Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in 1949, a decision for which he was severely criticized when his star began to dim in the 1960s and he was excoriated for squandering his talents. No actor ever exerted such a profound influence on succeeding generations of actors as did Brando. More than 50 years after he first scorched the screen as Stanley Kowalski in the movie version of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire and a quarter-century after his last great performance as Col. Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, all American actors are still being measured by the yardstick that was Brando. It was if the shadow of John Barrymore, the great American actor closest to Brando in terms of talent and stardom, dominated the acting field up until the 1970s. He did not, nor did any other actor so dominate the public's consciousness of what WAS an actor before or since Brando's 1951 on-screen portrayal of Stanley made him a cultural icon. Brando eclipsed the reputation of other great actors circa 1950, such as Paul Muni and Fredric March. Only the luster of Spencer Tracy's reputation hasn't dimmed when seen in the starlight thrown off by Brando. However, neither Tracy nor Olivier created an entire school of acting just by the force of his personality. Brando did.
Marlon Brando, Jr. was born on April 3, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Marlon Brando, Sr., a calcium carbonate salesman, and his artistically inclined wife, the former Dorothy Julia Pennebaker. "Bud" Brando was one of three children. His ancestry included English, Irish, German, Dutch, French Huguenot, Welsh, and Scottish; his surname originated with a distant German immigrant ancestor named "Brandau". His oldest sister Jocelyn Brando was also an actress, taking after their mother, who engaged in amateur theatricals and mentored a then-unknown Henry Fonda, another Nebraska native, in her role as director of the Omaha Community Playhouse. Frannie, Brando's other sibling, was a visual artist. Both Brando sisters contrived to leave the Midwest for New York City, Jocelyn to study acting and Frannie to study art. Marlon managed to escape the vocational doldrums forecast for him by his cold, distant father and his disapproving schoolteachers by striking out for The Big Apple in 1943, following Jocelyn into the acting profession. Acting was the only thing he was good at, for which he received praise, so he was determined to make it his career - a high-school dropout, he had nothing else to fall back on, having been rejected by the military due to a knee injury he incurred playing football at Shattuck Military Academy, Brando Sr.'s alma mater. The school booted Marlon out as incorrigible before graduation.
Acting was a skill he honed as a child, the lonely son of alcoholic parents. With his father away on the road, and his mother frequently intoxicated to the point of stupefaction, the young Bud would play-act for her to draw her out of her stupor and to attract her attention and love. His mother was exceedingly neglectful, but he loved her, particularly for instilling in him a love of nature, a feeling which informed his character Paul in Last Tango in Paris ("Last Tango in Paris") when he is recalling his childhood for his young lover Jeanne. "I don't have many good memories," Paul confesses, and neither did Brando of his childhood. Sometimes he had to go down to the town jail to pick up his mother after she had spent the night in the drunk tank and bring her home, events that traumatized the young boy but may have been the grain that irritated the oyster of his talent, producing the pearls of his performances. Anthony Quinn, his Oscar-winning co-star in Viva Zapata! told Brando's first wife Anna Kashfi, "I admire Marlon's talent, but I don't envy the pain that created it."
Brando enrolled in Erwin Piscator's Dramatic Workshop at New York's New School, and was mentored by Stella Adler, a member of a famous Yiddish Theatre acting family. Adler helped introduce to the New York stage the "emotional memory" technique of Russian theatrical actor, director and impresario Konstantin Stanislavski, whose motto was "Think of your own experiences and use them truthfully." The results of this meeting between an actor and the teacher preparing him for a life in the theater would mark a watershed in American acting and culture.
Brando made his debut on the boards of Broadway on October 19, 1944, in "I Remember Mama," a great success. As a young Broadway actor, Brando was invited by talent scouts from several different studios to screen-test for them, but he turned them down because he would not let himself be bound by the then-standard seven-year contract. Brando would make his film debut quite some time later in Fred Zinnemann's The Men for producer Stanley Kramer. Playing a paraplegic soldier, Brando brought new levels of realism to the screen, expanding on the verisimilitude brought to movies by Group Theatre alumni John Garfield, the predecessor closest to him in the raw power he projected on-screen. Ironically, it was Garfield whom producer Irene Mayer Selznick had chosen to play the lead in a new Tennessee Williams play she was about to produce, but negotiations broke down when Garfield demanded an ownership stake in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Burt Lancaster was next approached, but couldn't get out of a prior film commitment. Then director Elia Kazan suggested Brando, whom he had directed to great effect in Maxwell Anderson's play "Truckline Café," in which Brando co-starred with Karl Malden, who was to remain a close friend for the next 60 years.
During the production of "Truckline Café", Kazan had found that Brando's presence was so magnetic, he had to re-block the play to keep Marlon near other major characters' stage business, as the audience could not take its eyes off of him. For the scene where Brando's character re-enters the stage after killing his wife, Kazan placed him upstage-center, partially obscured by scenery, but where the audience could still see him as Karl Malden and others played out their scene within the café set. When he eventually entered the scene, crying, the effect was electric. A young Pauline Kael, arriving late to the play, had to avert her eyes when Brando made this entrance as she believed the young actor on stage was having a real-life conniption. She did not look back until her escort commented that the young man was a great actor.
The problem with casting Brando as Stanley was that he was much younger than the character as written by Williams. However, after a meeting between Brando and Williams, the playwright eagerly agreed that Brando would make an ideal Stanley. Williams believed that by casting a younger actor, the Neanderthalish Kowalski would evolve from being a vicious older man to someone whose unintentional cruelty can be attributed to his youthful ignorance. Brando ultimately was dissatisfied with his performance, though, saying he never was able to bring out the humor of the character, which was ironic as his characterization often drew laughs from the audience at the expense of Jessica Tandy's Blanche Dubois. During the out-of-town tryouts, Kazan realized that Brando's magnetism was attracting attention and audience sympathy away from Blanche to Stanley, which was not what the playwright intended. The audience's sympathy should be solely with Blanche, but many spectators were identifying with Stanley. Kazan queried Williams on the matter, broaching the idea of a slight rewrite to tip the scales back to more of a balance between Stanley and Blanche, but Williams demurred, smitten as he was by Brando, just like the preview audiences.
For his part, Brando believed that the audience sided with his Stanley because Jessica Tandy was too shrill. He thought Vivien Leigh, who played the part in the movie, was ideal, as she was not only a great beauty but she WAS Blanche Dubois, troubled as she was in her real life by mental illness and nymphomania. Brando's appearance as Stanley on stage and on screen revolutionized American acting by introducing "The Method" into American consciousness and culture. Method acting, rooted in Adler's study at the Moscow Art Theatre of Stanislavsky's theories that she subsequently introduced to the Group Theatre, was a more naturalistic style of performing, as it engendered a close identification of the actor with the character's emotions. Adler took first place among Brando's acting teachers, and socially she helped turn him from an unsophisticated Midwestern farm boy into a knowledgeable and cosmopolitan artist who one day would socialize with presidents.
Brando didn't like the term "The Method," which quickly became the prominent paradigm taught by such acting gurus as Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. Brando denounced Strasberg in his autobiography "Songs My Mother Taught Me" (1994), saying that he was a talentless exploiter who claimed he had been Brando's mentor. The Actors Studio had been founded by Strasberg along with Kazan and Stella Adler's husband, Harold Clurman, all Group Theatre alumni, all political progressives deeply committed to the didactic function of the stage. Brando credits his knowledge of the craft to Adler and Kazan, while Kazan in his autobiography "A Life" claimed that Brando's genius thrived due to the thorough training Adler had given him. Adler's method emphasized that authenticity in acting is achieved by drawing on inner reality to expose deep emotional experience
Interestingly, Elia Kazan believed that Brando had ruined two generations of actors, his contemporaries and those who came after him, all wanting to emulate the great Brando by employing The Method. Kazan felt that Brando was never a Method actor, that he had been highly trained by Adler and did not rely on gut instincts for his performances, as was commonly believed. Many a young actor, mistaken about the true roots of Brando's genius, thought that all it took was to find a character's motivation, empathize with the character through sense and memory association, and regurgitate it all on stage to become the character. That's not how the superbly trained Brando did it; he could, for example, play accents, whereas your average American Method actor could not. There was a method to Brando's art, Kazan felt, but it was not The Method.
After A Streetcar Named Desire, for which he received the first of his eight Academy Award nominations, Brando appeared in a string of Academy Award-nominated performances - in Viva Zapata!, Julius Caesar and the summit of his early career, Kazan's On the Waterfront. For his "Waterfront" portrayal of meat-headed longshoreman Terry Malloy, the washed-up pug who "coulda been a contender," Brando won his first Oscar. Along with his iconic performance as the rebel-without-a-cause Johnny in The Wild One ("What are you rebelling against?" Johnny is asked. "What have ya got?" is his reply), the first wave of his career was, according to Jon Voight, unprecedented in its audacious presentation of such a wide range of great acting. Director John Huston said his performance of Marc Antony was like seeing the door of a furnace opened in a dark room, and co-star John Gielgud, the premier Shakespearean actor of the 20th century, invited Brando to join his repertory company.
It was this period of 1951-54 that revolutionized American acting, spawning such imitators as James Dean - who modeled his acting and even his lifestyle on his hero Brando - the young Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. After Brando, every up-and-coming star with true acting talent and a brooding, alienated quality would be hailed as the "New Brando," such as Warren Beatty in Kazan's Splendor in the Grass. "We are all Brando's children," Jack Nicholson pointed out in 1972. "He gave us our freedom." He was truly "The Godfather" of American acting - and he was just 30 years old. Though he had a couple of failures, like Désirée and The Teahouse of the August Moon, he was clearly miscast in them and hadn't sought out the parts so largely escaped blame.
In the second period of his career, 1955-62, Brando managed to uniquely establish himself as a great actor who also was a Top 10 movie star, although that star began to dim after the box-office high point of his early career, Sayonara (for which he received his fifth Best Actor Oscar nomination). Brando tried his hand at directing a film, the well-reviewed One-Eyed Jacks that he made for his own production company, Pennebaker Productions (after his mother's maiden name). Stanley Kubrick had been hired to direct the film, but after months of script rewrites in which Brando participated, Kubrick and Brando had a falling out and Kubrick was sacked. According to his widow Christiane Kubrick, Stanley believed that Brando had wanted to direct the film himself all along.
Tales proliferated about the profligacy of Brando the director, burning up a million and a half feet of expensive VistaVision film at 50 cents a foot, fully ten times the normal amount of raw stock expended during production of an equivalent motion picture. Brando took so long editing the film that he was never able to present the studio with a cut. Paramount took it away from him and tacked on a re-shot ending that Brando was dissatisfied with, as it made the Oedipal figure of Dad Longworth into a villain. In any normal film Dad would have been the heavy, but Brando believed that no one was innately evil, that it was a matter of an individual responding to, and being molded by, one's environment. It was not a black-and-white world, Brando felt, but a gray world in which once-decent people could do horrible things. This attitude explains his sympathetic portrayal of Nazi officer Christian Diestl in the film he made before shooting One-Eyed Jacks, Edward Dmytryk's filming of Irwin Shaw's novel The Young Lions. Shaw denounced Brando's performance, but audiences obviously disagreed, as the film was a major hit. It would be the last hit movie Brando would have for more than a decade.
One-Eyed Jacks generated respectable numbers at the box office, but the production costs were exorbitant - a then-staggering $6 million - which made it run a deficit. A film essentially is "made" in the editing room, and Brando found cutting to be a terribly boring process, which was why the studio eventually took the film away from him. Despite his proved talent in handling actors and a large production, Brando never again directed another film, though he would claim that all actors essentially direct themselves during the shooting of a picture.
Between the production and release of One-Eyed Jacks, Brando appeared in Sidney Lumet's film version of Tennessee Williams' play "Orpheus Descending", The Fugitive Kind which teamed him with fellow Oscar winners Anna Magnani and Joanne Woodward. Following in Elizabeth Taylor's trailblazing footsteps, Brando became the second performer to receive a $1-million salary for a motion picture, so high were the expectations for this re-teaming of Kowalski and his creator (in 1961 critic Hollis Alpert had published a book "Brando and the Shadow of Stanley Kowalski). Critics and audiences waiting for another incendiary display from Brando in a Williams work were disappointed when the renamed The Fugitive Kind finally released. Though Tennessee was hot, with movie versions of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly, Last Summer burning up the box office and receiving kudos from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, The Fugitive Kind was a failure. This was followed by the so-so box-office reception of One-Eyed Jacks in 1961 and then by a failure of a more monumental kind: Mutiny on the Bounty, a remake of the famed 1935 film.
Brando signed on to Mutiny on the Bounty after turning down the lead in the David Lean classic Lawrence of Arabia because he didn't want to spend a year in the desert riding around on a camel. He received another $1-million salary, plus $200,000 in overages as the shoot went overtime and over budget. During principal photography, highly respected director Carol Reed (an eventual Academy Award winner) was fired, and his replacement, two-time Oscar winner Lewis Milestone, was shunted aside by Brando as Marlon basically took over the direction of the film himself. The long shoot became so notorious that President John F. Kennedy asked director Billy Wilder at a cocktail party not "when" but "if" the "Bounty" shoot would ever be over. The MGM remake of one of its classic Golden Age films garnered a Best Picture Oscar nomination and was one of the top grossing films of 1962, yet failed to go into the black due to its Brobdingnagian budget estimated at $20 million, which is equivalent to $120 million when adjusted for inflation.
Brando and Taylor, whose Cleopatra nearly bankrupted 20th Century-Fox due to its huge cost overruns (its final budget was more than twice that of Brando's Mutiny on the Bounty), were pilloried by the show business press for being the epitome of the pampered, self-indulgent stars who were ruining the industry. Seeking scapegoats, the Hollywood press conveniently ignored the financial pressures on the studios. The studios had been hurt by television and by the antitrust-mandated divestiture of their movie theater chains, causing a large outflow of production to Italy and other countries in the 1950s and 1960s in order to lower costs. The studio bosses, seeking to replicate such blockbuster hits as the remakes of The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, were the real culprits behind the losses generated by large-budgeted films that found it impossible to recoup their costs despite long lines at the box office.
While Elizabeth Taylor, receiving the unwanted gift of reams of publicity from her adulterous romance with Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton, remained hot until the tanking of her own Tennessee Williams-renamed debacle Boom!, Brando from 1963 until the end of the decade appeared in one box-office failure after another as he worked out a contract he had signed with Universal Pictures. The industry had grown tired of Brando and his idiosyncrasies, though he continued to be offered prestige projects up through 1968.
Some of the films Brando made in the 1960s were noble failures, such as The Ugly American, The Appaloosa and Reflections in a Golden Eye. For every "Reflections," though, there seemed to be two or three outright debacles, such as Bedtime Story, Morituri, The Chase, A Countess from Hong Kong, Candy, The Night of the Following Day. By the time Brando began making the anti-colonialist picture Burn! in Colombia with Gillo Pontecorvo in the director's chair, he was box-office poison, despite having worked in the previous five years with such top directors as Arthur Penn, John Huston and the legendary Charles Chaplin, and with such top-drawer co-stars as David Niven, Yul Brynner, Sophia Loren and Taylor.
The rap on Brando in the 1960s was that a great talent had ruined his potential to be America's answer to Laurence Olivier, as his friend William Redfield limned the dilemma in his book "Letters from an Actor" (1967), a memoir about Redfield's appearance in Burton's 1964 theatrical production of "Hamlet." By failing to go back on stage and recharge his artistic batteries, something British actors such as Burton were not afraid to do, Brando had stifled his great talent, by refusing to tackle the classical repertoire and contemporary drama. Actors and critics had yearned for an American response to the high-acting style of the Brits, and while Method actors such as Rod Steiger tried to create an American style, they were hampered in their quest, as their king was lost in a wasteland of Hollywood movies that were beneath his talent. Many of his early supporters now turned on him, claiming he was a crass sellout.
Despite evidence in such films as The Appaloosa and Reflections in a Golden Eye that Brando was in fact doing some of the best acting of his life, critics, perhaps with an eye on the box office, slammed him for failing to live up to, and nurture, his great gift. Brando's political activism, starting in the early 1960s with his championing of Native Americans' rights, followed by his participation in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's March on Washington in 1963, and followed by his appearance at a Black Panther rally in 1968, did not win him many admirers in the establishment. In fact, there was a de facto embargo on Brando films in the recently segregated (officially, at least) southeastern US in the 1960s. Southern exhibitors simply would not book his films, and producers took notice. After 1968, Brando would not work for three years.
Pauline Kael wrote of Brando that he was Fortune's fool. She drew a parallel with the latter career of John Barrymore, a similarly gifted thespian with talents as prodigious, who seemingly threw them away. Brando, like the late-career Barrymore, had become a great ham, evidenced by his turn as the faux Indian guru in the egregious Candy, seemingly because the material was so beneath his talent. Most observers of Brando in the 1960s believed that he needed to be reunited with his old mentor Elia Kazan, a relationship that had soured due to Kazan's friendly testimony naming names before the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee. Perhaps Brando believed this, too, as he originally accepted an offer to appear as the star of Kazan's film adaptation of his own novel, The Arrangement. However, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Brando backed out of the film, telling Kazan that he could not appear in a Hollywood film after this tragedy. Also reportedly turning down a role opposite box-office king Paul Newman in a surefire script, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Brando decided to make Burn! with Pontecorvo. The film, a searing indictment of racism and colonialism, flopped at the box office but won the esteem of progressive critics and cultural arbiters such as Howard Zinn. He subsequently appeared in the British film The Nightcomers, a prequel to "Turn of the Screw" and another critical and box office failure.
Kazan, after a life in film and the theater, said that, aside from Orson Welles, whose greatness lay in filmmaking, he only met one actor who was a genius: Brando. Richard Burton, an intellectual with a keen eye for observation if not for his own film projects, said that he found Brando to be very bright, unlike the public perception of him as a Terry Malloy-type character that he himself inadvertently promoted through his boorish behavior. Brando's problem, Burton felt, was that he was unique, and that he had gotten too much fame too soon at too early an age. Cut off from being nurtured by normal contact with society, fame had distorted Brando's personality and his ability to cope with the world, as he had not had time to grow up outside the limelight.
Truman Capote, who eviscerated Brando in print in the mid-'50s and had as much to do with the public perception of the dyslexic Brando as a dumbbell, always said that the best actors were ignorant, and that an intelligent person could not be a good actor. However, Brando was highly intelligent, and possessed of a rare genius in a then-deprecated art, acting. The problem that an intelligent performer has in movies is that it is the director, and not the actor, who has the power in his chosen field. Greatness in the other arts is defined by how much control the artist is able to exert over his chosen medium, but in movie acting, the medium is controlled by a person outside the individual artist. It is an axiom of the cinema that a performance, as is a film, is "created" in the cutting room, thus further removing the actor from control over his art. Brando had tried his hand at directing, in controlling the whole artistic enterprise, but he could not abide the cutting room, where a film and the film's performances are made. This lack of control over his art was the root of Brando's discontent with acting, with movies, and, eventually, with the whole wide world that invested so much cachet in movie actors, as long as "they" were at the top of the box-office charts. Hollywood was a matter of "they" and not the work, and Brando became disgusted.
Charlton Heston, who participated in Martin Luther King's 1963 March on Washington with Brando, believes that Marlon was the great actor of his generation. However, noting a story that Brando had once refused a role in the early 1960s with the excuse "How can I act when people are starving in India?", Heston believes that it was this attitude, the inability to separate one's idealism from one's work, that prevented Brando from reaching his potential. As Rod Steiger once said, Brando had it all, great stardom and a great talent. He could have taken his audience on a trip to the stars, but he simply would not. Steiger, one of Brando's children even though a contemporary, could not understand it. When James Mason' was asked in 1971 who was the best American actor, he had replied that since Brando had let his career go belly-up, it had to be George C. Scott, by default.
