Josh Kramer, who worked as a film producer and financier and Amazon executive, died Nov. 27 in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 67.
Kramer started his career in entertainment in foreign sales for the Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis. By pre-selling foreign movie rights, he became an integral member of the company, financing films such as “Manhunter” and “Blue Velvet.” He led the acquisition of the film rights for Madonna’s first concert film “Madonna: Truth or Dare” and later sold the film overseas.
Rachael Horovitz, who worked with him at De Laurentiis, remembered Kramer on his memorial site. “A concert pianist who helped right the Beastie Boys tourbus one night in Paris when rabid fans were tipping it over; a patient negotiator who cried reading J.D. Salinger. His contradictions made him.”
He joined forces with Thom Mount to form the Mount/Kramer Company in the early ’90s, producing Roman Polanski’s “Death and the Maiden” and Sidney Lumet’s “Night Falls on Manhattan.” Kramer then became the head of sales for Capitol Films, joined international acquisitions at MGM and supported artist and engineer Chuck Hoberman on various inventions.
Following those pursuits, Kramer began his career at Amazon as the first licensing expert of Amazon Unbox. Through establishing Amazon’s relationships with Hollywood studios and TV networks, he helped build a comprehensive selection for Amazon’s new video platform. Kramer and his team also assisted in the expansion of Amazon Video through deals with TiVo, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Vizio, Roku and more.
As head of motion picture business operations at Amazon Studios from 2014 through 2018, Kramer wrote the original business plan for the movie division, recruited leadership and devised distribution strategies for films such as Spike Lee’s “Chiraq,” “Manchester By the Sea” and “The Big Sick.”
Kramer also founded BKopy.io in 2021, where he focused on the intersection of creative artistry and blockchain technology. As the driving force behind BKopy.io, he launched Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash NFT at Sotheby’s in early 2023. Additionally, Kramer served as managing partner of Resonance Content, where his clients included The Boston Globe, K Period Media and The Wildcard Alliance.
Raised in Teaneck, N.J., he graduated Brown and received an MBA from Wharton. In addition to his success in business, his family and friends remembered him as an accomplished classical pianist, a published short fiction author, a potter, a knitter, and self-taught computer whiz.
He is survived by his wife Kathie, son Jack and brother Ken.