Arlyck has played an important advocacy role for American independent producers, testifying twice in Congress and once before the Carnegie Commission on the role of independents in public television. He was centrally involved in legislation which first recognized independents as an important force within that system.
He writes on production issues for several media journals. He was a member of the Board of INPUT, the international television seminar, an active member of the AIVF, and a long-standing participant in the distribution cooperative, New Day Films. He has taught film production at Vassar College, SUNY Buffalo, and SUNY Purchase.
Arlyck's film work includes:
Current Events which examines the ways in which we respond-or do not respond-to the news. It opened at the New York Film Festival, played at The Sundance Festival, was selected "Best Documentary" in the Atlanta Film Festival, and was featured at INPUT '91 in Dublin. It aired on American public television and the BBC.
An Acquired Taste, called "a funny, loving movie" by New York Times film critic Vincent Canby, is a droll look at American culture's obsession with success. It has won first prize at festivals around the world, and is regarded as a classic of the personal-essay genre.
The highly acclaimed Godzilla Meets Mona Lisa takes viewers on a whimsical tour of Paris' controversial Pompidou Center museum, as a means of probing the fundamental question of who art is for.
"Malcolm has been an incredible part of this project," says Arlyck. "He started out as an assistant, taught himself to be an editor and then became a producer. He's turned the film around. The shape of it, what it said, what it's about, the production values. He is an absolute equal partner in the production now."
In a serendipitous full circle, Malcolm is 25 years old making his first film-nearly the same age Ralph was when he made his. "I think it's one of the reasons why it turned out so well for us to work together," admitted Malcolm. "Part of this process has been a revisit and a remembering for Ralph. To some degree that dynamic did some good. But it's also been pointed out the differences between his generation and mine. I don't know anyone who's of my generation who would feel so free out of college to blow off life and just move to San Francisco like Ralph did. People my age seem much more stressed about jobs and the future."
While the film originally had two editors intermittently working on it, Malcolm soon suggested that Ralph put in a Final Cut Pro system so they could edit as they went.
"I remember the first time watching it-it was an early 16mm cut. I remember really liking the tone of it, and I really loved the first original Sean movie. The film was a lot different then, it wasn't nearly as big as it ending up becoming and seemed a little off balance.
"After three years of working together, I think we made the film we wanted to make. Thoughtful. Funny. Sean is charming. There is a certain sort of interesting naiveté about some parts. Realistic yet idealistic. Working on it made me-being so young and not really having confronted these questions of work and family before-it made me think a hell of a lot about those things. Choices. Choice is a big thing that comes out of the movie for me. It still affects me when I watch it, although part of me is detached in some way. It's really bared open."