Paramount thought that only Laurence Olivier would suffice, but Lord Olivier was ill. The young director believed there was only one actor who could play godfather to the group of Young Turk actors he had assembled for his film, The Godfather of method acting himself - Marlon Brando. Francis Ford Coppola won the fight for Brando, Brando won - and refused - his second Oscar, and Paramount won a pot of gold by producing the then top-grossing film of all-time, The Godfather, a gangster movie most critics now judge one of the greatest American films of all time. Brando followed his iconic portrayal of Don Corleone with his Oscar-nominated turn in the high-grossing and highly scandalous Last Tango in Paris ("Last Tango in Paris"), the first film dealing explicitly with sexuality in which an actor of Brando's stature had participated. He was now again a Top-Ten box office star and once again heralded as the greatest actor of his generation, an unprecedented comeback that put him on the cover of "Time" magazine and would make him the highest-paid actor in the history of motion pictures by the end of the decade. Little did the world know that Brando, who had struggled through many projects in good faith during the 1960s, delivering some of his best acting, only to be excoriated and ignored as the films did not do well at the box office, essentially was through with the movies.
After reaching the summit of his career, a rarefied atmosphere never reached before or since by any actor, Brando essentially walked away. He would give no more of himself after giving everything as he had done in Last Tango in Paris", a performance that embarrassed him, according to his autobiography. Brando had come as close to any actor to being the "auteur," or author, of a film, as the English-language scenes of "Tango" were created by encouraging Brando to improvise. The improvisations were written down and turned into a shooting script, and the scripted improvisations were shot the next day. Pauline Kael, the Brando of movie critics in that she was the most influential arbiter of cinematic quality of her generation and spawned a whole legion of Kael wanna-bes, said Brando's performance in Last Tango in Paris had revolutionized the art of film. Brando, who had to act to gain his mother's attention; Brando, who believed acting at best was nothing special as everyone in the world engaged in it every day of their lives to get what they wanted from other people; Brando, who believed acting at its worst was a childish charade and that movie stardom was a whorish fraud, would have agreed with Sam Peckinpah's summation of Pauline Kael: "Pauline's a brilliant critic but sometimes she's just cracking walnuts with her ass." Probably in a simulacrum of those words, too.
After another three-year hiatus, Brando took on just one more major role for the next 20 years, as the bounty hunter after Jack Nicholson in Arthur Penn's The Missouri Breaks, a western that succeeded neither with the critics or at the box office. Following The Godfather and Tango, Brando's performance was disappointing for some reviewers, who accused him of giving an erratic and inconsistent performance. In 1977, Brando made a rare appearance on television in the miniseries Roots: The Next Generations, portraying George Lincoln Rockwell; he won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his performance. In 1978, he narrated the English version of Raoni, a French-Belgian documentary film directed by Jean-Pierre Dutilleux and Luiz Carlos Saldanha that focused on the life of Raoni Metuktire and issues surrounding the survival of the indigenous Indian tribes of north central Brazil.
Later in his career, Brando concentrated on extracting the maximum amount of capital for the least amount of work from producers, as when he got the Salkind brothers to pony up a then-record $3.7 million against 10% of the gross for 13 days work on Superman. Factoring in inflation, the straight salary for "Superman" equals or exceeds the new record of $1 million a day Harrison Ford set with K-19: The Widowmaker. He agreed to the role only on assurance that he would be paid a large sum for what amounted to a small part, that he would not have to read the script beforehand, and his lines would be displayed somewhere off-camera. Brando also filmed scenes for the movie's sequel, Superman II, but after producers refused to pay him the same percentage he received for the first movie, he denied them permission to use the footage.
Before cashing his first paycheck for Superman, Brando had picked up $2 million for his extended cameo in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now in a role, that of Col. Kurtz, that he authored on-camera through improvisation while Coppola shot take after take. It was Brando's last bravura star performance. He co-starred with George C. Scott and John Gielgud in The Formula, but the film was another critical and financial failure. Years later though, he did receive an eighth and final Oscar nomination for his supporting role in A Dry White Season after coming out of a near-decade-long retirement. Contrary to those who claimed he now only was in it for the money, Brando donated his entire seven-figure salary to an anti-apartheid charity. He then did an amusing performance in the comedy The Freshman, winning rave reviews. He portrayed Tomas de Torquemada in the historical drama 1492: Conquest of Paradise, but his performance was denounced and the film was another box office failure. He made another comeback in the Johnny Depp romantic drama Don Juan DeMarco, which co-starred Faye Dunaway as his wife. He then appeared in The Island of Dr. Moreau, co-starring Val Kilmer, who he didn't get along with. The filming was an unpleasant experience for Brando, as well as another critical and box office failure.
Brando had first attracted media attention at the age of 24, when "Life" magazine ran a photo of himself and his sister Jocelyn, who were both then appearing on Broadway. The curiosity continued, and snowballed. Playing the paraplegic soldier of The Men, Brando had gone to live at a Veterans Administration hospital with actual disabled veterans, and confined himself to a wheelchair for weeks. It was an acting method, research, that no one in Hollywood had ever heard of before, and that willingness to experience life.
Daryl Christine Hannah was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is the daughter of Susan Jeanne (Metzger), a schoolteacher and later a producer, and Donald Christian Hannah, who owned a tugboat/barge company. Her stepfather was music journalist/promoter Jerrold Wexler. Her siblings are Page Hannah, Don Hannah and Tanya Wexler. She has Norwegian, Scottish, Irish, English, and German ancestry.
Daryl graduated from the University of Southern California School of Theatre. She practiced ballet with Maria Tallchief and studied drama at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. In her twenties, she played keyboard and sang backup for Jackson Browne. Hannah, a tall (5' 10") blond beauty, with haunting blue-green eyes, was a natural for show biz.
She started with small roles, such as a student in The Fury and as Kim Basinger's kid sister in Hard Country. Daryl's breakout role was as the acrobatic, beautiful replicant punk android Pris in Blade Runner; Pris was the vixen who wanted to live beyond her allotted years and risked the wrath of the title character. Showing her versatility, from there she portrayed a mermaid, Madison, who falls in love with Tom Hanks's character in Ron Howard's zany comedy Splash, and a Cro-Magnon in The Clan of the Cave Bear. Hannah played Roxanne in the eponymous Steve Martins contemporary take on the Cyrano de Bergerac story, and co-starred as Elle Driver in Quintin Tarantino's box office hit Kill Bill: Vol. 2.
Hannah has been a consistent, strong supporter of independent cinema, both acting in and producing many films, starring in such indie films as John Sayles's Casa de los babys as well as his political satire Silver City. She worked on several films with the revered Robert Altman, including The Gingerbread Man, as well as several films with the Polish Brothers including Northfork and Jackpot. Daryl starred in the experimental improvised Michael Radford film Dancing at the Blue Iguana and made As a filmmaker, Hannah wrote, directed, and produced an award winning short film, entitled The Last Supper. Hannah also directed, produced and shot the documentary Strip Notes which was inspired while researching her role for Dancing at the Blue Iguana that was shown on HBO and UK's Channel 4. Daryl is in the process of shooting a documentary on Human Trafficking and has traveled undercover to South East Asia to document this atrocity and has become and advocates raising awareness and ending slavery. She has made over 40 video blogs for various websites including her popular dhlovelife.com. She designed dhlovelife.com (online since 2005) her website dedicated to sharing solutions on how to live more harmoniously with the planet and all other living things. Daryl has been passionate, committed and effective advocate for a more ethical relationship with each other and all life on the Planet. She has produced, hosted and shot numerous environmental awareness/ health documentaries, TV appearances and is a frequent speaker on both the conservative and progressive news.
Hannah has been a greening consultant for events such as the Virgin Music Festival, attended by over 150,000 people. Her many speaking engagements include keynote speeches at the UN Climate Change Summit, UN Global Business Conference on the environment,, Natural and Organic Products Expo, LOHAS and numerous national and international universities, conferences and events. She has written articles on self sufficiency and sustainability for many magazines and has done a plethora of interviews on the topic in thousands of publications. The site features weekly five-minute inspirational video blogs which Daryl produces and films. There are daily news updates, alerts, community and access to goods and services. She is a member of the World Future Council, sits on the boards of the Sylvia Earle Alliance, Mission Blue, Eco America, Environmental Media Association (EMA), The Somaly Mam Foundation, and the Action Sports Environmental Coalition, She is the founder of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance (SBA).
German-born composer Hans Zimmer is recognized as one of Hollywood's most innovative musical talents. He featured in the music video for The Buggles' single "Video Killed the Radio Star", which became a worldwide hit and helped usher in a new era of global entertainment as the first music video to be aired on MTV (August 1, 1981).
Zimmer entered the world of film music in London during a long collaboration with famed composer and mentor Stanley Myers, which included the film My Beautiful Laundrette. He soon began work on several successful solo projects, including the critically acclaimed A World Apart, and during these years Zimmer pioneered the use of combining old and new musical technologies. Today, this work has earned him the reputation of being the father of integrating the electronic musical world with traditional orchestral arrangements.
A turning point in Zimmer's career came in 1988 when he was asked to score Rain Man for director Barry Levinson. The film went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year and earned Zimmer his first Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Score. The next year, Zimmer composed the score for another Best Picture Oscar recipient, Driving Miss Daisy, starring Jessica Tandy, and Morgan Freeman.
Having already scored two Best Picture winners, in the early 1990s, Zimmer cemented his position as a pre-eminent talent with the award-winning score for The Lion King. The soundtrack has sold over 15 million copies to date and earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Score, a Golden Globe, an American Music Award, a Tony, and two Grammy Awards. In total, Zimmer's work has been nominated for 7 Golden Globes, 7 Grammys and seven Oscars for Rain Man, Gladiator, The Lion King, As Good as It Gets, The The Preacher's Wife, The Thin Red Line, The Prince of Egypt, and The Last Samurai.
With his career in full swing, Zimmer was anxious to replicate the mentoring experience he had benefited from under Stanley Myers' guidance. With state-of-the-art technology and a supportive creative environment, Zimmer was able to offer film-scoring opportunities to young composers at his Santa Monica-based musical "think tank." This approach helped launch the careers of such notable composers as Mark Mancina, John Powell, Harry Gregson-Williams, Nick Glennie-Smith, and Klaus Badelt.
In 2000, Zimmer scored the music for Gladiator, for which he received an Oscar nomination, in addition to Golden Globe and Broadcast Film Critics Awards for his epic score. It sold more than three million copies worldwide and spawned a second album Gladiator: More Music From The Motion Picture, released on the Universal Classics/Decca label. Zimmer's other scores that year included Mission: Impossible II, The Road to El Dorado, and An Everlasting Piece, directed by Barry Levinson.
Some of his other impressive scores include Pearl Harbor, The Ring, four films directed by Ridley Scott; Matchstick Men, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down, and Thelma & Louise, Penny Marshall's Riding in Cars with Boys, and A League of Their Own, Tony Scott's True Romance, Tears of the Sun, Ron Howard's Backdraft, Days of Thunder, Smilla's Sense of Snow, and the animated Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron for which he also co-wrote four of the songs with Bryan Adams, including the Golden Globe nominated Here I Am.
At the 27th annual Flanders International Film Festival, Zimmer performed live for the first time in concert with a 100-piece orchestra and a 100-piece choir. Choosing selections from his impressive body of work, Zimmer performed newly orchestrated concert versions of Gladiator, Mission: Impossible II, Rain Man, The Lion King, and The Thin Red Line. The concert was recorded by Decca and released as a concert album entitled "The Wings Of A Film: The Music Of Hans Zimmer."
Last year, Zimmer completed his 100th film score for the film The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise, for which he received both a Golden Globe and a Broadcast Film Critics nomination. Recently, Zimmer scored Nancy Meyers' comedy Something's Gotta Give, the animated Dreamworks film, Shark Tale (featuring voices of Will Smith, Renée Zellweger, Robert De Niro, Jack Black, and Martin Scorsese), and most recently, Jim Brooks' Spanglish starring Adam Sandler and Téa Leoni (for which he also received a Golden Globe nomination). His upcoming projects include Paramount's The Weather Man starring Nicolas Cage, Dreamworks' Madagascar, and highly anticipated Warner Bros. summer release, Batman Begins.
Zimmer's additional honors and awards include the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in Film Composition from the National Board of Review, and the Frederick Loewe Award in 2003 at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. He has also received ASCAP's Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime Achievement. Hans and his wife live in Los Angeles and he is the father of four children.
The very lovely, vivacious and smart-looking Joanna Cassidy was born in Camden, New Jersey, and raised in nearby Haddonfield, a borough located in Camden County. She grew up in a creative environment as the daughter and granddaughter of artists. At an early age she engaged in painting and sculpture and went on to major in art at Syracuse University in New York. During her time there she married Kennard C. Kobrin in 1964, a doctor in residency, and found work as a fashion model to help work his way to a degree. The couple eventually moved to San Francisco, where her husband set up a psychiatric practice; Joanna continued modeling and gave birth to a son and daughter. Following their divorce ten years later, she decided to move to Los Angeles in a bid for an acting career.
In between modeling chores and occasional commercial gigs, the reddish-haired beauty found minor, decorative work as an actress in such action fare as Steve McQueen's thriller Bullitt, the Jason Robards drama Fools, The Laughing Policeman starring Walter Matthau and The Outfit with Robert Duvall. Her first co-starring role came opposite George C. Scott in the offbeat comedy caper Bank Shot.
Television became an important medium for her in the late 1970s, with guest parts on all the popular shows of the time, both comedic and dramatic, including Dallas. Trapper John, M.D., Taxi, Starsky and Hutch, Charlie's Angels, Lou Grant and a recurring role on Falcon Crest. A regular on the sketch/variety show Shields and Yarnell, which showcased the popular mime couple, Joanna languished in three failed series attempts--The Roller Girls, 240-Robert and The Family Tree--before hitting the jackpot with the sitcom Buffalo Bill opposite Dabney Coleman, in which she finally had the opportunity to demonstrate her flair for offbeat comedy. The show became that's season's critical darling, with Coleman playing a vain, sexist, obnoxious talk show host (a variation of his popular 9 to 5 film character) and Joanna received a Golden Globe for her resourceful portrayal of Jo Jo White, the director of his show and romantic foil for Coleman, who stood toe-to-toe with his antics.
The 1980s also brought about positive, critical reception for Joanna on film as well, especially in a number of showy portrayals, notably her snake-dancing replicant in the futuristic sci-fi thriller Blade Runner, her radio journalist involved with Nick Nolte and Ed Harris in the political drama Under Fire and her co-starring role in a wacky triangle with Bob Hoskins and a hyperkinetic hare in the highly ambitious part toon/part fantasy film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Back on the TV front she was seen in recurring roles on L.A. Law, Diagnosis Murder, The District and Boston Legal.
Since then Joanna has juggled a number of quality film and TV assignments, a definitive highlight being her Emmy-nominated recurring role as a quirky, capricious mother/psychiatrist in the cult cable series Six Feet Under. More recently she has taken part in more controversial film work that contain stronger social themes such as Anthrax, a Canadian political thriller whose storyline feeds on the fear of terrorism; The Virgin of Juarez, which chronicled the murders of hundreds of Mexican women; and the gay-themed pictures Kiss the Bride and Anderson's Cross.
Off-camera Joanna is devoted to her art (painting, sculpting) and is a dedicated animal activist as well as golfer and antique collector. She presently resides in the Los Angeles area with her dogs.
Tall (6' 4"), agile, energetic, and ever-so-confident as both actor and singer, especially on the award-winning Broadway stage, Barry Bostwick possesses that certain narcissistic poise, charm and élan that reminds one instantly (and humorously) of a Kevin Kline -- both were quite brilliant in their respective interpretations of The Pirate King in "The Pirates of Penzance". Yet, for all his diverse talents (he is a Golden Globe winner and was nominated for the Tony Award three times, winning once), Barry is indelibly caught in a time warp. Even today, 35 years after the fact, he is indelibly associated with the role of nerdy hero Brad Majors in the midnight movie phenomena The Rocky Horror Picture Show. While it is extremely flattering to be a part of such a cult institution, Barry's acting legacy deserves much more than this.
He was born Barry Knapp Bostwick on February 24, 1945, in San Mateo, California, one of two sons of Elizabeth "Betty" (Defendorf) and Bud Bostwick (Henry Bostwick), a city planner and actor. A student at San Mateo High School, he and his elder brother Peter use to put on musicals and puppet shows for the neighborhood kids. Barry attended San Diego's United States International University's School for the Performing Arts in 1967, and switched from music to drama during the course of his studies. He also worked occasionally as a circus performer, which would come in handy on the musical stage down the line. He subsequently moved to New York and attended the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University.
Making his stage debut at age 22 in a production of "Take Her, She's Mine," Barry performed in a number of non-musical roles in such productions of "War and Peace" (1968) and "The Misanthrope (1968). Making his 1969 Broadway debut in "Cock-a-Doodle Dandy", which ran in tandem with "Hamlet" in which he was featured as Osric, it was his portrayal of the swaggering, leather jacket-wearing 50s "bad boy" Danny Zuko in the 1972 Broadway high-school musical smash "Grease" that put Barry's name prominently and permanently on the marquee signs. Originating the role, he was nominated for a Tony but lost out that year to the older generation (Phil Silvers for "A Funny Thing Happened...").
In the midst of all this star-making hoopla, Barry was also breaking into films with a minor role in Jennifer on My Mind and leading parts in the comedy spoofs Road Movie and The Wrong Damn Film. It all paled after winning the role as Susan Sarandon's simp of a boyfriend in the The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which featured a delicious Tim Curry camping it up as a transvestite monster-maker. The movie, based on the macabre 1973 British stage musical "The Rocky Horror Show," packed the midnight movie houses with costumed fans replicating every move and, word and offering puns and props aplenty in recapturing the insanity of the show.
While the "Rocky" association hit like a tornado, Barry ventured on and tried to distance himself. He created sparks again on Broadway, garnering a second Tony nomination for the comedy revival "They Knew What They Wanted" in 1976. He finally took home the trophy the following year for the musical "The Robber Bridegroom" (1977), which relied again on his patented bluff and bravado as a Robin Hood-like hero. Following top roles in the musicals "She Loves Me" and "The Pirates of Penzance", Barry turned rewardingly to film and TV.
The two-part feature Movie Movie, which played like an old-style double feature, was a great success, performing alongside esteemed actor George C. Scott. Barry excelled in both features, but especially the musical parody. He fared just as well on the smaller screen in TV movies, playing everything from historical icons (George Washington) to preening matinée idols (John Gilbert), and winning a Golden Globe for his role as a military officer in the epic miniseries War and Remembrance. A variety of interesting roles followed in glossy, soap-styled fare, farcical comedies and period drama.
A welcomed return to Broadway musicals in the form of "Nick & Nora" (he as sleuth Nick "The Thin Man" Charles) was marred when the glitzy production folded after only nine perfs. Instead, the prematurely grey-haired actor found steadier success in sitcoms as a smug comedy foil to Michael J. Fox playing Mayor Randall Winston for six seasons in Spin City. He later enjoyed a recurring role as a dauntless attorney on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Then again, Barry could be spotted pitching items in commercials or hamming it up in family-oriented Disneyesque entertainment in the "Parent Trap" and "101 Dalmatian" mold.
