screen
- By William Welsh
- Apr 23, 2001
But does it have a happy ending?
A documentary about an e-gov startup that went bust will be shown this week at FilmFest DC in the nation's capital.
You may recall the company, GovWorks Inc. of New York, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January after running through $60 million in venture capital money in two years.
Now comes the movie.
"Startup.com" takes a look behind the scenes at the creation and growth of GovWorks from its nascent stages to its untimely demise, according to Artisan Entertainment Inc. of New York. In the process, the film chronicles the trials and tribulations of GovWorks founders Tom Herman and Kaleil Isaza Tuzman.
The film was directed by Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim and produced by D.A. Pennebaker. The husband-and-wife filmmaking made "The War Room," a behind the scenes look at the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign. Noujaim is a former MTV producer.
Noujaim and Isaza Tuzman were once roommates and are fellow graduates of Harvard University, according to the film's production notes. The trust shared between the two friends allowed Noujaim to document Isaza Tuzman's with a great degree of intimacy.
"I filmed some of the best conversations in gyms, elevators and bathrooms," said Noujaim.
The real key to documentaries is access, added Pennebaker.
"Startup.com," which was shown at this year's Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, will be shown in Washington April 25 and 26.
The film will open May 11 and 18 in New York and Los Angeles, respectively, said Artisan, an independent entertainment company that distributes motion pictures in the home entertainment, theatrical and broadcast and pay television markets.
At the time of bankruptcy, GovWorks had assets of $8 million and liabilities of $40 million, according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York. The company received upwards of $60 million from three separate rounds of financing during its two-year run.
The company's transaction processing business eventually was sold to eOne Global Inc. of Napa, Calif., and American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va.
William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.