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Startup.Com (2001)

Kaleil Isaza Tuzman , Tom Herman , Chris Hegedus , Jehane Noujaim  |  R |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, Tom Herman, Kenneth Austin, Tricia Burke, Roy Burston
  • Directors: Chris Hegedus, Jehane Noujaim
  • Producers: Chris Hegedus, Jehane Noujaim, D.A. Pennebaker, Edward Rugoff, Frazer Pennebaker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Live / Artisan
  • DVD Release Date: September 18, 2001
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005N5QV
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,953 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Startup.Com" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by the directors
  • Featurette: "Documentarians on Documentary"

Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Directors Chris Hegedus (The War Room) and Jehane Noujaim couldn't have imagined the drama that awaited when they began documenting the creation of the pioneering e-commerce site For over a year they followed the company, the brainchild of childhood-friends-turned-business-partners software geek and doting single dad Tom Herman, and ambitious young business-school-grad-turned-company-CEO Kaleil Isaza Tuzman. During the rise of the Internet investment frenzy and the subsequent crash of the dot-economy, the cameras remain keyed into the human dynamic: the lifestyle compromises, the personal sacrifices, and the clash of philosophies and personalities that ultimately tear boyhood buddies Tom and Kaleil apart...almost.'s portrait of the cutthroat nature of American business culture and the choices one makes (or doesn't) to succeed poses the one question most documentaries ignore: Is it worth it? --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How Not to Run A Business February 24, 2003
By M. Hart
"" is a fascinating, but slightly flawed documentary following the lives of several men who founded a dot-com in 1998. (Work leading to its creation had started months earlier, but wasn't included in the documentary.) The principal dot-com founders were Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, Tom Herman and Chieh Cheung. Kaleil and Tom were high school friends. Shortly after the company's official launch, Chieh's involvement was terminated after Kaleil and Tom decided to buy him out. They believed Chieh wasn't doing enough, in spite of Chieh's time, work and money invested prior to the company's official launch.
For the most part, the first third of documentary is devoted to Kaleil's efforts to obtain venture capitalist (VC) investment into the new company. The combination of his efforts and unbridled VC risk-taking of the 1990's succeeded in Kaleil securing $50-million in VC investment. At the company's launch, it had eight employees. After several months of hard work and the hiring of a lot more staff, the company's website was finally launched. Within about a year, the company's total employment exceeded 200 employees, but the joy didn't last long. Personality conflicts between Kaleil and Tom lead to some unpleasant consequences. Also, like most of the dot-com's created in the 1990's, the amount of money earned through the company's website paled in comparison to the amount of invested capital and the money squandered by the company.
Sadly, the creators of this documentary (Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim) focused far too much on Kaleil, not enough on Tom and very little on Chieh. The quality of the documentary would have been far better had more time been devoted to Tom throughout the film, and more to Chieh at the beginning (prior to the company's launch).
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important historical document March 5, 2002
By Gareth
As I sit here, self-indulgently typing in my humble opinions, I cannot help but savour the irony of reviewing a film about the spectacular rise and fall of a dot-com hopeful... on the website of one of those who succeeded.
Twenty years from now, when people look back on the "dot com bubble", and when those who weren't there can't fathom the hundreds of overnight paper millionaires, the irrational stock valuations, the revolutionary nature of what was happening, and of course the impending crash - this film will surely stand as an indispensable documentary of the time, capturing the excitement and the madness of the incredible Internet commercial phenomenon.
Hats off to the film makers - this is a truly remarkable time capsule that, compelling as it is today, will only become increasingly important as our collective memories of that time, fade.
So here I am - a regular person, with a regular job - self-indulgently broadcasting my simple thoughts to anyone, anywhere in the world who will listen, courtesy of the global communication network that made it all possible.
This is it. This is how it was.
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45 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ExcellentDon' October 9, 2001
Format:DVD is one of the best 2001 films now available on DVD. It is a documentary and about the trials and tribulations of a start up internet company but it also a Heart-wrenching, emotionally involving story about hopes, dreams and friendships.