In 1997, Bostwick was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 10 days later had his prostate removed. The operation was successful and in 2004, he won the Gilda Radner Courage Award from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Just a year earlier he appeared on an episode of "Scrubs" as a patient also having prostate cancer. Barry married somewhat late in life. For a brief time he was wed to actress Stacey Nelkin (1987-1991), but has since become a father of two, Brian and Chelsea, with second wife Sherri Jensen Bostwick, an actress who appeared with Barry in the TV movie Praying Mantis.
Brion James was born February 20, 1945, in Redlands, California, to Ida Mae (Buckelew) and Jimmy James. The family soon moved to Beaumont, California (between Los Angeles and Palm Springs), where his parents built and operated a movie theater, where stars such as Gene Autry would occasionally stop by. After graduating from Beaumont High School in 1962, Brion attended San Diego State University, majoring in theater arts. Upon graduation he moved to New York to study acting while working a variety of jobs to support himself in the early years. He also did a stint in the National Guard. He and fellow actor Tim Thomerson served in the army together and later made several films together. A veteran of over 100 television and 120+ movie roles, James is best remembered for roles such as the replicant Leon in Blade Runner, Gen. Munro in The Fifth Element, Big Teddy in Cabin Boy, Max Jenke in The Horror Show (his personal favorite) as well as countless other parts in films like Southern Comfort, The Player, Tango & Cash, 48 Hrs., Another 48 Hrs., Enemy Mine and Silverado. Brion is survived by two brothers, Craig James of Scottsdale, Arizona, Chester James of Beaumont, California and their families.
An only child, Emmanuelle was born Paulette Germaine Riva in Cheniménil, but eventually grew up in Remiremont. Her mother, Jeanne Fernande Nourdin, was a seamstress. Her father, René Alfred [Alfredo] Riva, was a sign writer. Her paternal grandfather was Italian. She dreamed of becoming an actress since she was six, so that the entire world would take notice of her. This ambition was, however, to be met with firm opposition from her own family. Emmanuelle's father, a strict disciplinarian to whom the word "actress" was basically a synonym for "prostitute", disapproved of her way of thinking, since it clashed with the simple values he wished to pass on to her. Emmanuelle felt great affection towards her parents, but, at the same time, was under the impression that they couldn't really understand what she wanted. A bit of a tomboy and a rebel in her schooldays, she showed little interest in studying, but always directed her passion towards acting, appearing in every year-end play. In her early 20's, Emmanuelle was to find out the true meaning of nervous depression. Having completed the seamstress apprenticeship she had started at age 15, she eventually resigned herself to take up this profession, also discouraged by the thought that, in a city like Remiremont, the only possible alternative was to become a hairdresser. The sense of boredom that was weighing her down actually got so devouring that sewing sort of became the only form of escape from the horror of her everyday reality. But luckily, things were soon to change for the better. The day Emmanuelle discovered the announcement of a contest at the Dramatic Arts Centre of Rue Blanche was the day she found the courage to stand up to her parents and state that she would have traveled to Paris to become an actress. Having finally understood the depth of her sadness, her family couldn't oppose her wishes any longer, so, on the 13th May of 1953, she arrived in Paris.
At the Rue Blanche contest, Emmanuelle auditioned in front of one of the leading actors and directors of the Comédie-Française, the great Jean Meyer. She acted one scene from "On ne badine pas avec l'Amour" by Alfred de Musset. Meyer and the other acting teachers in the jury were just mesmerized by her performance and immediately realized that they had found the next big thing. It goes without saying that Emmanuelle was awarded a scholarship and Meyer himself decided to take her as his own pupil. At 26, Riva was too old to enter the French National Academy of Dramatic Arts, but she soon got her big break anyway, since French stage pillar René Dupuy cast her in a production of George Bernard Shaw's "Arms and the Man". Her next theatrical credits were "Mrs.Warren's Profession" (Shaw), "L'espoir" (Henri Bernstein), "Le dialogue des Carmélites" (Georges Bernanos), Britannicus (Jean Racine), "Il seduttore" (Diego Fabbri). Emmanuelle's small screen debut was in a 1957 episode of the history program Énigmes de l'histoire, "Le Chevalier d'Éon". In the program, she played the Queen of England opposite Marcelle Ranson-Hervé as the cross-dressing knight in the service of the French crown. 1958, on the other hand, was the year that saw her first film appearance, an uncredited role in the Jean Gabin movie The Possessors. The following year would, however, mark a turning point in her career. Emmanuelle was starring in the Dominique Rolin play "L'Epouvantail" at the "théatre de L'Oeuvre" in Paris when one night she found a visitor in her dressing room. His name was Alain Resnais and he was a young director responsible for a few shorts and documentaries (including the Holocaust-themed masterpiece Night and Fog). He was apparently looking for the female lead of his first feature film, Hiroshima Mon Amour, based on a script by the great author, Marguerite Duras. Having seen a picture of Riva in a playbill of the production she was starring in, Resnais had immediately urged to see her. Without promising her anything, the director just asked Emmanuelle if he could take a few photos of her, so that he would have later shown them to Duras for a response. In addition to this, he also invited her at his place where he filmed her reciting some lines from "Arms and the Man". When he brought Duras the material, the author set her eyes on Emmanuelle's melancholic, enigmatic expression and immediately realized that they had found the one they were looking for. "Hiroshima Mon Amour" turned out to be one of the most acclaimed and representative movies of the French New Wave and launched both Resnais and Riva's careers in full orbit. Being somehow familiar with a sense of captivity, Emmanuelle gave an incredibly personal and involving performance as the unnamed heroine of the movie, and it was one that came straight from her heart. Playing an actress from Nevers who develops a love affection towards a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) while filming an anti-war movie in Hiroshima, Emmanuelle helped modernizing acting and female figures in film through an intimate, almost minimalistic woman portrayal that was quite unlike anything else that had been seen on the silver screen to that moment. Speaking her character's thoughts through a great deal of voice-over that would give the viewer costant access to her mind (making for an unusual amount of psychological introspection) , she could masterfully translate every last one of these feelings to subtle facial expressions whose richness and eloquence made her face the mirror of the compex soul she was baring before the camera. Combining this heartfelt approach with a refined diction that would perfectly deliver Duras' deep, existentialist lines of dialogue, she gave the world a new type of heroine who, while set apart by a distinctive intellectual charm, remained very humanly relatable. This ground-breaking acting was greatly praised by the critics of the time who were most open to innovation, including some that would become masters of revolutionary cinema themselves. Jean-Luc Godard stated: "Let's take the character played by Emmanuelle Riva. If you ran into her on the street, or saw her every day, I think she would only be of interest to a very limited number of people. But in the film she interests everyone. For me, she's the kind of girl who works at the "Editions du Seuil" or for "L'Express", a kind of 1959 George Sand. A priori, she doesn't interest me, because I prefer the kind of girl you see in [Renato] Castellani's film. This said, Resnais has directed Emmanuelle Riva in such a prodigious way that now I want to read books from "Le Seuil" or "L'Express". This was Éric Rohmer's take on Riva's 'Elle': " She isn't a classical heroine, at least not one that a certain classical cinema has habituated us to see, from David Griffith to 'Nicholas Ray'. Jacques Doniol-Valcroze summed her up this way: "She is unique. It's the first time that we've seen on the screen an adult woman with an interiority and a capacity for reasoning pushed to such a degree. Emmanuelle Riva is a modern adult woman because she is not an adult woman. She is, on the contrary, very childlike, guided by her impulses alone and not by her ideas". And Jean Domarchi commented that "In a sense, Hiroshima is a documentary on Emmanuelle Riva". The phenomenal intelligence and dramatic intensity of Emmanuelle's performance made "Elle" one of the most indelible characters in film history: however, while Duras' screenplay received an Oscar nomination while her star-making turn was sadly overlooked by the Academy. At least she won the "Étoile de Cristal" (the top film award given in France between 1955 and 1975 by the "Académie française" and later replaced by the César) for Best Actress for her work in the movie.
One year later, Emmanuelle was known as a major talent and, consequently, plenty of directors from different nationalities were knocking at her door. She followed her Hiroshima success with two acclaimed turns in The Eighth Day and Recourse in Grace. In addition to playing these leading roles for French cinema, a scene-stealing Riva was also seen as Simone Signoret's feisty friend in Antonio Pietrangeli's excellent Adua e le compagne and gave the standout performance in Gillo Pontecorvo's superb Kapò as a Jewish prisoner in a concentration camp. Enter 1961: another year, another career highlight. Emmanuelle was cast opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo in Jean-Pierre Melville's ground-breaking (and shocking for its time) Léon Morin, Priest. In the movie, Riva's Barny, an atheist widow, and Belmondo's Morin, a young and seductive priest, develop a deep, theological relationship with strong sexual implications. Melville cast Emmanuelle thinking that she possessed the kind of intellectual eroticism the character needed and decided to demean her appearance as much as possible by having her dressed in the plainest clothes, so that Barny's major appeal would have been the cultural vivacity shining through her beautiful facial features. Riva and Belmondo's performances turned out to be outstanding and the film, against all odds, ended up being a big success. Riva next appeared in Climats, the first (and only) feature film of TV writer and director Stellio Lorenzi, the man behind celebrated history programs such as La caméra explore le temps and its immediate predecessor, "Énigmes de L'Histoire", where Emmanuelle had done her screen debut. Adapting André Maurois' novel, Lorenzi hired Emmanuelle seeing her great interpretative sensitivity as being close to the nature of the character she would have played in the movie, also starring Jean-Pierre Marielle and Marina Vlady. In the story, Marielle is torn between sacred and profane love, leaving Vlady's vain and frivolous Odile for Riva's kind and good-hearted Isabelle. The same year, Emmanuelle scored another huge personal triumph as the title heroine of Georges Franju's Therese. Her performance as François Mauriac's ill-fated 20th century Emma Bovary was a true masterpiece of psychological introspection: she perfectly captured all the key traits of the character at once, making her vulnerability coexist with her spirit of rebellion and her desire for freedom go along with a strong sense of self-destruction. Emmanuelle's work in the movie won her enormous raves and a sacred, unanimous Volpi Cup at Venice Film Festival. For the rest of the 60's (her golden period), Emmanuelle kept playing leading roles in French and Italian movies alike and also kept expanding her work to the TV medium. She found excellent, showcasing roles both in Thomas the Impostor (where she was directed by Franju for the second and last time) and in the lovely comedy The Hours of Love where she enjoyed a very unusual kind of wedding to Ugo Tognazzi. The third segment of I Kill, You Kill paired her for the first time with Jean-Louis Trintignant. In this story of "Amour Fou", Riva plays a woman willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save Trintignant's character, a man undeserving of her affection. Some TV work the actress did in this decade deserves to be noted as well. She reprised the role of Thérèse Desqueyroux in La fin de la nuit, a dark and crepuscular adaptation of the Mauriac novel of the same name. This sequel follows Thérèse as she relocates to Paris where she has nothing to do but waiting for death to come. The TV play La forêt noire, a fictionalized retelling of the relationship between Brahms and the Schumanns, featured another remarkable Riva performance, and so did Caterina, which saw her taking on the role of Caterina Cornaro.
Going into the 70's and 80's, it wasn't easy for Emmanuelle to keep replicating the impact of her early performances and, while she always played leading roles in her native France, the majority of her movies didn't have a great international resonance. Misguided productions like Fernando Arrabal's I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse proved totally unworthy of her talent. Like her contemporaries Delphine Seyrig, Bernadette Lafont, Bulle Ogier and Edith Scob, she liked to pick alternative, anti-mainstream projects, stating that she had no interest in doing things that had already been done before. In this period, she declined countless roles because she found them too traditional and, as a direct consequence of this, most directors stopped making her any more offers. Between 1982 and 1983 she was served with another couple of meaty parts to sink her teeth into. The first was in Marco Bellocchio's The Eyes, the Mouth (an underrated sequel of sorts to Fists in the Pocket) as the mother of Lou Castel, here taking on the role of Giovanni, the actor who had supposedly played Alessandro in the classic movie. The second was in Philippe Garrel's poignant Liberté, la nuit where she was paired with the director's father, the glorious actor, Maurice Garrel. In the subsequent years, Emmanuelle always found work in respectable productions, with the great director occasionally calling her for a project of superior quality (like Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors: Blue) but the great roles seemed to be way behind her by now. In 2008, she had a nice cameo in Un homme et son chien, a French remake of Umberto D. which reunited her with her "Léon Morin, prêtre" co-star, Jean-Paul Belmondo. Riva briefly appears in the movie as a gentle lady who meets Belmondo's character -not coincidentally- in a church. She was soon to enjoy, however, an incredible and unforeseen career renaissance.
In 2010, Emmanuelle was cast in Michael Haneke's latest movie, Amour. The script managed as well to get Jean-Louis Trintignant out of retirement and frequent Haneke collaborator Isabelle Huppert also got on board for the ride. Haneke had written the script with precisely Trintignant in mind, but hadn't already thought of a specific actress to play the leading female role. The director had greatly admired Emmanuelle's performance in "Hiroshima Mon Amour", but wasn't much familiar with her subsequent work. Still, a recent photo of hers lead him to think that she would have been believable as Trintignant's wife and decided to audition her along with a few other actresses her age. It soon became obvious that she was the best choice in the world. The Austrian director's most recent masterpiece follows Georges (Trintignant) and Anne (Riva), a long time married couple whose life changes drastically when she suffers a stroke. An incredibly deep reflection about the two most important components of life, love and death, Haneke's heartbreaking movie took Cannes film festival by storm, making obvious from the day it was screened that no other film had the slightest possibility to win the Golden Palm. A fundamental part of "Amour"'s success were of course the immense central performances of its two leads. Jury president Nanni Moretti would have liked to give "Amour" the main festival prize along with top acting honors for its two veteran stars, but unfortunately a festival rule forbids to give any other major award to the Golden Palm winner. Moretti was displeased by this, but he still managed to find a way to recognize Trintignant and Riva's work. Although the Best Actor Award went to Mads Mikkelsen for The Hunt and the Best Actress Award was given to Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur for Beyond the Hills, the Golden Palm which the director was awarded was given alongside a special mention to the film's leads for their indispensable work. All three were invited on the stage to make an acceptance speech: it was one of the highest honors a thespian could ever dream of. Although Haneke remains the only official recipient of the Palm, Riva and Trintignant were, in spirit, the big acting winners of the 65th edition of the prestigious film festival. But the love for "Amour" wasn't to end here. After it amazed the audience at Toronto film festival, it became clear that the film would have done this over and over while getting screened all around the globe. Further accolades for the movie came at the end of November, when it scored an impressive four wins at the European Film Awards (Picture, Director, Actor and Actress). In the following weeks, Emmanuelle also racked up a good share of critic awards in America, including wins from major groups such as the National Society of Film Critics. On Oscar nominations day, Emmanuelle's performance was recognized along with the movie, its director and its screenplay. Having traveled to New York to attend the 2013 National Board of Review awards (where Amour had been named "Best Foreign Language Film"), Emmanuelle was still there when, bright and early, her room neighbors' jubilation cheers told her that she had been nominated. In great humbleness, she stated that she didn't expect it because 'there's plenty of talented people everywhere'. Shortly after, she also added a BAFTA to her mantle. After her triumph, Culture and communication Minister Aurélie Filippetti complimented Emmanuelle on her charisma and on the quality of her performance and stated that she would have defended France's colors at the upcoming Oscars. Emmanuelle's next appointment was with an overdue first César. After receiving a well-deserved standing ovation, she made a very beautiful and moving speech, quoting Von Kleist and paying homage to Maurice Garrel. A couple of days later she attended the Oscars and eventually failed to win the award, but this couldn't change the fact that she had made history already. Having always been in possession of one of cinema's most expressive faces, being equally effective with her physical language and having displayed unsurpassable courage and honesty in portraying the deterioration of Anne's body and soul, Emmanuelle gave a performance that went beyond every linguistic barrier and strongly touched and affected everyone who saw it. Her stunning work is for the ages.
Having hit such a high note near the end of her film career, it seems only natural that Emmanuelle did the same thing on the Parisian stage shortly after, scoring a new triumph in Didier Bezace's production of Marguerite Duras' play "Savannah Bay", which marked her theatrical return after a 13 years absence. Acting a text of the celebrated author who had penned the movie which had simultaneously given her immediate fame and screen immortality was the most inspired way to bring her exceptional career to full circle. Duras had written the part (originally performed by Madeleine Renaud) on the condition that only an actress no longer in the spring of youth would have played it: disregarding this wish would have been a mistake, but it must be added that no other actress in the same age range and associated with the author could have been an equally perfect choice. Wearing that slightly absent look loaded with a mixture of vulnerability and melancholy that only she can do so effectively, the actress reached- for the few, privileged ones who witnessed this new achievement- some basically unmatchable levels of heartbreak, repeating several times the words 'mon amour' to such an involving and powerful effect no one else could have produced. The actress stated that she would have probably refused to ever return to the stage hadn't she been offered this part. And her choice was, once again, a winning one. Emmanuelle kept working regularly for the next two years-- shooting films and doing poetry recitals all around Europe-- until she died on the 27 January 2017 after a secret battle with cancer. As profoundly devastating as the news of this artistic and human loss were, the world had to salute with utmost admiration a woman who, true to her formidable spirit, always lived a life that was determined by the choices she wanted.
Now, considering that she won her first audience by acting one scene from "On ne badine pas avec l'Amour" in front of her future mentor, got her international consecration by playing the leading role in "Hiroshima Mon Amour" and rose from her ashes with her superlative work in "Amour", one can conclude that the word Amour is most definitely a good luck charm to Emmanuelle Riva.
Peter Malota was born in Malesia, Albania. He is from the very small village called Lofka. He moved to Detroit, Michigan and then Los Angeles to train and to be in movies. In the last 18 years he has worked as a martial arts fight coordinator, actor, 2nd unit director, and stunt coordinator. Malota has 30 plus years of experience in martial arts. He started working with Jean Claude Van Damme in 1990. This was Van Dammes first major Hollywood studio movie, Double Impact. Peter was the martial arts fight choreographer and actor on the film. Malota continued a successful partnership with Van Damme, taking responsibility for handling all martial arts fight coordinating, action directing and training Van Damme, on Universal soldier, Nowhere to Run,The Quest, Desert Heat/Inferno, Universal Soldier The Return, Replicant, The Order, and Kumite. Malota has worked with some of Hollywood's top action directors, including Vic Armstrong, Sheldon Lettich, Peter McDonald, Ringo Lam, Roland Emmerich, Mic Rogers and David Worth.
Floria Sigismondi is a photographer and director. Apart from her art exhibitions she is best known for directing music videos. Her trademark dilating, jittery camerawork, noticeable as early as her video for Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People", has been replicated by a great number of directors since. Her parents, Lina and Domenico Sigismondi, were opera singers. Her family, including her sister Antonella, moved to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada when she was two. In her childhood she became obsessed by drawing and painting. Later, from 1987 she studied painting and illustration at the Ontario College of Art, today's Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD). When she took a photography course, she became obsessed once more, and graduated with a photography major. Floria started a career as a fashion photographer. She came to directing music videos when she was approached by the production company The Revolver Film Co., and directed music videos for a number of Canadian bands. Her very innovative, but also very disturbing video works, located in sceneries she once described as "entropic underworlds inhabited by tortured souls and omnipotent beings", attracted a number of very prominent musicians. With her photography and sculpture installations she had solo exhibitions in Hamilton and Toronto, New York, Brescia, Italy, Göteborg, Sweden and London. Her photographs also were included in numerous group exhibitions, together with those of photographers like Cindy Sherman and Joel-Peter Witkin. The German art press Die Gestalten Verlag has published two monographs of her photography, "Redemption" (1999) and "Immune" (2005).
|James Wong Howe
Master cinematographer James Wong Howe, whose career stretched from silent pictures through the mid-'70s, was born Wong Tung Jim in Canton (now Guangzhou), China, on August 28, 1899, the son of Wong How. His father emigrated to America the year James was born, settling in Pasco, Washington, where he worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Wong How eventually went into business for himself in Pasco, opening a general store, which he made a success, despite the bigotry of the locals.
When he was five years old, Wong Tung Jim joined his father in the US. His childhood was unhappy due to the discrimination he faced, which manifested itself in racist taunting by the neighborhood children. To get the kids to play with him, Jimmie often resorted to bribing them with candy from his father's store. When Jimmie, as he was known to his friends and later to his co-workers in the movie industry, was about 12 years old he bought a Kodak Brownie camera from a drugstore. Though his father was an old-fashioned Chinese, suspicious about having his picture taken and opposed to his new hobby, Jimmie went ahead and photographed his brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, when the photos were developed, the heads of his siblings had been cut off, as the Brownie lacked a viewfinder.
His childhood dream was to be a prizefighter, and as a teenager he moved to Oregon to fight. However, his interest soon waned, and he moved to Los Angeles, where he got a job as an assistant to a commercial photographer. His duties included making deliveries, but he was fired when he developed some passport photos for a friend in the firm's darkroom. Reduced to making a living as a busboy at the Beverly Hills Hotel, he journeyed down to Chinatown on Sundays to watch movies being shot there.
Jimmie Howe made the acquaintance of a cameraman on one of the location shoots, who suggested he give the movies a try. He got hired by the Jesse Lasky Studios' photography department at the princely sum of $10 per week, but the man in charge thought he was too little to lug equipment around, so he assigned Jimmie custodial work. Thus the future Academy Award-wining cinematographer James Wong Howe's first job in Hollywood was picking up scraps of nitrate stock from the cutting-room floor (more important than it sounds, as nitrate fires in editing rooms were not uncommon). The job allowed him to familiarize himself with movie cameras, lighting equipment and the movie film-development process.
His was a genuine Horatio Alger "Up From His Bootstraps" narrative, as by 1917 he had graduated from editing room assistant to working as a slate boy on Cecil B. DeMille's pictures. The promotion came when DeMille needed all his camera assistants to man multiple cameras on a film. This left no one to hold the chalkboard identifying each scene as a header as the take is shot on film, so Jimmie was drafted and given the title "fourth assistant cameraman. He endeared himself to DeMille when the director and his production crew were unable to get a canary to sing for a close-up. The fourth assistant cameraman lodged a piece of chewing gum in the bird's beak, and as it moved its beak to try to dislodge the gum, it looked like the canary was singing. DeMille promptly gave Jimmie a 50% raise.
In 1919 he was being prepared for his future profession of cameraman. "I held the slate on Male and Female", he told George C. Pratt in an interview published 60 years later, "and when Mr. DeMille rehearsed a scene, I had to crank a little counter . . . and I would have to grind 16 frames per second. And when he stopped, I would have to give him the footage. He wanted to know how long the scene ran. So besides writing the slate numbers down and keeping a report, I had to turn this crank. That was the beginning of learning how to turn 16 frames".
Because of the problem with early orthochromatic film registering blue eyes on screen, Howe was soon promoted to operating cameraman at Paramount (the new name for the Lasky Studio), where his talents were noted. A long-time photography buff, Jimmie Howe enjoyed taking still pictures and made extra money photographing the stars. One of his clients was professional "sweet young thing" Mary Miles Minter, of the William Desmond Taylor shooting scandal, who praised Jimmie's photographs because they made her pale blue eyes, which did not register well on film, look dark. When she asked him if he could replicate the effect on motion picture film, he told her he could, and she offered him a job as her cameraman.
Howe did not know how he'd made Minter's eyes look dark, but he soon realized that the reflection of a piece of black velvet at the studio that had been tacked up near his still camera had cast a shadow in her eyes, causing them to register darkly. Promoted to Minter's cameraman, he fashioned a frame of black velvet through which the camera's lens could protrude; filming Minter's close-ups with the device darkened her eyes, just as she desired. The studio was abuzz with the news that Minter had acquired a mysterious Chinese cameraman who made her blue eyes register on film. Since other blue-eyed actors had the same problem, they began to demand that Jimmie shoot them, and a cinematography star was born.
Jimmie Howe was soon advanced beyond operating cameraman to lighting cameraman (called "director of photography" in Hollywood) on Minter's Drums of Fate, and he served as director of photography on The Trail of the Lonesome Pine the next year. As a lighting cameraman he was much in demand, and started to freelance. Notable silent pictures on which he served as the director of photography include Paramount's Mantrap, starring "It Girl" Clara Bow, and MGM's Laugh, Clown, Laugh, starring silent superstar John Gilbert opposite Joan Crawford.
The cinematography on "Mantrap" was his breakthrough as a star lighting cameraman, in which his lighting added enormously to bringing out Clara Bow's sex appeal. He bathed Bow in a soft glow, surrounding the flapper with shimmering natural light, transforming her into a seemingly three-dimensional sex goddess. Even at this early a stage in his career, Howe had developed a solid aesthetic approach to film, based on inventive, expressive lighting. The film solidified his reputation as a master in the careful handling of female subjects, a rep that would get him his last job a half-century later, on ;Barbra Streisand''s Funny Lady.
Jimmie Howe journeyed back to China at the end of the decade to shoot location backgrounds for a movie about China he planned to make as a director. Though the movie was never made, the footage was later used in Josef von Sternberg's Shanghai Express. When he returned to the US, Hollywood was in the midst of a technological upheaval as sound pictures were finishing off the silent movie, which had matured into a medium of expression now being hailed as "The Seventh Art." The silent film, in a generation, had matured into a set art form with its own techniques of craftsmanship, and pictures like 7th Heaven and The Bridge of San Luis Rey generally were thought to be examples of the "photoplay" reaching perfection as a medium. This mature medium now was violently overthrown by the revolutionary upstart, Sound. The talkies had arrived.
The Hollywood Howe returned to was in a panic. All the wisdom about making motion pictures had been jettisoned by nervous studio heads, and the new Hollywood dogma held that only cameramen with experience in sound cinematography could shoot the new talking pictures, thus freezing out many cameramen who had recently been seen as master craftsmen in the silent cinema. Director William K. Howard, who was in pre-production with his film Transatlantic, wanted Jimmie Howe's expertise. Having just acquired some new lenses with $700 of his own money, Howe shot some tests for the film, which impressed the studio enough to gave Howard permission to hire Jimmie to shoot it.
Once again, his career thrived and he was much in demand. He earned the sobriquet "Low-Key Howe" for his low-contrast lighting of interiors, exerting aesthetic control over the dark spots of a frame in the way that a great musician "played" the silences between notes. In 1933 he gave up freelancing and started working in-house at MGM, where he won a reputation for efficiency. He shot The Thin Man in 18 days and Manhattan Melodrama in 28 days. It was at MGM that he became credited as "James Wong Howe". Howe's original screen credit was "James Howe" or "Jimmie Howe", but during his early years at MGM "Wong" was added to his name by the front office, "for exotic flair", and his salary reached $500 a week. After shooting 15 pictures for MGM, he moved over to Warner Bros. for Algiers, garnering him his first Academy Award nomination. Studio boss Jack L. Warner was so thrilled by Howe's work with Hedy Lamarr that he signed Jimmie to a seven-year contract. James Wong Howe shot 26 movies at Warners through 1947, and four others on loanout to other studios.
A master at the use of shadow, Howe was one of the first DPs to use deep-focus cinematography, photography in which both foreground and distant planes remain in focus. His camerawork typically was unobtrusive, but could be quite spectacular when the narrative called for it. In the context of the studio-bound production of the time, Wong Howe's lighting sense is impressive given his use of location shooting. Citic James Agee called him one of "the few men who use this country for background as it ought to be used in films." Wong Howe used backgrounds to elucidate the psychology of the film's characters and their psychology, such as in Pursued, where the austere desert landscape serves to highlight the tortured psyche of Robert Mitchum's character.
Wong Howe was famed for his innovations, including putting a cameraman with a hand-held camera on roller skates inside a boxing ring for Body and Soul to draw the audience into the ring. He strapped cameras to the actors' waists in The Brave Bulls to give a closer and tighter perspective on bullfighting, a sport in which fractions of an inch can mean the difference between life and death. He was hailed for his revolutionary work with tracking and distortion in Seconds, in which he used a 9mm "fish-eye" lens to suggest mental instability.
James Wong Howe became the most famous cameraman in the world in the 1930s, and he bought a Duesenberg, one of the most prestigious and expensive automobiles in the world. His driving his "Doozy" around Hollywood made for an incongruous sight, as Chinese typically were gardeners and houseboys in prewar America, a deeply racist time. During World War II anti-Asian bigotry intensified, despite the fact that China was an ally of the United States in its war with Japan. Mistaken for a Japanese (despite their having been relocated to concentration camps away from the Pacific Coast), he wore a button that declared "I am Chinese." His close friend James Cagney also wore the same button, out of solidarity with his friend.
Wong Howe was involved in a long-term relationship with the writer Sanora Babb, who was a Caucasian. Anti-miscegenation laws on the books in California until 1948 forbade Caucasians from marrying Chinese, and the couple could not legally marry until 1949, after the laws had been repealed. In September of 1949 they finally tied the knot, and Sanora Babb Wong Howe later told a family member that they had to hunt for three days for a sympathetic judge who would marry them.
Wong Howe eventually bought a Chinese restaurant located near the Ventura Freeway, which he managed with Sanora. When a photographer from a San Fernando Valley newspaper came to take a picture of the eatery, Howe counseled that he should put a wide-angle lens on his camera so he wouldn't have to stand so close to the freeway to get the shot. "I'll take the picture," the photographer unknowingly snapped at one of the master cinematographers of the world, "you just mind your goddamned noodles!"
Perhaps due to the sting of racism, the hypocrisy of a country fighting the Nazis and their eugenics policies that itself allowed the proscription of racial intermarriage, which kept him from legally marrying the woman he loved, or perhaps because of the Red-baiting that consumed Hollywood after the War, James Wong Howe's professional reputation began to decline in the late 1940s. Losing his reputation for efficiency, he was branded "difficult to work with," and producers began to fear his on-set temper tantrums. Though Wong Howe was never blacklisted, he came under the scrutiny of the House Un-American Activities Committee for his propensity for working with "Reds", "Pinks" and "fellow-travelers" such as John Garfield. Though he was never hauled in front of HUAC, Wong Howe's good friend Cagney had been a noted liberal in the 1930s. James Wong Howe felt the chill cast over the industry by McCarthyism.
In 1953 Wong Howe was given the opportunity to direct a feature film for the first time, being hired to helm a biography of Harlem Globetrotters founder Abe Saperstein, Go Man Go. The film, which was brought in at 21 days on a $130,000 budget, did nothing to enhance his reputation. Howe managed to pull out of his career doldrums, and after McCarthyism crested in 1954 he won his first Oscar for the B+W cinematography of The Rose Tattoo, in which the shadows created by Howe's cinematography reveal the protagonist Serafina's emotional turmoil as much as the words of Tennessee Williams. He directed one more picture, the undistinguished The Invisible Avenger, a B-movie in which The Shadow, Lamont Cranston, investigated the murder of a New Orleans bandleader, before returning to his true vocation, the motion picture camera.
By the mid-'50s Howe had made it back to the top of the profession. In 1957 he did some of his most brilliant work on Sweet Smell of Success, a textbook primer on the richness of B+W cinematography. Ironically, he was not Oscar-nominated for his work on the film, but was nominated the following year for his color work on The Old Man and the Sea and won his second Oscar for the B+W photography of Hud. Once again Wong Howe used a landscape, the barren and lonely West Texas plains, to highlight the psychological state of the film's protagonist, the amoral and go-it-alone title character played by Paul Newman.
One of Wong Howe's favorite assignments in his career was the five-month shoot under the once-blacklisted Martin Ritt on The Molly Maguires, a tale of labor strife, which was shot on location in the Pennsylvania coal fields. His health started to fail after the shoot, and he was forced into retirement, requiring frequent hospitalization in the final years of his life. Reportedly he had to turn down the offer to shoot The Godfather, as he was not healthy enough to undertake the assignment. Gordon Willis got the job instead.
When Funny Lady producer Ray Stark fired Vilmos Zsigmond as the director of photography of his Funny Girl sequel, he hired Howe due to his faith that the great lighting cameraman who had done wonders with Mary Miles Minter, Clara Bow, and Heddy Lamar could glamorize his star, Barbra Streisand. Howe took over the shoot, but his health gave out after a short time and he collapsed on the set. Oscar-winner Ernest Laszlo, then-president of the American Society of Cinematographers, filled in until Howe returned from the hospital and finished the shoot. He received his last Oscar nomination for his work on the film. It marked the end of a remarkable career in motion pictures that spanned almost 60 years.
By the time of his retirement, he had long been acknowledged as a master of his art, one of the greatest lighting cameramen of all time, credited with shooting over 130 pictures in Hollywood and England. He worked with many of the greatest and most important directors in cinema history, from Allan Dwan in the silent era to Sidney Lumet in the 1960s. He created three production companies during his professional career, an untopped career in which he racked up ten Academy Award nominations in both B+W white and color (including notoriously difficult Technicolor), in formats ranging from the Academy ratio to CinemaScope, all of which he mastered. An even greater honor than his two Oscar wins came his way. In 1949, when he was chosen to shoot test footage for the proposed comeback of the great Greta Garbo in the proposed movie "La Duchesse de Langeais," such was his reputation.
Sanora Babb Wong Howe wrote after his death, "My husband loved his work. He spent all his adult life from age 17 to 75, a year before his death, in the motion picture industry. When he died at 77, courageous in illness as in health, he was still thinking of new ways to make pictures. He was critical of poor quality in any area of film, but quick to see and appreciate the good. His mature style was realistic, never naturalistic. If the story demanded, his work could be harsh and have a documentary quality, but that quality was strictly Wong Howe. If the story allowed, his style was poetic realism, for he was a poet of the camera. This was a part of his nature, his impulse toward the beautiful, but it did not prevent his flexibility in dealing with all aspects of reality."
His greatest asset to film may have been his adaptability, the many ways in which he could vary his aesthetic in service of a story. Howe initially fought the notoriously gimmicky John Frankenheimer over his desire to use a fish-eye lens for "Seconds." Subsequently, Howe used the lens masterfully to convey the psychological torment of the protagonist, locked in a beyond-Kafkaesque nightmare that simply relying on sets and lighting couldn't bring across. He had made it work by adapting his aesthetic to the needs of the story and its characters, in service to his director.
Howe's work recently was given retrospectives at the 2002 Seattle International Film Festival, and in San Francisco in 2004, a rare honor for a cinematographer. It is testimony to his continuing reputation, more than a quarter century after his death, as one of the greatest and most innovative lighting cameramen the world of cinema has ever known.
Perhaps the greatest honor that can be bestowed on James Wong Howe is that this master craftsman, a genius of lighting, refutes the auteur theory, which holds that the director solely is "author" of a film. No one could reasonably make that claim on any picture on which Howe was the director of photography.
Mikhail Gorbachev was the last leader of the Soviet Communist Party who initiated changes known as 'perestroika' and 'glasnost' which melted the rigid Soviet system and liberated 15 republics of the Soviet Union to become independent states, thus ending the existence of the USSR in December 1991.
He was born Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev into a peasant family on March 2, 1931, in the village of Privolnoe, Stavropol province, Southern Russia. His father, named Sergei Gorbachev, was a tractor driver. His mother, named Maria Panteleyeva, was a peasant. His grandparents were deported and sentenced for nine years under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, for their success in becoming richer independent farmers known as kulaks. Young Gorbachev witnessed the destruction of traditional farming and degradation of villages, that caused massive exodus of people from their land and to gloomy industrial Soviet cities, where they were doomed to become brainwashed by propaganda and live in small flats under restricting political and economic conditions for the rest of their lives. During the Second World War Gorbachev survived the Nazi occupation of his land in Stavropol province in 1942-1943. After the war, Gorbachev chose to remain on his land, although it was now taken by the Communist Government, the ranks of which he would penetrate later. Gorbachev privately described his life and work on a Soviet collective farm as serfdom.
In 1947 Gorbachev shot to fame at the age of 16, after helping his father, a combine harvester operator, to harvest a record crop on a collective farm. For this achievement he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour and was promoted to the Communist Party at the age of 21. From 1950 - 1955 he studied law on a State scholarship at Moscow State University. There he met his future wife, Raisa Maksimovna Gorbacheva (nee Titarenko), they married in September 1953, and their daughter, Irina, was born in January 1957. After a brief stint as a Government Lawyer in Stavropol, Gorbachev made a career as a ranking leader of Komsomol (Union of Young Communists), then as a Communist Party leader of Stavropol province, climbing to the ranks as Member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. At that time Gorbachev made his first travels outside of the Soviet Union. While the Soviet leaders were manipulating their own people into submission through fear and control, the West Europeans enjoyed freedom and prosperity that attracted East Germans and other Soviet satellites. Gorbachev learned his first lesson on his tour in East Germany, witnessing their rapid recovery after the Second World War. At the same time, in 1956, Yuri Andropov and Georgi Zhukov led the attack on Hungarian Revolution, and killed thousands of Hungarians who opposed the Soviet-imposed regime. Then Soviet leadership made more aggressive international actions by spreading military support to pro-communist regimes across the world and also by building the Berlin Wall and enforcing Soviet military and political domination in Eastern Europe. These Soviet actions alienated Europeans.