We watch as a group of friends begin their company (in May of 1999) and in less than 2 years are running a 50 million-dollar corporation employing over 250 people ( And then it all begins to fall apart� rapidly. We watch as CEO Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and to a slightly lesser extent Tom Herman become famous via business magazine covers, columns, articles, television news programs, CNN interviews, and even a meeting with a President in which Kaleil suggests the President Clinton consider working for his company when his presidential term is over. It's all here and it really happened.
The film-makers shot for over two years and were editing the more than 400 hours of video/film right up to their Sundance premiere in early 2001 and re-edited the last few minutes of the film just prior to it's theatrical release in May of 2001.
Jehane Noujaim started the film. Noujaim became Kaleil Tuzman Harvard roommate and they remained good friends. After quitting her job at MTV with plans to go to her homeland Egypt to make a film Noujaim instead began filming Tuzman as he quit his job to begin this company with his old high school chum and a small circle of friends. She contacted Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker for help in financing the project. They were excited about the idea and Hegedus enthusiastically became a partner in the project. Hedges and her husband, D.A.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Primarily a historical doument rather than a documentry November 28, 2002
This documentary is primarily a cinema verite documentation of the personalities behind a �start-up-dot-com� during the apex of the �internet bubble�. In other words, the directors used non-actors, such as the CEO and his co-founders, small hand-held cameras, and actual homes and surroundings as their location for this film to capture the personalities involved. This includes: The tantrums, the broken friendships, the narcissism, the venture capital meetings, and the often obscene; (yes, obscene), amounts of money tossed out by venture capitalists to anybody with a website as if they were drunk sailors visiting a two-dollar brothel.
My favorite part was seeing our CEO interviewed on a �CNBC-like� program stating with a straight face that his company was worth 50 million dollars. Below him at the bottom of the screen was a stock-ticker going off with a myriad of internet ticker symbols rolling by which were all generally trading in the triple digit range such as, SUNW, or Sun Microsystems, trading then at $133.00 a share but now trading in 2002 at $4 a share.
I often got angry watching this documentary primarily because of all the excess. However I am glad this film was made because it chronicles the personalities behind the history rather than the history itself. This is something we don�t see when we watch a documentary about the �1929 stock market crash�, or by reading a dry dissertation of the Dutch �tulip-bubble�.
If you are looking for just the human story alone and what money can do to friendships and egos, buy this movie. If you are looking to observe the day-to-day management of a you will be disappointed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Trials and tribulations of starting a company.
Published 3 months ago by W. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie
Published 3 months ago by Digger
4.0 out of 5 stars Good watch, but outdated now
Purchased this DVD when it came out a few years ago and it was great watching it. Most entrepreneurs are so caught up in the business that they're not even thinking about... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Captain
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, poor video quality
Great movie. Perfect movie to show what to do and more importantly what not to do in a startup. Since it is an older documentary it is poor video quality. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Andrew
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun documentary
It's nice to watch a documentary where the characters are people. You feel like you know these guys, and even when they engage in bad acts, you understand them so don't have to... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mark J. Downton
4.0 out of 5 stars Budget film, but interesting
This is not the best film, it was clearly made on a budget by a beginning film maker. Nonetheless, it is an interesting and honest look at a crazy startup. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Jonathan J Hunt
4.0 out of 5 stars Must Watch
I didn't even know about the project before I watched this movie. It truly shows that you can't go into a business and try to get rich...with your friends. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Colton Sinning
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting movie
This was a really interesting film about two friends trying to make it in the .COM boom. It was fascinating to see how their relationship changed during the process of filming.
Published on September 21, 2012 by Matthew D. Hennings
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid movie
Solid movie based upon the content. Overall, a good insight to embracing the entrpreneurial lifestyle to see a dream come true. Read more
Published on June 16, 2012 by Rus
5.0 out of 5 stars Great flick for the right reasons
Great flick for the right reasons. This is a must-see for start-up businesses. It has really helped me both with the actual process of starting up a new business and for... Read more
Published on April 17, 2012 by pwmulder
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