Open political discussions in the Soviet Union were not allowed under threat of prosecution, freedom of speech was never guaranteed, all media was owned and controlled by the Soviet government and independent activity was suppressed, and only some fragmented information was made available to ranking provincial communists, such as Gorbachev. In 1961 he attended the important 22nd Congress of the Communist Party in Moscow, where Nikita Khrushchev announced his Utopian plan to surpass the USA per capita income in 20 years. At the same 22nd Congress, upon Khrushchev's instruction, Gorbachev, among other top communists received a copy of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's anti-Stalin publication "One day of Ivan Denisovich" which criticized the brutality of Gulag prison-camps and the Soviet regime in general. That gave Gorbachev and some other young communists a hope that Khrushchev may change the brutal Soviet regime. However, in 1964, Nikita Khrushchev was arrested and dismissed by pro-Stalin group led by Leonid Brezhnev who eventually established a remake of Stalinism for the next 18 years, albeit in a more grotesque and senile version of Soviet regime. Then Brezhnev's regime crushed the Prague Spring of 1968, fought the Chinese Army over a border dispute in 1969, sent Soviet Tanks and Air Force to Egypt and Syria against Israel in the 1970s, as well as in North Vietnam against the French and Americans. At that time Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa Maksimovna, were allowed to travel to the Western Europe and see the difference between reality in European countries and its distorted depiction by the Soviet propaganda. In 1972 he headed the Soviet official delegation to Belgium, then, in 1974 was made Member of the Supreme Soviet in charge of the Commission on Youth Affairs. During the 1970s Gorbachev enjoyed a highly privileged life of a ranking communist, having many perks such as a villa in a suburb of Moscow, a special limo with a chauffeur and guards, and regular luxurious vacations in Italy and in the South of France, all at the expense of the Communist Party. However, this allowed him to see the striking difference between the quality of life in the Western Europe and gloomy survival of masses in the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev witnessed that people were living hopeless lives having no choice. Workers of collective farms lived without identification documents up until the 1970s. Undocumented citizens at collective farms were disposable. Migrants were used as industrial slaves, for symbolic pay. Wages were set by the state and did not depend on productivity or quality. The economy was governed by the state 5-year plan. This mostly ignored the world and domestic market signals; and lacked the incentives for innovation and efficiency. Teachers were forced to indoctrinate children of all ages from kindergartens through schools and universities. Total control and manipulation was demonstrated twice a year at annual May Day parades and Great Revolution parades on November 7. Military parades were accompanied by marching masses of industrial workers and managers, doctors and scientists, as well as teachers and students from all schools and universities. Exemplary obedient people were rewarded with better food and perks. Taming millions to obedience by fear and hunger led to a massive degradation of human rights, poor spirituality, lack of initiative and creativity, and the decay of public health and vitality. The country of almost three hundred million people was stuck in stagnation, inefficiency, and apathy. Brighter students were taken into the military-industrial system, brainwashed and locked there for life with little choices. Opponents were locked in the "Gulag" prison-camps, mostly in Siberia. There, millions were working various hard labor jobs in grand-scale economic projects; like the Baikal-Amur railroad (BAM). Since the Communist Revolution of 1917, people had been continually stripped of their land and property. Under Khrushchev and Brezhnev the destruction of independent farming was finalized. By the 1960s and 1970s massive poverty and anxiety pushed millions to migrate to cities. Mass-construction of cheap panel buildings was lagging behind. Millions of families shared poor housing, hostels, and dorms in cities. Villages were deserted. Collective farms decayed. Agricultural output fell below the levels of the Tsar's age. Tens of thousands of churches and monasteries were destroyed across the Soviet Union, and many churches were replaced by offices and halls of the Communist party. Spiritual life was dominated by ugly propaganda. People were blinded by fear and pushed to wrong values. Meaningful human virtues were replaced with fake ideals of ruthless Soviet communism. Propaganda idolized members of the Soviet Politburo, their portraits were decorating every school and factory along with countless portraits and statues of the first Soviet leader V.I. Lenin.
In November 1979 Gorbachev was promoted Candidate Member of the Politburo, then less than a year later, he was made Full Member of Politbureau, the highest rank in the Communist Party which gave him unlimited direct access to Brezhnev and Andropov. The latter also promoted Gorbachev to sub for him at several Politburo meetings, and gave him a huge power in decision-making. Gorbachev developed a personal friendship with another Politburo member, Eduard Shevardnadze, and the two were vacationing together at the prestigious Black sea resort of Pitsunda. At that time the invasion of Afghanistan, ordered by senile Brezhnev in 1979, seriously undermined international credibility of the Soviet Union. Andrei Sakharov wrote an open letter to Brezhnev calling for a stop to the war. 50 nations boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Crackdown on intellectual freedom and human rights included the use of psychiatric terror, arrests, and the exile of dissidents. The head of the KGB Yuri Andropov declared Andrei Sakharov the "enemy No. 1." Sakharov was forcefully exiled from Moscow to the militarized 'closed' city of Gorky. He was placed under tight surveillance and restricted from any contacts. His wife was also under tight surveillance. By his 70th birthday Brezhnev's health declined dramatically; but he made himself a Generalissimus Marshal of the Soviet Union, similar to that of Joseph Stalin. Brezhnev accepted over 200 decorations and awards, including awards from all pro-Soviet governments, except China. Brezhnev accepted countless expensive gifts and amassed a collection of vintage cars and other bribes. His personal vanity and behavior was replicated at all levels of the Communist Party and led to massive corruption. The old Brezhnev lost his acting abilities and couldn't even read the script. Massive disillusionment was reflected in cynical jokes about the Soviet life. The ugly reality in the Soviet Union was reflected in its senile leader. Gorbachev saw that outdated economic and political system in the Soviet Union was doomed, but propaganda was still brainwashing the minds of millions, because it was controlled by the privileged few top communists who lived in denial of the big reality.
The youngest Politburo Member, Mikhail Gorbachev, was contemplating reforms. Leonid Brezhnev died on November 10, 1982, and was succeeded by Yuri Andropov who died just 16 months later. He was replaced by Konstantin Chernenko, who died in just 13 months. In 1983 Politbureau member Rashidov committed suicide, then, in 1984 the powerful Defence Minister Ustinov died. While the Soviet Union was in a dying mode, the real world was rapidly growing into computer age that reshaped global community. The rigid Soviet System was incompatible with the constantly innovating world. USSR failed to respond to rapidly changing reality and alienated forward-thinking people even in the pro-Soviet countries. During the early 1980s Soviet Politbureau was torn between two viciously fighting groups of Communists, one was made of the old hard-liners led by Andrei Gromyko, the apprentice of Joseph Stalin. The other, pro-democracy group, was made of the forward-thinking members of the Politbureau who chose Gorbachev as their leader along with Aleksandr Yakovlev who was the brain behind Gorbachev's moves. With Gorbachev's support Yakovlev managed to change all hard-liners in the Soviet media and propaganda system. In March 1985 Gorbachev was made the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, becoming the first Soviet leader to have been born after the disastrous Russian Revolution of 1917. He announced reforms called 'perestroika' (aka.. restructuring) and 'glasnost' (aka.. opening up), and lifted the walls of propaganda and denial. However, Gorbachev's first reform on regulations related to manufacturing and trade of alcohol became an economic disaster, causing a serious economic damage to the Soviet Union's State budget with annual losses exceeding tens of billions of dollars. Although his reforms were supported by public, many communist hard-liners openly opposed Gorbachev. Eventually, by the late 1980s Gorbachev's push for economic liberalization resulted in emergence of co-operatives and other forms of independent businesses, making the movement to freedom irreversible.
In December of 1986, Gorbachev personally contacted Andrei Sakharov in his exile. Gorbachev ordered that the KGB should release Sakharov and return him to Moscow. Back in Moscow Sakharov continued his work as a humanitarian. A few months before his death, he was elected as a representative of the Academy of Sciences to the Supreme Soviet in 1989. Sakharov showed to the World what an independent thinker can do by going to the extremes of science. He invented a bomb that could bring the most horrible extermination of life, and then took a stand to ban his own invention for the salvation of planet Earth. Gorbachev had important meetings with Ronald Reagan culminating in their summit in Reikjavik, Iceland, and leading to a more stable political and military situation in the world, that resulted in reunification of Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989. At that time the Soviet hard-liners criticized Gorbachev's international moves, saying that he was not a leader, but rather a follower of Ronald Reagan's instruction: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall" when the state of world affairs did not allow Gorbachev to disobey without a risk of losing his face. He also followed recommendations by Margaret Thatcher on opening the "Iron Curtain" to allow the Russian people to see the world and learn about the diverse international reality and travel freely on their own. A first, Gorbachev skillfully used hidden buttons within the rigid structure of the Soviet power tainted by the long tradition of obedience, fear and intimidation, which was installed by dictator Joseph Stalin within the ranks of Communist bureaucracy. That fear of the man in Kremlin served Gorbachev's plans well, as he managed to overcome the resistance of hard liners in ending the ruling powers of the Communist Party. Soon Gorbachev began giving away many power buttons in Moscow, which allowed his rivals to gain strength and independently form opposition groups. Andrei Gromyko, the last living member of Joseph Stalin's old Politbureau, had criticized Gorbachev's methods as "weak leadership" and also said "He (Gorbachev) is unfit for the Hat" (where the Hat means Kremlin, or an allusion to the Tsar's crown of power). Such criticism was ignored by most of the younger members of the Communist Politbureau and Central Committee, because weak central leadership allowed provincial bosses to privatize state property at a fraction of its real value.
Gorbachev replaced his hard-line critic Andrei Gromyko with Eduard Shevardnadze as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, and both Gorbachev and Shevardnadze pushed for international détente and withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan. In another effort to add weight to his gradually eroding power, in March of 1990 Gorbachev updated his official title by adding a newly created post as President of the Soviet Union, albeit he was not really a democratically elected president. He surrounded himself with the political council of 15 top politicians, but he was lacking the grass-roots connections with masses and mid-level bureaucracy across the country. At that time Gorbachev began to experience powerlessness in his efforts to change the gigantic Soviet system, he was known for expressing his powerlessness by using profanities and anger at his meetings with the ranks of Soviet Government and industrial leaders. Gorbachev was facing an impossible task of modernizing the brittle structure of the Soviet Communism, especially the massive and inefficient Soviet military-industrial complex where opposition to reforms was the most organized, and inefficiency was dissembled as a military secret, like a catch-22, thus making it unreformable. Gorbachev himself was still perceived as the Secretary General of the Soviet Communist Party, and that stigma became the weakest part of his image in the eyes of many open-minded and quickly learning people in the Soviet Union. His effort to gain political weight by adding a figure of Vice-President of the Soviet Union had failed and soon backfired. Gorbachev's fatal mistake was letting the Members of Politbureau to chose the Vice-President of the Soviet Union behind closed doors in Kremlin; the "chosen" one was a career communist Gennadi Yanayev who would very soon betray Gorbachev during the coup.
Eventually Gorbachev became overshadowed by a much stronger figure of Boris Yeltsin, who gained more popular support by pushing further economic and political reforms, and also criticized Gorbachev's manner of restructuring of the Soviet system as slow, indecisive and inefficient. The rivalry between two former Communist comrades ended in the August 1991 coup, when still powerful KGB and Soviet Army leaders tried to take the power away from both Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Their coup failed just a couple days later, after the entire country watched Gennady Yanayev and his coup members on TV. "Let me say that Mikhail Gorbachev is now on vacation. He is undergoing treatment, himself, in our country. He is very tired after all these years and he will need time to get better." said Gennadi Yanayev before the cameras, and his hands were visibly trembling from fear. Gorbachev's disappearance during the coup was also seen as his grave weakness. Boris Yeltsin disposed his Communist ID card in front of the cameras and publicly denounced Gorbachev. Then all ranks of communists deserted the Communist Party in a massive exodus, and that was the end of the Soviet Union. All regional leaders were anxious to rule as presidents of their own independent states, and Yeltsin was already elected the president of Russia, the biggest part of the Soviet Union. Yeltsin met with the leaders of Ukraine and Belarus and they made a treaty as independent states. By the end of December 1991 the Soviet Union became obsolete and Gorbachev retired after a formal signing of dissolution of the USSR.
Mikhail Gorbachev is still regarded in the Western world for his input in ending the Cold War and helping the reunification of Germany. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1990) and received numerous international awards, decorations and privileges, such as the Honorary German Citizenship. However, in Russia Gorbachev's political standing failed to gain any substantial public support. He received less than 1% of popular vote in the 1996 presidential elections in Russia, when his former rival Boris Yeltsin was elected for his second presidential term. In 2001 Gorbachev founded the Social Democratic Party of Russia, but later, in 2003, he had resigned from the party leadership and stayed away from most of the current Russian political forces and media. In contrast to Gorbachev's popularity all over the world, he fell in obscurity in Russia, largely because in the new era of the wild Russian capitalism his outdated views and experience became obsolete. Instead he turned to business of giving lecture tours and speeches internationally and selling photo-ops with him for money that goes to humanitarian causes; he also sold his name and image to commercials such as the Pizza Hut and other businesses. He has been running the business of the Gorbachev Foundation, which handles his international appearances, while keeping a low profile in the current political life of Russia. In 2005 he was awarded the Point Alpha Prize for his role in re-unification of Germany. In 2006 Gorbachev underwent a carotid artery surgery in Munich, Germany.
He currently resides in Moscow, Russia.
Michael R. Bloomberg is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who served three terms as Mayor of the City of New York.
Born in Boston and raised in a middle class home in Medford, Massachusetts, Michael Bloomberg attended Johns Hopkins University, where he paid his tuition by taking out loans and working as a parking lot attendant. After college, he attended Harvard Business School and in 1966 was hired by a Wall Street firm, Salomon Brothers, for an entry-level job.
Bloomberg quickly rose through the ranks at Salomon, overseeing equity trading and sales before heading up the firm's information systems. When Salomon was acquired in 1981, he was let go from the firm. With a vision of an information technology company that would bring transparency and efficiency to the buying and selling of financial securities, he launched a small startup in a one room office. Today, Bloomberg LP is a global company that has more than 15,500 employees and offices in 73 countries around the world.
During his tenure as mayor, from 2002 through 2013, Bloomberg brought his innovation-driven approach to city government. He turned around a broken public school system by raising standards and holding schools accountable for success. He spurred economic growth and record levels of job creation by revitalizing old industrial areas, spurring entrepreneurship, supporting small businesses, and strengthening key industries, including new media, film and television, bio-science, technology, and tourism. Mayor Bloomberg's economic policies helped New York City experience record-levels of private-sector job growth often in formerly depressed neighborhoods, even in the wake of the deep national recession.
His passion for public health led to ambitious new strategies that became national models, including a ban on smoking in all indoor workplaces, as well as at parks and beaches. Life expectancy grew by 36 months during Mayor Bloomberg's twelve years in office. He launched cutting-edge anti-poverty efforts, including the Young Men's Initiative and the Center for Economic Opportunity, whose ground-breaking programs have been replicated across the country. As a result, New York City's welfare rolls fell 25 percent, and New York was the only big city in the country not to experience an increase in poverty between the 2000 Census and 2012. He also created innovative plans to fight climate change and promote sustainable development, which helped cut the city's carbon footprint by 19 percent. His belief that America's mayors and business leaders can help effect change in Washington led him to launch national bi-partisan coalitions to combat illegal guns, reform immigration, and invest in infrastructure. He was a strong champion of the city's cultural community, expanding support for artists and arts organizations and helping to bring more than 100 permanent public art commissions to all five boroughs.
Upon leaving City Hall, Michael Bloomberg returned to the company he founded while also devoting more time to philanthropy, which has been a top priority for him throughout his career. Today, Bloomberg Philanthropies employs a unique data-driven approach to global change that grows out of his experiences as an entrepreneur and mayor. In addition to Bloomberg Philanthropies' five areas of focus - public health, arts and culture, the environment, education, and government innovation - Bloomberg has continued to support projects of great importance to him, including his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, where he served as the chairman of the board of trustees from 1996-2001. The university's School of Hygiene and Public Health - the largest public health facility in the U.S. - is named the Bloomberg School of Public Health in recognition of his commitment and support. Bloomberg has donated more than $4.3 billion to a wide variety of causes and organizations.
As chair of the C40 Climate Leadership Group from 2010 to 2013, Bloomberg drew international attention to cities' leading role in the fight against climate change. In 2014, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Bloomberg to be U.N. Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change where he is focusing on helping cities and countries set and achieve more ambitious climate change goals. In 2016, Bloomberg accepted World Health Organization director-general Margaret Chan's invitation to serve as the WHO global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases as part of the WHO's push to achieve UN goals of reducing premature NCD deaths by one-third by 2030, and halving the number of road deaths and injuries by 2020.
Michael Bloomberg is the father of two daughters, Emma and Georgina.
An independent film director for three decades, he has known how difficult it is to make a film with little financial backing and huge amounts of unasked-for advice. His passion for what he does has kept him moving forward in the face of staggering challenges.
Born in New York, Lee's father A World War two veteran and aircraft engineer moved the family westward when William was 6 years old, but not way out west, as in La La land (rumor has it that Lee's father was staunch New Yorker who hated phonies!), but the Midwest--The State of Ohio to be exact.
After seeing Kung Fu legend, and martial arts movie legend Bruce Lee on screen for the first time in 1974, Lee asked his father to purchase a movie camera so that he might replicate the famous martial artists' exploits--albeit on a smaller scale. Within a year of picking up a movie camera, Lee received his first film award at the Eye Music Festival of San Francisco. Since then, he has directed over 30 film projects.
Outside of the obvious controversy, Lee has found that black film making has come to a complete halt in terms of creativity. The era of "hood/ghetto/gangsta" films seems to keep hanging on, with the same tired plots and imagery. Lee has found it impossible to find funding because he steers clear of typical material.
Until his first major release Code: Black, in 2007, Lee had been virtually unknown. His films languished in obscure film fests,Midwestern film premieres, and on-line sites like Indieflix.com. Never quirky enough to interest Sundance, too action filled to be praised in major "refined" film circles, never peopled by major or even sub-major stars, financed totally from Lee's various day jobs, he has spent every year since 1974 chasing that dream. The dream that one day he could be seen for what he is. Not a black filmmaker, but a filmmaker who makes non stereotypical, well written action films with a message. Nothing more, nothing less.
Unfortunately, in spite of his growing reputation as a talented director, the color of his skin remained a problem as investors showed a lack of confidence in the ability of an African-American to direct a produce a money making film. He constantly had to turn to friends and family for financial backing.Determination and persistence are the heart and soul of William Lee. These qualities were ultimately tested by a challenge that would shatter a lesser man. As if what he had endured before was not daunting enough, Lee had to deal with something far worse than the usual backstabbing of the movie industry: life-threatening cancer-like Systemic Lupus.
Diagnosed in 1997, the disease required him to undergo surgery, treatment with experimental drugs, and chemotherapy for the better part of two years. In addition to substantial weight loss, Will Lee was forced to contend with a gaping hole in his side, and physical debilitation that resulted in lengthy periods during which a wheel chair was his only way of getting around. In spite of the intense pain and temporary setbacks, he eventually forced a miracle. The affliction that once placed his life in jeopardy is now in remission, and he is a fully functioning member of the community: a testimony to medical advances and his own desire to live. Having overcome the danger, but realizing there is no cure for the disease, this Lupus survivor today smiles at the memory of the experience.
Daniel Duval had a difficult childhood. In care from an early age, it was not easy for him to be well-balanced. As a teen, he was made to learn a trade. While an apprentice-joiner, he became ill and found himself in hospital: that is where he found his real vocation. He shared his room with the producer of the religious program "Le Jour du Seigneur" and, after talking with him, realized that his future was not in making tables or shutters but in directing shows or movies. He learnt this new trade with more enthusiasm than the former one and soon became a TV director, a movie director and an actor, the latter activity finally becoming his main one. With a gaunt figure and an emaciated bony face, he was predisposed to dark characters, sometimes romantic and self-destructive but always violent. He tended to replicate these character features in real life, which caused him trouble and hurt his career, even leading him to jail in 1987. Fortunately, he was released for lack of evidence and resumed his acting career. He made a brilliant comeback in 1996 with two particularly aggressive and pathetic figures: the father in Y'aura t'il de la neige à Noël? and the sadistic lover in Beware of My Love. Among the women who shared his life are Haydée Politoff and Anna Karina. He has a son, Cyril Duval, who is an assistant-director.
Aaron Brenner is an Emmy-Award winning producer with over a decade of experience in production and post. His specialties include content development, production management and showrunning.
From 2008 through 2015, he built and directed the in-house production group at the LA Kings. Charged with producing original content for TV, web and social - Brenner established the model production team that continues to be replicated across sports franchises.
He's built a career around an ever-changing content landscape while producing unscripted, reality and sports content. His credits include the LA Kings, the UFC, LA Galaxy, US Ski and Snowboard Teams, World Series of Poker and more.
Brenner has built and managed teams of 2-50 people and budgets of $10K to $2.5M for TV, documentary feature films, VOD and corporate content. He's most proud of the work he's produced while surrounding himself with talented people that have grown together as they redefined what's possible.
He resides in Los Angeles, California and flies a helicopter to avoid traffic.
Willie Reale grew up in Park Ridge, New Jersey with four brothers and a sister. In 1981, Reale founded The 52nd Street Project, an organization that brings inner-city children together with professional theater artists. He served as the theater's artistic director for 18 years. He wrote "52 Pick Up," the Project's how-to manual. The 52nd Street Project's programs are currently being replicated at 14 sites across country and in Europe. In June of 1994, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his ingenuity in creating theater and theater education programs for young people. The 52nd Street Project was recognized by a "Coming Up Taller" Award from the Clinton White House.
Other theater credits include "Once Around the City" (book and lyrics), which was produced Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Company. He was nominated for two Tony Awards for A Year With Frog and Toad, which he wrote with his brother, composer Robert Reale. With his brother (and Richard Dresser) he has written Johnny Baseball, which was produced at the American Repertory Theater.
Mr. Reale has an Academy Award nomination in the best song category for his work as a lyricist on the movie Dreamgirls and has won 3 Emmy awards for as the writer/producer behind the recent reinvention of 1970's literacy classic, The Electric Company, now airing on PBS. Willie has worked written extensively for network television and has been nominated 3 times for Writer's Guild Awards.
He is married to theater producer, Jenny Gersten. They have two children, Augustus and Leonardo.
Ruvin is a writer and director in film and an executive producer in television. He graduated from the University of Southern California and New York University Film School.
He has directed numerous films, including "Lucky Man", the mafia drama that starred Frank Vincent (GoodFellas, Sopranos) and Vincent Pastore (Sopranos). The film was well received by critics. Newsday called it a "passion play," and Montreal Gazette wrote, "This drama of obsession and redemption is a killer." "Orbach delivers smart dialogue and surprisingly complex character development" -Rich
Buzznet stated, "It's a pretty brilliant exercise in style by writer-director Ruvin Orbach, who has come closer to exactly replicating the looks and sounds of a cheap crime thriller from the mid-'70s with his little indie." Spike DVD wrote, "Filmmaker Ruvin Orbach's Lucky Man demonstrates an easy flair for gritty humor and quirky characters."
Frederick Sisa from the Front Page wrote, "Orbach does land a well-struck blow; good filming technique, good cast, the whole shebang."
Both Oliver Stone and Brian De Palma offered their praise to Ruvin's work in "Lucky Man".
"Keep going in the direction you are going," Stone said to Ruvin.
The film is distributed by S'Mores Entertainment and Echelon Studios, and the DVD Box set is available for purchase on eBay, Amazon, and Best Buy, and also streams on Netflix.
After the success of Lucky Man, Ruvin signed on to develop, write, and direct three more films. One project collaborated with the Wu-Tang Clan in detailing how the mob, the music business, and hip hop in Brooklyn all tie in.
He also signed a six-figure deal with Film Star on a feature comedy called, "How to Catch a Gangster," which was announced at a press conference at American Film Market. Another project is with Visualiner Studios on a romantic comedy, "Love and Sex and All the Rest."
He was hired by Glen M. Stewart ("Smart People") to restructure the noir film "Dark Streets" with Bijou Phillips and Elias Koteus. Later, he was commissioned by Blue Water Entertainment (producer of Sundance Film Festival award-winner "Fuel") to write a treatment about the "The Roni Levi Story" -an adaptation of two books about the true story of the murder of Roni Levi in Australia.
Besides, "The Glass Cage," Ruvin is directing the pilot version of "Constant Treason," about the military's bioengineering of soldiers. The story focuses on a hacker who threatens to take a story public, and a CIA agent who fall in love with each other. He is in the process of setting up the show with a network.
Also, Ruvin is working on releasing a new action adventure script entitled "Weather Wars." about weather modification - the military's manipulation of the weather. In the story, the world is running out of oil and is on the cusp of world war. Nuclear weapons become obsolete due to their far-reaching capabilities, so weather becomes the weapon of choice. A large-scale weather war ensues that threatens to destroy the world's ecosystem.
In the summer of 2018, Ruvin is slated to direct "The Royal Scam," a film centering around two yuppies that lose everything in the financial meltdown of 2008 and begin robbing corrupt bankers who have made off with Uncle Sam's money.
In addition, he is serving as Executive Producer for the show "Persona," in a strategic partnership with The Motion Picture and Television Fund. The program combines two A-List stars that share the same image but are from different eras. 3-3-2017
Stowed away on an American vessel sailing out of the Philippines, a young Charles Gemora arrived in California while the birth of cinema was in full swing. To help earn a little extra cash, Charlie would hang around the Universal entrance offering to sketch portraits. It wasn't long before his natural artistic abilities were noticed and Charles Gemora was working on such films as Phantom of the Opera and Noah's Ark as a sculptor. When Charles began working on creating gorilla suits for film, he realized that with his diminutive stature (5'5") and his commitment to excellence, he could do well to carve himself a niche as a gorilla man. Charles would spend almost 3 decades honing his realistic performance and leading the evolution of suit effects. While early appearances such as Seven Footprints to Satan were grotesque and horrific, later films like The Monster and The Girl were distinguished by gorilla suits that were grounded in reality and performances that were informed by much study at the nearby San Diego Zoo. Gemora was equally adept at comedic roles, racking up credits alongside legends like Laurel and Hardy, Zasu Pitts, Charley Chase, Our Gang, the Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, and Hope and Crosby. Moving from Universal to Paramount in the early 1930's, Charles Gemora continued to work in the makeup and effects department there up until his death in 1961. Throughout his stay at Paramount, Charles racked up numerous unaccredited gorilla suit appearances while working on other films like Gunga Din, Around the World in Eighty Days and The Ten Commandments. Perhaps the most recognizable contribution he made to cinema was the memorable alien menace from War of the Worlds; the result of a last minute change of plans, Charles and his daughter Diana created the creature in a late night marathon. Gemora made his final gorilla suit film in 1954 with Phantom of the Rue Morgue. A stunt man filled the hairy boots for strenuous action scenes but none could replicate the subtle pantomime skills that were unique to Charles.
Rich Thorne was born in New York City and moved to Los Angeles at age ten. Upon graduation with a degree from the Film School at Cal State Northridge, Rich Thorne began his film career as an editor and compositor for The Post Group, working with Ampex Corp, Quantel Corp and Abekas Video Systems to design and build the early predecessors to today's CG compositing and graphics systems. With CG, compositing, and paint system technologies, Thorne designed systems and techniques that allowed television shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Max Headroom and Pee-wee's Playhouse to be shot on film and with visual effects composited on video. This made it possible to bring high-end visual effects to the television industry at a significantly lower cost with faster turn-around than traditional optical visual effects techniques.
Star Trek veterans Peter Lauritsen, Dan Curry, Rob Legato and Fred Chandler approached Thorne and The Post Group in 1984 to attempt to recreate select VFX shots from the film Star Trek: Wrath of Khan (previously done for the film release using optical VFX techniques by George Lucas' ILM). Upon successful seamless replication of these shots using photography and motion control elements from the original film, The Post Group completed the shots using their proprietary techniques, and was awarded all of the VFX work on ST:TNG and all subsequent Star Trek series for years to come. Thorne eventually left The Post Group to form Digital Magic and continued the Star Trek VFX work there. During Thorne's tenure, The Post Group and Digital Magic were also well known for using the same techniques and systems for hundreds of high-tech national commercials and music videos for major recording artists such as Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Prince, and Joni Mitchell, among many others. Both houses provided special effects for numerous television shows, specials, and major motion pictures. Thorne taught a course called "Techniques of Visual Effects for Television" at UCLA from 1984-1995.
From 1996-2006, Thorne was Senior Vice President of Production at 20th Century Fox. During this time Thorne also directed films, including A Midsummer Night's Dream, Dude, Where's My Car, X-Men, Dr. Dolittle 2, and the critically acclaimed independent feature, Mother Ghost, a film about a man dealing with the loss of his mother, starring KLOS-FM radio personality Mark Thompson. This film went on to win Thorne two Best Director awards at the Great Lakes and Marco Island Film Festivals, and also won Thorne and Thompson Best Narrative Feature awards at the Long Beach Film Festival, the Marco Island Film Festival, and the Ojai Film Festival. Thorne continued to direct 2nd Unit action units for 20th Century Fox on Black Knight and the acclaimed aerial action unit sequences on Behind Enemy Lines. He was Visual Effects Supervisor and action unit 2nd Unit Director on Fox's Blockbuster Daredevil and also League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Dragonball Evolution, The Pyramid, and Hitman: Agent 47.
As of June 2016, Thorne is Chair of the Producing Department at the Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy. He is a current member of the Director's Guild of America and the Producer's Guild of America. Other Facts: His name appeared on an Okudagram in the ST:TNG fifth season episode Violations. He is "Perfect Neighbor Rich," a recurring character on KLOS-FM's now archived Mark and Brian morning radio show. His son is Justin Joseph "JJ" Thorne, the musical artist and performer formerly in the bands NLT and One Call.
Terry McConnaughey graduated from the two-year full-time actor-training program at The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts (NCDA) in Washington, D.C., followed by NCDA's intensive and highly competitive advanced program, Actors Repertory Theater (ART). ART is designed to replicate a year's worth of experience in a professional repertory-theater company. NCDA hires experienced local professional directors for ART's public productions in the NCDA black-box, 3/4-in-the-round, theatre. NCDA is the only accredited actor-training program in the Washington, D.C., metro area.
Originally hailing from Washington, D.C., Terry graduated from high school there; and four years later, from McGill University (Montreal) with a B.A. in English.
Terry discovered and developed an appreciation for show business through theater projects from elementary school through college and attending plays in the Washington area, and elsewhere. The early exposure to classical and contemporary plays at theaters like Washington's Arena Stage, National Theater, and the Kennedy Center, augmented by trips to New York with family members and friends, while performing in school plays, planted the seeds of the passion early.
Later in life, good fortune in getting speaking roles while initially only looking for background-actor work to "find out what happens on a set" prompted him to explore additional training in Washington, at The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts (NCDA) in Georgetown. The theater-based curriculum includes significant on-camera training, and provides experience behind the camera, as well as in front of it. The actor training is based on Constantin Stanislavski's teachings, combined with elements of Michael Chekhov techniques.
He is a retired U.S. Navy commander, lawyer, and foreign service officer. He has extensive military, diplomatic, and intelligence experience, and is conversant with Croatian and French, after living in countries where those languages are spoken. He served in the Persian Gulf (Desert Shield/Storm) and Somalia.
In the time between university graduation and starting his full-time acting career, Terry had a successful career comprised of numerous active-duty stints as a naval intelligence officer over 22 years (mostly on active duty.) Other jobs, in between active-duty stints included: U.S. foreign service officer (Croatia), felony prosecutor (Asst DA in Texas), private law practice, and civilian Department of Defense work. He holds two law degrees--a JD and LLM, from Texas Tech and University of Miami, respectively; and is licensed to practice law in three jurisdictions, where he went "inactive" so as to pursue other passions, because,, as he says, " 'The Law' was just not doing it for me." Accordingly, he refers to himself as "a recovering lawyer."
While growing up in the Washington area, he hung out with his three brothers, playing sports, exploring the outdoors, fishing, shooting and swimming in the nearby woodland and hilly Blue Ridge Appalachian areas of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, and taking part in some school theater projects.
It took a while for him to find his way out of the 9-to-5 world and get back to the world of the arts. He is happy to be back where he belongs, after a circuitous route through several other interesting careers.
|Ross W. Clarkson
Inspiration is all around us, if we will only open our eyes.
Ross has been a cinematographer for 30+ years, and over that period of time he has developed a very unique energetic style.
Starting as a trainee editor at channel 9 in Brisbane Australia, it wasn't long before he took to cameras and was a graded news cameraman at the young age of 19. After shooting news for six years he moved to the new world of corporate videos. When the Village Roadshow studios opened on Australia's Gold Coast Ross was drawn to learn more about movies, after several years he could not break in. In 1993 he took a huge change to move to Hong Kong without any guarantee of employment, after renovating his future boss's apartment for 2 months he then got a job for Salon Films.
Working for Salon Films was a great opportunity for Ross, he was shooting most of their productions and using all types of equipment. Ross decided to return to the freelance world in 1997 when his life would start to change for the better. He met Ringo Lam. "When I first met Ringo he wanted me to shoot 4 days underwater for his HK movie "Full Alert", sitting in his office watching his feet bounce made me nervous. But I did the shoot and all went well, as I was saying goodbye to me he said "You should shoot movies". The next time I heard from Ringo who only lives 10 minutes away from me was several months later, He called me up and asked me for a coffee. So I went and he offered me to shoot "Suspect", I said that I've never shot a movie before. He said "Have a go". So I did.
Since that time Ross has worked on every Ringo Lam film as either Director of Photography for his HK movies or as "A" camera operator for the American movies. In 2000 Ringo brought Ross to Canada for "Replicant" where he started a strong friendship with Jean Claude Van Damme. Jean Claude who also appreciates Ross's lively style of camera operating took him to Israel and Bulgaria for "The Order".
Ross's first big budget movie as a DP was "Derailed" again with Van Damme.
Ross has gained international recognition with the success of Undisputed 2 - Last Man Standing, which was followed by many more action films.
Ross's portfolio reveals that he has a truly creative vision before he picks up his camera to shoot. Between the lighting and the theme, he is always prepared, and lights his subjects with an emphasis on originality.
Mark Twitchell was born in Edmonton, Canada but spent several years living in the Midwest before returning to Canada to pursue a career in filmmaking. He graduated from a radio and television program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and later gained a small following among sci-fi fans when he directed Star Wars: Secrets of the Rebellion (2007), a fan film for the Star Wars franchise that contained a short cameo with actor Jeremy Bulloch.
That film was in post-production, another in search of financing, and a short film called House of Cards recently completed shooting, when Twitchell was arrested and charged with the murder of a missing man.
He was found guilty during a jury trial in 2011 and sentenced to life in prison.
The prosecution's case was that Twitchell had turned his House of Cards movie script into a real-life homicide by replicating the script after he had shot the scenes, this time with himself playing the killer for real. The script was based loosely on the fictional life of serial killer Dexter Morgan, but saw the killer character lure men off dating websites. Police had also discovered that Twitchell had become Dexter Morgan on Facebook, built a real-life "kill room" in a garage, and wrote a diary that detailed his "progression into becoming a serial killer."
None of Twitchell's films have ever been released. But he went on to star in the international news, a Dateline NBC episode, and was featured in a book, The Devil's Cinema, that detailed the police investigation and Twitchell's life.
At an early age, Zachariah Waller seemed to thrive on the attention of an audience, whether he was putting on his own "show" or merely entertaining those around him. One day, Zachariah caught an episode of "Kickin' It" (a Disney production), an American martial arts inspired comedy television series, and immediately determined he could replicate the actors in the scene, and merely announced, "Hey, I could do that!" Being determined to prove his point, he persisted on looking up casting calls on line. He later found BIH studios, called them & after his audition with them they were completely blown away. After one year he graduated from BIH. Zachariah is a triple threat, sings, acts & dances. He has grown in so many areas of his life, including remaining persistent and in standing up for himself and what he believes in. He looks up to success stories such as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, someone he hopes to work with in the future, along with actors such as Kevin Bacon, with his favorite Director being Michael Bay.
He has become an advocate for his own generation, especially those affected by bullying. His commitment to making life better, easier, for those who are the brunt of harassment, Zachariah is reaching out and making a difference. He has expanded his work to at-risk centers for children and adults, and other organizations as in Las Vegas Rescue Mission & Catholic Charities. He donates much of his time, between classes, to homeless shelters and easily becomes connected to anyone he feels may need positive reinforcement. He has found his mature heart reaching out to other issues he holds dear.
Zachariah is the Co-host of "Bullybusters702 Kids Radio Show" the first ever child radio show based on bullying & everyday topics. He is nominated for the 2016 best actor award at the "Las Vegas Black film festival" in his Lead role in Crossover. Zachariah is best known for his lead role in "Kin" alongside Director Joe Lujan (2016).
Jenny "Nef" Hale was born and raised in a northwest suburb of Chicago in Illinois. She is the twin sister of Lisa Hale, a Chicago-based costume designer for theater and film.
She took her first steps into the entertainment world when she began violin lessons in 1994 under the tutelage of Celeste Lake. During this time, Jenny was a member of the symphony, concert, and competition orchestra. In 1998, she learned how to play the cello, but abandoned the instrument, favoring the more affordable and lighter-weight violin. She continued studying and playing the violin under the instruction of Kendall Hastings. During that time, she was a member of several symphony, concert, and competition orchestras. She also played in the pit orchestra, which accompanied productions including Fiddler on the Roof and Oliver.
In the summer of 2002, she began her studies at Dominican University in Illinois where she specialized in secondary education and received endorsements in mathematics and French, the latter of which she had already been studying since 1996. Not completely abandoning her music career, it was also during this time that she became a part of the Rosary Chapel music ensemble for special events. She also freelanced, playing in a music group for local weddings.
It was also at university when she and her sister professionally joined forces, the likes of which continues to this day. In 2005, Jenny walked in her first fashion show, modeling a piece her sister designed, which earned her the "Up-and-Coming Designer" award. While Jenny has since modeled in over 80 fashion shows in Chicago for other designers like Calvin Tran and Borris Powell, she continues to work with her sister on a variety of projects. Every year since 2009, she has exhibition modeled at several comic and entertainment conventions, helping showcase her sister's movie-replicated costume designs, which have been featured on several media sites including NBC and MTV Geek.
During the fall of 2011, Jenny caught the acting bug when, through her fashion industry connections, she booked her first background artist role as a Daily Planet employee in Zack Snyder's blockbuster movie, Man of Steel. That same year, she began training in classical ballet at the Joffery Ballet's Academy of Dance. Her skills helped her land the role of a dancing nymph in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (the Magic Flute) at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. During the same season, she also played an Ethiopian slave in Verdi's Aida. In the winter of 2012, she teamed up with her sister yet again, this time to work on Rogue Lumen Productions' first feature-length independent film, Dorothy Marie and the Unanswered Questions of the Zombie Apocalypse, in which she played a reanimated zombie, her first feature role.
Since then, she's appeared in the second season of Boss, playing Jackie's quirky assistant; Underemployed, playing a coffeehouse hipster; Doubt and Mind Games (2013), playing a businesswoman; and most recently, Neil Burger's Divergent, playing an Erudite lab tech and assistant to the villainous Jeanine Matthews, played by Kate Winslet.
Leonid Brezhnev was a communist leader of the Soviet Union who restored Stalinist-type dictatorship thus causing economic stagnation and disproportionate military growth that exhausted the Soviet economy and eventually led to collapse of the Soviet Union.
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev was born on December 19, 1906, in Kamenskoe Russian Empire (now Dniprodzerzhynsk, Ukraine). He went to Dnepropetrovsk Industrial College. There he joined the Communist Party youth union (Komsomol) in 1923, and became a full member of the Communist Party in 1931. He had no adult memories of life under Tsar Nicholas II and was too young to have participated in the leadership feud after the death of Lenin. During the purges of the "Great Terror" under Joseph Stalin Brezhnev proved himself a loyal Stalinist, suitable for the ranks of the Communist hierarchy. In 1935 he was drafted in a tank school. There he started a career as Political Commissar; and in 1936 was transferred to Regional Government, rising to the Party Secretary of Dnepropetrovsk in 1939. On June 22, 1941, the day the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, Brezhnev was assigned to evacuate military industries before the Nazis reached his city. During WWII Brezhnev was assigned as Political Commissar to Transcaucasian Front; then to 1st Ukrainian Front. There chief Political Commissar was Nikita Khrushchev, who patronized Brezhnev's career since 1931. He was promoted to chief Political Commissar of the 4th Ukrainian Front, rising to a Maj. General. He was in Prague on May 9, 1945 when the War ended. Brezhnev took part in the Victory Parade on June 22, 1945, on the Red Square in Moscow, and saluted to Joseph Stalin, who stood atop the mausoleum of Lenin.
Brezhnev was promoted by Nikita Khrushchev to 1st Communist Party Secretary of Moldavia in 1950. In 1952 he was promoted to the candidate member of the Politburo, and had a meeting with Joseph Stalin in the Kremlin. "What a handsome Moldavian", said Stalin of Brezhnev. The death of Stalin on March 5, 1953, was followed by Khrushchev's takeover as the Head of the Communist Party in September, 1953. Main opponents were eliminated in a series of political executions, including that of Lavrenti Beria in December, 1953. Others were exiled, or degraded, like Marshal Georgi Zhukov. The cast of Soviet Leadership was changed. In 1953 Brezhnev was made the Chief of Political Directorate of the Army and the Navy (GPU). In 1955 he was made the 1st Communist Party Secretary of Kazakhstan. In 1956 Nikita Khrushchev denounced the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin in his Secret Speech to the 20th Congress of the Soviet Commuinst Party. In 1957 Brezhnev backed Khrushchev in a power-fight against Vyacheslav Molotov, Georgi Malenkov, and Lazar Kaganovich. In 1959 Brezhnev was promoted to Second Secretary of the Central Committee. In May 1960, he became the President of the Supreme Soviet, the nominal head of the Soviet Union.
Brezhnev, like many Soviet leaders, enjoyed many privileges, such as free villas and beach houses, valuable gifts, hunting and drinking parties. He was also using his secretaries and nurses for sex. But Brezhnev's adultery and alcoholism backfired in his own family - his daughter, Galina Brezhneva, modeled her personal life after her father and turned her life into an endless series of drinking parties and compromising love affairs. In 1961, while being married to a circus acrobat, Galina Brezhneva, then 32, met the 18-year-old actor Igor Kio, so she urgently divorced her husband and, using her name, eloped with the boy to a southern resort of Sochi. Her honeymoon lasted only 9 days. Enraged Soviet leader sent KGB to destroy her new family. Igor Kio was interrogated and pushed away from the Brezhnev's daughter, but she became revengeful and continued the affair with Kio for another three years, and later added more problems to her father's life.
In the late 50s and early 60s, the Soviet Union was undergoing liberalization, called "The Thaw" initiated by Nikita Khrushchev, who also initiated reforms in the Soviet government. While some people supported Khrushchev's reforms, many ranking communists were unhappy with the changes. Khrushchev's Thaw culminated in 1961 with the removal of Joseph Stalin's body from the Lenin's mausoleum on the Red Square, which further angered the hardliners. But at the same time, Khrushchev approved the construction of the Berlin Wall and caused many scandals while visiting foreign nations, which complicated international relations, culminating in Cuban Missile Crisis. Internal situation in the Soviet Union was rapidly deteriorating, because Khrushchev's agricultural reform failed, causing disastrous situation with food supplies, massive food lines triggered public unrest and Khrushchev thoughtlessly ordered the hungry people to be killed by the Red Army forces. Brezhnev used Khrushchev's mistakes to gain support for himself: he plotted a coup against Khrushchev and gathered several top-ranking communists to conspire against Nikita Khrushchev in order to stop his efforts to reform the Soviet Union.
On October 14, 1964, Brezhnev with co-conspirators Alexei Kosygin and Nikolay Podgorny dismissed Nikita Khrushchev from office and denounced him. Khrushchev was forced into retirement under a house arrest on a small farm outside of Moscow. Brezhnev reversed liberalization, ended the "Khrushchev Thaw", and enforced censorship and total control over information, cultural life and education. In his May 1965 speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of Victory in WWII, Brezhnev mentioned Stalin positively. The onset of the "Cold war" caused 'freezing' of the Soviet economy. Entrepreneurial people went underground creating a parallel black market. Official economy existed on cheap slave labor and subsidies from oil and gas export. The Soviet Military-Industrial Complex was somewhat efficient due to higher wages and ruthless control by the KGB and Soviet Army. Decay was still creeping into those bastions of communism. The arms race became unaffordable by the mid 1960's. 90% of the Soviet economy was directly or indirectly working for the arms race. Stockpiling of costly weapons undermined living standards that led to a fall in the birth rate, a shortage of slave labor, and an economic degradation. The country was pushed into a dead end.
Brezhnev played the script of Stalin which led the Soviet Union on a collision course with the world, and eventually to self-destruction. Control by fear and intimidation was back again. People were living hopeless lives having no choice. Workers of collective farms lived without identification documents up until 1970's. Undocumented citizens at collective farms were disposable. Migrants were used as industrial slaves, for symbolic pay. Wages were set by the state and did not depend on productivity or quality. The economy was governed by the state 5-year plan. This mostly ignored the world and domestic market signals; and lacked the incentives for innovation and efficiency. Teachers were forced to indoctrinate children of all ages from kindergartens through schools and universities. Total control and manipulation was demonstrated twice a year at annual May Day parades and Great Revolution parades on November 7. Military parades were accompanied by marching masses of industrial workers and managers, doctors and scientists, as well as teachers and students from all schools and universities. Exemplary obedient people were rewarded with better food and perks. Taming millions to obedience by fear and hunger led to a massive degradation of human rights, poor spirituality, lack of initiative and creativity, and decay of public health and vitality. The country of almost three hundred million people was stuck in stagnation, inefficiency, and apathy. Brighter students were taken into the military-industrial system, brainwashed and locked there for life with little choices. Opponents were locked in the "Gulag" prison-camps, mostly in Siberia. There, millions were working various hard labor jobs in grand-scale economic projects; like the Baikal-Amur railroad (BAM). Since the Communist Revolution of 1917, people had been continually stripped of their land and property. Under Khrushchev and Brezhnev the destruction of independent farming was finalized. By the 1960's poverty and anxiety pushed masses to migrate to cities. Mass-construction of cheap panel buildings was lagging behind. Millions of families shared poor housing, hostels, and dorms in cities. Villages were deserted. Collective farms decayed. Agricultural output fell below the levels of the Tsar's age. Seven thousand churches were destroyed across the Soviet Union. Spiritual life was dominated by ugly propaganda. People were blinded by fear and pushed to wrong values. Meaningful human virtues were replaced with fake ideals of ruthless communism. Propaganda idolized members of the Soviet Politburo, their portraits were decorating every school and factory along with countless portraits and statues of V.I. Lenin.
Political manipulations and brainwashing of millions led to devaluation of life itself. Immoral behavior became a massive problem. In 1966 Brezhnev was asked not to rehabilitate Joseph Stalin, in a letter signed by 25 distinguished intellectuals, including Andrei Sakharov, Igor Tamm, Pyotr Kapitsa, Korney Ivanovich Chukovsky, Valentin Kataev, Viktor Nekrasov, Petr Korin, Maya Plisetskaya, Oleg Efremov, Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy, Georgi Tovstonogov, Mikhail Romm, Marlen Khutsiev, Boris Slutsky, Konstantin Paustovsky, Vladimir Tendryakov, Dmitri Shostakovich, and other Soviet luminaries. But Brezhnev's government retaliated with massive censorship. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was interrogated and intimidated. His writings were also banned. Trials of intellectuals like Andrey Sinyavskiy, Yuri Daniel, Joseph Brodsky, and others was only the tip of the iceberg. The head of KGB, Vladimir Semichastny, wrote a note on "Anti-Soviet activity of creative intellectuals". It listed the films '33' by director 'Georgi Danelia' and 'Na odnoi planete' by director Ilya Olshvanger. The KGB was angry at actors: "Today they play Lenin, tomorrow a merchant, after tomorrow a drunkard." Neo-Stalinist course was enforced by the leaders who were raised under Stalin and did not learn anything better than to abuse the enslaved people. Blinded leaders only tried to slow the movement to a dead end. Restrictions on travel and studies abroad blocked the learning of the achievements of other nations of the world. Information technology and computers made by Soviet Military Industries were incompatible and obsolete. Total control by the KGB led to stagnation and inefficiency. The brightest people defected and fled the Soviet gloom, causing the "Brain drain" in science and culture. In the 1970s the flow of Jewish emigration was initiated by reuniting families. The KGB caused financial and political obstacles to every emigrating person; but people were leaving at any cost. Aggressive foreign policy manifested in support for revolutionary regimes and spreading the Soviet political and military presence in Third World countries. National resources were wasted on controversial military operations at the expense of growing domestic problems including poverty and frustration of the people.
Brezhnev's regime crushed the Prague Spring of 1968, fought the Chinese Army over a border dispute in 1969, sent Soviet Tanks and Air Force to Egypt and Syria against Israel in the 1970's, as well as in North Vietnam against the French and Americans. The invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 undermined international credibility of the Soviet Union. Andrei Sakharov wrote an open letter to Brezhnev calling for a stop to the war. 50 nations boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Crackdown on intellectual freedom and human rights included the use of psychiatric terror, arrests, and the exile of dissidents. The head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov, declared Andrei Sakharov the "enemy No.1." Sakharov was forcefully exiled from Moscow to the militarized 'closed' city of Gorky. He was placed under tight surveillance and restricted from any contacts. His wife Yelena Bonner was also under tight surveillance.
During the 1970s Brezhnev's health declined dramatically as he became increasingly dependent on alcohol and drugs; but on his 70th birthday he made himself a Generalissimus Marshal of the Soviet Union, similar to that of Joseph Stalin. Brezhnev accepted over 200 decorations and awards, including awards from all pro-Soviet governments, except China. Brezhnev accepted countless expensive gifts and amassed a collection of vintage cars and other bribes. His personal vanity and behavior was replicated at all levels of the Communist Party and led to massive corruption. The old Brezhnev lost his acting abilities and couldn't even read the script. People were joking. The ugly reality was reflected in its leader. The youngest Politburo Member Mikhail Gorbachev was contemplating reforms. Brezhnev suffered a stroke in May 1982. He died of a heart attack on November 10, 1982; and was buried by the Kremlin Wall. He was succeeded by Yuri Andropov, who died just 16 months later. He was replaced by Konstantin Chernenko, who died in just 13 months. Then came Mikhail Gorbachev, but the country was already locked in a dying mode.
Brezhnev's daughter, Galina, was married four times and was regarded as a wild-child by the Soviet authorities. Her wild drinking parties often ended in escapades with younger men. In 1982, she was seen wearing jewels previously reported as stolen, she was also connected to jewel smugglers, so she was tried for stealing jewels from a celebrity, but was acquitted, while her powerful father was still the leader of the Soviet Union. Her third husband was convicted of bribery and corruption and sentenced to twelve years correction term in a hard-labor camp. In the 1990s, a British TV filmed a visit to the home of Galina Brezhneva, where she was interviewed while being drunk and demonstrating disgraceful behavior. At that time she was living with a mechanic who was 29 years younger. She remained impossible to deal with, so after numerous complaints from her neighbors and upon request of her own daughter, Galina Brezhneva was placed in a Moscow psychiatric hospital where she died in 1998. She was laid to rest in the prestigious Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow, Russia. Brezhnev's grandson, Andrei Brezhnev, joined the Communist Party of Russia in 2005. Brezhnev's granddaughter, Victoria, was robbed several times and is now divorced and unemployed.
Indrans is a Malayalam film actor and costume designer. He acts mainly in comedy roles. He has acted in over 250 films.
Indrans, a tailor by profession, debuted in the film Choothattam as a costume designer. It was producer Charlie who offered him a chance to assist in costume designing. Although he had the opportunity to meet many filmmakers, including evergreen hero Prem Nazir, Sattar, Pappu, Jose Prakash and Jayabharathi, he concentrated only on designing costumes for several years in the industry. However, he did very small roles on screen.
Soon, Indrans started getting fresh assignments from well-known directors like Padmarajan, Venu Nagavally, Shaji N. Karun, Sibi Malayil and K. Madhu. CID Unni Krishnan was a turning point in his career as an actor. His brand of comedy clicked among the audiences and he went on to become one of the mainstream comedians in Kerala. Since then, he is busy till date.
Indrans had acted in more than 200 films so far. As a comedy actor he has made most use of his slender, lean figure and typical accent to win over the audiences. He created his own style in cinema and never replicated the comedy of the legendary Adoor Bhasi, Bahadoor, Jagathi Sreekumar or Innocent. Renowned directors Adoor Gopalakrishnan and T.V. Chandran too offered him role.
BAFTA shortlisted in 2014 for her short film Dawn starring Edward Hogg (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell, Jupiter Ascending, Indian Summers, Bunny & The Bull) and Keeley Forsyth (The Casual Vacancy, Waterloo Road, Coronation Street). Stephanie is an award winning writer/director/producer. Her first short film Marigolds achieved festival and critical success, screening at festivals and film events worldwide, broadcast on BBC HD Shorts and received rave reviews in Little White Lies, winning Best Director at Underwire Film Festival and a finalist for Shooting People's film of the month. Both her films were chosen as Collabor8te and Hunger.TV's film of the week and both were chose for Shorts on Tap, Women in Revolt Series in 2015. Her short screenplay 'Hello George' was shortlisted for numerous screenplay awards. Dawn is her second short film and a taster for her first feature film, In Our Blood. Dawn has screened at festivals worldwide including Busan SFF, Pentedattilo, Aesthetica and London Short Film Festival. She is in post production on her first comedy short The Joke's On You and in production on her next film, Beeing Keegan, starring Stephen Graham (This is England, Boardwalk Empire).
As well as making her own films, Stephanie has produced and assistant directed myriad music promos, shorts, virals, commercials and feature films for top production companies and established producers including Passion Pictues, Pinewood Studios, Pulse, Partizan, Academy, Gas & Electric, HSI, Colonel Blimp, Cap Gun Collective, Agile, BFI, Third Films, Able & Baker, Moving Pictures Media and many more. She's had the pleasure of working and collaborating with artists, musicians and filmmakers such as Goldfrapp, Lisa Gunning, Frightened Rabbit, Handheldcineclub, Jamie Thraves, Esther May Campbell, Anna Calvi, Shane Filan, Emile Nava, Jack King, Carly Cusen, Omid Nooshin, The XX, Jesse J, Ed Sheeran, Little Mix, Matthew Walker, Mo Ali, Young Replicant, Little Mix, Sam Smith, Rough Copy and The Saturdays to name but a few. Stephanie was chosen for the Branchage Director's Lab and is a member of Director's UK.
|Mir Z. Ali
Visual effects specialist Mir Zafar Ali started his career by creating the immaculate sheet of hair that cascades around a shampoo model's face. Since then, the Beaconhouse and FAST graduate from Karachi has been in the team for the brilliant sequences in The Golden Compass in 2007 that beat those in The Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Transformers. The world can also thank him for bringing the villain 'Venom' to life in Spider-Man III. Now, he's basking in the aftermath of another success, X-Men: First Class - the debuted at No. 1 in the box office in its opening weekend. If any young artist in Karachi thinks it can't be done, they just need to follow Mir Zafar Ali's career.
Ali began with doing what a lot of people in the visual effects field do - something unrelated. Having studied to be a software engineer in college, he quickly realized it wasn't nearly exciting enough. He spent some time trying his hand at the trade with local organizations such as Sharp Image and Nucleus Studios, always working primarily with computer graphics. Eventually, he took off to the US to specialize in visual effects at Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia.
A few years later he found himself working on his first movie with Digital Domain, a Los Angeles-based company. Ali's first movie was The Day After Tomorrow in which he worked on wrapping colossal waves around buildings - and making it believable. His forte is replicating natural phenomena.
Alan Becker is best known by Internet users as the kid who made Animator vs. Animation. He made it during his junior year of high school in 2006. Now he gets messages from preteens all over the world who want to learn how to replicate his animation.
Because of his early Internet fame, he found himself doing freelance work before even beginning college at Columbus College of Art and Design. Ironically, after graduation in 2013 he went right back to being a freelance animator.
|Etienne Poulin St-Laurent
Etienne Poulin St-Laurent is a visual effects professional based in Montreal, Canada. His dedication to camera matchmoving, 3D and photography made him a specialist in digitally replicating camera movements for C.G.I. integration. His skill set include compositing, lighting, matte painting T.D, 3D Scanning and generalist work in a visual effect pipeline.
Singer, songwriter and music producer Van Allen Clinton McCoy was born on January 6, 1940, in Washington, DC. He sang with the Metropolitan Baptist Church choir when he was a kid. At age 12 he began writing his own songs and performing in local amateur shows along with his older brother, Norman Jr. He was the lead singer of the doo-wop group The Starlighters, which recorded the novelty dance record "The Birdland" in 1956. After The Starlighters broke up McCoy studied psychology for two years at Howard University before dropping out and moving to Philadelphia.
He began his own label, Rockin' Records, and released the single "Hey Mr. DJ" in 1959. This in turn led to McCoy being hired as a staff writer and A&R representative for Scepter Records. Throughout the early to mid=60s Van penned numerous hit songs for such artists as The Shirelles ("Stop the Music"), Jackie Wilson ("I Get the Sweetest Feeling"), Gladys Knight & The Pips ("Giving Up"), Betty Everett ("Getting Mighty Crowded"), Ruby & The Romantics ("When You're Young and in Love"), 'Brenda & The Tabulations' ("Right on the Tip of My Tongue"), Chris Bartley ("The Sweetest Thing This Side of Heaven") and Barbara Lewis ("Baby, I'm Yours"). In 1966 McCoy recorded the solo album "Nighttime Is a Lonely Time" for Columbia Records (the album was produced by Mitch Miller_. He started his own short-lived label, Vando, in 1967. In the early 1970s Van collaborated with producer and songwriter Charles Kipps on many sessions, including David Ruffin's acclaimed 1975 Motown comeback album "Who I Am." In addition, McCoy arranged several hits for the soul group The Stylistics, formed his own orchestra called Soul City Symphony and, with singers Faith Hope & Charity, recorded several albums and gave many live performances.
In 1975 Van scored an enormous smash hit with the groovy disco instrumental "The Hustle;" the song peaked at #1 on the Billboard charts in July 1975, sold well over a million copies and won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. Stunned by the surprise success of "The Hustle" and unhappy with his newfound status as a disco hitmaker, McCoy nonetheless recorded a few follow-up disco songs and albums that failed to replicate the substantial success of "The Hustle." He returned to writing and producing material for other artists for the remainder of his career.
Van McCoy died of a sudden massive heart attack on July 6, 1979 in Englewood, New Jersey; he was only 39 years old.
'Ezzy' has been an Operationally Focused Infantry Soldier since 1988 with the Royal Irish Rangers. He has fought in numerous Conflicts/Operations during his highly decorated career, receiving an MID (Mention In Dispatches) from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II whilst serving with the Afghan National Army Forces and US Forces on Operations in Afghanistan in 2008.
Film & TV Military Advisor: 'Ezzy' spent 10 months in South Africa, as the Military Advisor for the BBC on the critically acclaimed first series of 'Our Girl', starring Lacey Turner. Working closely with all Production Departments including Script Supervising, Actor Training in all military protocols, Set Design advising on how to replicate Bastion, FOB (Forward Operating Bases) and OP's (Observation Posts), Wardrobe, Props and Transport, ensuring all areas of military accuracy were taken on by the Producers, Writer and Director
British Army Operational and Cultural Awareness Instructor: Ezzy is not only an expert in hostile operations, but is a qualified Sniper. He became fluent in Afghan (Pashto), as a result of his numerous tours to Afghanistan and was assigned to the post of Operational Mentor, Tri Services- British Army's Security Advisory Team. Because of his accumulated combat knowledge and cultural awareness, as Operational Platoon Sergeant he trained and instructed US Forces (US Marine Corps), British Forces and The Afghan National Army and Security Forces in preparation for combat deployments into Helmand, Afghanistan. He was Primary Lead in delivering training systems, which developed their operational skills ready for deployment into Helmand, making the US Marines more effective and culturally aware, which completed the transition of British Forces to US and Afghan Control.
Operational Tours: 7 Tours - Northern Ireland United Nations - Bosnia Second Gulf War - Iraq Baghdad - Counter Terrorism/ Close Protection of 3 Star Generals 3 Tours Afghanistan
Griffin, 16, is a native of the Jersey Shore and best known as the lead Commune Kid in the video "Team" by mega pop star Lorde under the direction of Young Replicant of LA. He began acting in musical theatre at the age of 6 with teacher Kerrianne Spellman of Broadway's Les Miserable. Since then, Griffin has appeared in numerous productions including commercials, television, film, and musicals playing such roles as Gavroche in Les Mis, Young Ebenezer in Scrooge, and Louis Leonowens in The King and I. Griffin's latest short film, Stray Boys, has been accepted into the Short Film Corner of the Cannes Film Festival in France. Griffin attends a private high school with an award winning, prestigious drama program.
Rick Dore, originally from New York, has been at the forefront of the custom car scene since the early 1990s. Since his debut, his work has earned him worldwide honors, awards and recognition. His cars have been featured in hundreds of international publications and have earned him a place in several automotive halls of fame; his vehicles continue to take home top honors. A recent Dore creation, The Black Pearl, won every category in its class at the 2014 Grand National Roadster Show. An uncanny eye for style and a flair for the dramatic have made Rick a top choice for high-end custom car aficionados. As Metallica's James Hetfield puts it, "When it comes to building a Kustom car, Rick Dore is in a league of his own."
Rick specializes in conceptual styling to completed vehicle transformations from start to finish, all of which takes place under his meticulous supervision. Rick has built a reputation for having an uncompromising commitment to only the highest quality workmanship, which assists in making his automotive creations worthy of the industry's top honors. Combining the finest coachwork, a radical sense of style, fearless use of color and cutting edge design, his styling and craftsmanship reveal a clear combination of traditional custom car design and a willingness to go where others have not yet imagined.
His early career was spent in Arizona, where he styled and built a large collection of top award-winning custom cars. Rick and his custom car business, now both residing in California, continue to produce one-of-a-kind dream cars for the most discerning clients.
Rick's passion for finding and rebuilding American roadsters from the 1930s through '60s turned his attention to car hoarders. As host of the 2014 Discovery Channel reality series "Lords of the Car Hoards," Dore scours the country to unearth and rebuild legendary cars and help car hoarders thin out their massive stockpiles of classic cars.
Rick has also made his mark in today's ultimate aftermarket showplace, the Annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas. After being called upon by Detroit's big three (Ford Motor Company, General Motors and the Daimler Chrysler Company), these late model custom vehicles utilizing his signature styling and cutting edge new aftermarket products placed Rick Dore again in the spotlight in another arena.
His cars have been featured on the covers of Hot Rod, Street Rodder, Custom Rodder, Rod & Custom Magazine, Rodder's Journal and numerous other International publications. He has also been featured and interviewed by many high profile television and online outlets including Speed Vision, ESPN, Web Rides TV.com, The Hot Rod Show and several others. JADA Toys has a signature line of die-cast model/toy cars, a replication of several of Rick Dore's custom cars.
Natalie Arikan is a London based actress known for the award winning British drama "Rose", released in the USA and UK in 2014, playing the role of "Hanim Asena", a ruthless underworld baroness. She became known to a wider audience in Turkey in 2006 having starred as "Muge" in the TV series "Kucuk Hanimin Soforu" and "Kucuk Hanimefendi". Natalie recently starred in the forthcoming Bollywood feature film, "Jaanisar" directed by the renowned film-maker Muzaffar Ali, a period drama portraying the British colonialism during pre-Independence India in which Natalie appeared as the leading actress of the British cast playing the role of "Kitty".
Born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, Natalie Arikan grew up being the youngest of her siblings, coming from a strong academic and artistic loving family background. With her highly articulate, confident, happy and outgoing intellectual nature, at the young age of 15, whilst still at school, she landed her first opportunity hosting a local weekend radioshow.
Natalie's interest in media from a young age was born which led her to successfully graduate in Media and Communications, with a distinction in Drama. Following college, Natalie Arikan secured various posts at a Swedish television channel including production assistant,trailer producer and voice over artist. In addition, Natalie was also offered the opportunity to write her own columns for a multi-cultural Youth Magazine before moving to the UK.
Natalie Arikan's deeply empathetic nature along with her keen interest in the human mind and behaviour led her to undertake a degree at the University of Westminster, graduating with a BSc degree in Psychology, subsequently obtaining a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the Institute of Education,University of London and consequently securing psychology teaching posts throughout colleges in London.
During this period Natalie Arikan was approached by a French director who cast her for a lead role in a horror feature film, "A Dream to Die For" filmed in France, which sparked her interest to pursue and further develop her acting skills. She started training in Method and Meisner Acting taught by Jack Waltzer and Tom Radcliff, going onto completing an intensive course at the International School of Screen Acting in London, achieving a Certificate in Screen Acting.
Alongside acting, Natalie was also cast to present a number of infomercials and commercials, for international corporate brands such as Avon, Deb Group, Optimed, as well as corporate material for Heron International in 2012, and 2013 respectively, at the BBC Lighthouse in London.
Natalie Arikan took the lead role in the Sci-fi Short, "The Wire", playing "Leah" which was nominated the best film at the Bounty Film Festival in 2013.
Shortly after, Natalie Arikan landed a further lead role, "Miss Holloway" in "9:25", a psychological thriller, after which she was once again offered the lead role in a short film replication of "Erin Brokovic", followed by "Talking to Jess".
|Sandro Di Stefano
Sandro Di Stefano was born in a little country in Italy called Ceccano, country famous in the world because was the the country of the actor Nino Manfredi. Composer, arranger, conductor, sound designer. Brilliantly graduated at the Music Conservatory "A. Casella " in L'Aquila, Italy. Winner of Prize in Composition and European Study Scholarships such as the one in "Film Score Composition and Musical Arrangement ("Mogol's Cet" - 1994), graduated and specialized at Cet under the guide of famous soundtrack composer Stelvio Cipriani. Sandro is author of a long series of audiovisual, around 60 between feature, film and TV, docs, short film, commercials and installations. His activity is directed towards the "Composition, Orchestration , Arranging, Programming and Orchestra Direction", in the soundtrack side, in Italy, Germany, Belgium, France and the US, where he received remarkable public consensus and excellent critique. He has conducted and recorded arrangements and original songs with important orchestras like "Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra " of Sofia, and the MediaPro Orchestra of Bucharest, recording music for artists such as Ornella Vanoni, Mario Lavezzi, Eugenio Bennato, Arturo Sandoval (by Kemper music), Fabrizio De André and for record labels like Sony / Columbia, Warner, Peer Music, Kemper Music, Paoline Audiovisual, Berben, Igs , Rai Tade. At the Media Pro Studios in Bucharest, he directed the "Concertissimo Orchestra" for all the tracks on the new album by Ornella Vanoni "Meticci", produced by Sony Music / Columbia, executive producer Mario Lavezzi. In the same Studios, and with the same orchestra, he conducted the orchestra for Arturo Sandoval, produced by Kemper Music (Latin Grammy Award). He is well known for his arrangement for orchestra and guitar of Fabrizio de André's song "La canzone dell'amore perduto" commissioned by the original publisher of De André, played by Mario Lavezzi. In July 2013, the famous "Ciak Magazine" inserts his songs in the Golden List, among the best pop songs in movie sound tracks. He is 'co - author of University book "Music for images" (ed. Net Art Company) with the Oscar winners Ennio Morricone and Nicola Piovani. The book was in use at the University of Lecce (Italy). He is author and arranger of many series of music for the cinema , Tv, drama, sitcoms, documentaries, TV commercials, multivision, industrial films, animated cartoons and multimedia installations of International interest. Sandro is an expert in computer music (also audio / video ) and virtual instrumentation systems, midi recording and audio / video editing. He works with major Productions record Companies and International film as Rai Cinema, UC - films (Germany), Motion Art Film (USA), Renaissance Pictures (USA), Borgo dello Spettacolo (Italy), La Sarraz Pictures (Italy), Cinecittà /Luce (Italy), Unicity s.p.a. (Italy), Blueray (Italy), Gran Mirci Film (Italy), Cabiria Film (Italy) , Altarpiece (Italy) , Pauline audiovisual (Italy) and many other. His original soundtracks are produced by world major record labels like Warner, IGS and Peer Music Italy, that produce his records and control the worldwide distribution. He was a guest of the "Berklee College of Music" in Boston to give lessons and concerts about his music and 900's music. Composer and arranger of the original music for the Official Multivision (2006) for the Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Italian Republic Constitution, performed at Montecitorio (Foundation House of Representatives); Composer and arranger of the original music for the Official Multivision (2010) for the celebration of the Bicentennial of Giuseppe Garibaldi at the Vittoriano in Rome (Unicity s.p.a.). In Italy he has recently worked on films as "Una vita da sogno" (A dream life) with M. Ceccherini, A. Paci, C. Del Basso; "Fantasticherie di un passeggiatore solitario" ("Reveries of a solitary walker") with Luca Lionello; "Deline" of Giacomo Franciosa; "Amorth, the exorcist " of Giacomo Franciosa; and "Second Spring" of Francesco Calogero, original soundtrack recorded with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sandro Di Stefano ; "Janara, the witch of Benevento ", produced by Warner. The film "Fantasticherie di un passeggiatore solitario" ("Reveries of a solitary walker"), in November 2014, won the "Best Film prize" at the Nizza Festival "The Samain du film fantastique" and "Best Film" at the Boston Sci_fi Film Festival. With the same film in 2015 he won the "Best Music Award" at Coruna Film Festival (FKM). In April 2016, "Second Spring" won the Gold Remi Award in the category Foreign Film at the 49th Worldfest Houston. With the film "The Eve" he won the follow prizes : Best Original Music at Los Angeles Horror Competition (USA, 2015); International Indipendent Film Award (USA, 2015); NYC Film Awards (USA, 2015); International Movie Awards 2016 (Jakarta); Best Sound Design at International Indipendent Film Award (USA, 2015); Deph of field International Film Festival Competition (USA, 2016).
He composed, arranged and directed music for special projects such as the Multivision of "The World of Federico II", a great production of Cinecittà and Unicity SpA, with Remo Girone and Lorenza Indovina among the primary actors. The French "Alparc" called him to compose, arrange and direct the original music for a Multivision about the Protected European Areas, EU project funded by the German government and broadcasted in six different European Countries. He has composed original soundtracks for multiple winner films like "The Last Battle of the Alps" (Cinecittà / Ist. Luce ) Winner of the "Premio RAI" to the Trento Film Festival; "Piero della Francesca e il polittico della misericordia" ("Piero della Francesca and the politician of the mercy "; events such as Earth Day, Puglia Region/ Fiera del Levante, Eni, Acer, Acea, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice, City of Milan, Istituto Luce and many others. He composed the original soundtrack for the Musical Opera Theatre dedicated to the Beatification of Pope John Paul II (2011) "Lolek, the young Wojtyla "edited and produced by Paoline Editoriale Audiovisivi. It had the world premiere and three replicates in Lithuania and was performed by the Choir of the Philharmonic Society of Kaunas.
Other important works for Pauline Editoriale Audiovisivi: "Fragments of Light"; "Ondina" and "Open wide the doors to Christ" - further works dedicated to the figure of John Paul II. He composed and arranged the original music for the memorial project "The ship of legality" dedicated to the figures of Falcone and Borsellino on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Education. He has worked with the US on the original soundtrack for "Attic", for the American TV thriller film directed by William Hellmuth and produced by Renaissance Pictures of Los Angeles. He is currently working again in the USA in large production record companies and films. He is Editorial Director of two series of Contemporary Music review for Bèrben Music Publishing, distributed around the world: "IGS" and "Newtone" series by Bèrben Publishing House.
He has performed more than once in Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and USA, guest of prestigious Institutions and International Festivals. From January 2014 he works at the original soundtracks of the documentaries for the TV format "Animal Chronicles" Rai Due Tv, music published by Warner. In November 2014 he signed the original soundtrack for the commercial "Rai per il Sociale" and, at the same time in Paris, runs the Premiere of his "Magnificat" for chorus, soloist and orchestra.
"E' 'na Janara", is his latest song, written, arranged and conducted. The verses are made by Eugenio Bennato, who has also sung in the original version in duo with Pietra Montecorvino, included in the soundtrack of film "Janara ", entirely composed, arranged and directed from Sandro Di Stefano, Orchestra: "Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra", Sofia (Bulgaria).
In 2015 he was the composer and sound designer of the Vatican main works about the Vatican Museum called "Alla scoperta dei Musei Vaticani" produced by Vatican Tv, Rai Com, La Repubblica, Gruppo l'Espresso, Officina della comunicazione. 6 DVD and 300 minutes of original music, completely composed, arranged and conducted by the author. This "series" is a TV series distributed in world in the world too. Early 2016 he signed the original music for the film "Padre Pio, builder of Mercy", produced by Vatican TV.
The educational activity is an important part of his mission, he held lectures and specialist laboratories in major Italian and European Institutions, devoting himself to the creation of original programs designed for practical and theoretical study for Directors, Video Editors, Composers. He is teacher of "Music Composition Techniques" at F. Ghedini Conservatory (Italy) and at CESMA (Swiss).
In May 2016 his is at work on the follow OST : "Unhinged" and "Flashburn" both films directed by Giorgio Serafini and produced by Smoke Hammer Media (USA).
|John Hay Whitney
John Hay "Jock" Whitney, the multi-millionaire sportsman, pioneering color-movie producer, soldier, financier, philanthropist, art-collector, diplomat, and newspaper publisher was born in Elsworth, Maine on August 27, 1904. He was a descendant of John Whitney, a Puritan who settled in Massachusetts in 1635, as well as of William Bradford, who came over on the Mayflower, and his two grandfathers, one a Republican and one a Democrat, were presidential cabinet members. So socially secure he was never listed in the Social Register, Whitney denounced it as a form of social arbitration that was undemocratic. John Hay Whitney was a Scion of Society; he needed no one or nothing to tell him that. A stalwart of moderate Republicanism, Whitney was one of the ultimate symbols of the Eastern Establishment that Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan later repudiated with their neo-conservative populism.
Jock's father, William Payne Whitney, a capitalist and philanthropist born in New York City on March 20, 1876, was the son of William Collins Whitney and Flora Payne Whitney. Flora Payne Whitney was the daughter of prominent Democratic politician Henry B. Payne, who represented his Cleveland, Ohio district in the United States House of Representatives for one term from 1875 to 1877, and served one term as United States Senator from Ohio from 1885 to 1891. Henry Payne was descended, through this grandfather, from William Bradford, the Puritan governor of the Plymouth Colony.
Payne Whitney matriculated at Yale College (Class of 1898) and then studied at Harvard Law School, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1901. Building on his several million dollars worth of inherited real estate assets, Payne Whitney soon became a leading player in New York's financial community. He eventually was appointed director or executive officer of many large corporations, including the First National Bank of New York, the Great Northern Paper Co., the Northern Finance Corp., and the Whitney Realty Co. He married Helen Hay, the daughter of the serving U.S. Secretary of State, in 1902.
Jock Whitney's mother Helen Hay Whitney was the daughter of John Hay, Jock's name-sake, who served as Lincoln's assistant private secretary, Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President McKinley, and as Secretary of State under both McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt, acquitting himself quite well during the Spanish-American War. Jock's paternal grandfather William Collins Whitney, the man who helped rid New York City of the deleterious influence of Boss Tweed's gang, was President Cleveland's Secretary of the Navy and was touted as the possible Democratic candidate for president in 1892 before Cleveland himself stood once again for re-election.
The family's New York City residence, located at 972 Fifth Avenue, was designed by Stanford White and is considered one of that great architect's finest mature works. Now the home of the French Embassy's Cultural Services department, White designed and oversaw the construction of the exterior and interiors of the house, which had been commissioned in 1902 by Payne Whitney's uncle Colonel Oliver Hazard Payne as a wedding gift for his nephew and his bride. The Colonel had put up $625,000 to build the five-story mansion, the construction of which was still under White's supervision when he was murdered in 1906. Jock's mother, Helen Hay Whitney, continued to live in the house until her death in 1944. (Jock eventually had her favorite space in the mansion, the Venetian Room, removed and preserved before the house was sold in 1949. In 1997, the room was donated to the French-American Foundation by his widow, who provided funding for its restoration.)
The 1920 census lists the Payne Whitneys as living at 972 Fifth Ave. with their two children and 13 servants. At the time, they lived around the corner from James D. Duke, the cigarette baron, and his wife Natalie and daughter Doris. Payne Whitney's uncle Oliver Hazard Payne had arranged the financial buyout of Duke's competitors to create the American Tobacco Co., though Payne Whitney and James Duke did not do business together. Fifth Avenue along the streets numbered in the 60s and 70s was the place to live for the very rich in the first half of the 20th Century, and many multimillionaires hung their bowler hats in the neighborhood. By the 1930 census, Helen Hay Whitney was listed as living with her son John Hay Whitney and 21 servants at the family's fabulous 438-acre estate Greentree in Manhasset, situated on Long Island's Gold Coast.
Jock was related to the railroad Harriman family through his sister Joan's husband Charles Payson, and to the Vanderbilts through his aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the eldest daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. (She was also related to the Harrimans.) He was also related by marriage to Columbia Broadcasting System founder William Paley, who was married to his wife's sister, the former Barbara Cushing. Jock's cousins included his aunt Gertrude's son Cornelius Vanderbilt ("Sonny") Whitney, the chairman of Pan American Airways (Prescott Bush, father of the 41st President of the United States and Grandfather of the 43rd, was a Pan Am director), and his wife's brother-in-law was Vincent Astor, the son of slumlord John Jacob Astor IV, who went down with the Titanic, perishing in the North Atlantic.
Jock Whitney attended Yale College, where his major pursuits were drama and rowing. His father, grandfather and great-uncle had all been oarsmen at Yale, and his father Payne had been captain of the crew in 1898. Payne Whitney followed the Yale rowing team all his life and helped finance the team, including donating financing to build a dormitory for the crew. While at Yale, John Hay Whitney allegedly coined the term "crew cut" for the haircut that now bears the name. Yale lore holds that young Jock went to a local tonsorial palace and asked for a short "Hindenburg" military cut. It was not long after the First World War, and anything German was still unpopular. (sauerkraut had been renamed "liberty salad" during World War I.) The barber suggested to Jock that the hair-style should have a new name. They called it the "crew cut" in honor of Yale oarsmen.
After graduating in 1926 (the Yale Yearbook listed Jock's ambition as being the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom), Whitney went on to Oxford, but the death of his father at the family's Greentree estate on May 25, 1927 necessitated his returning home. He inherited a trust fund of $20 million from his father (approximately $210 million in 2005 dollars, when factored for inflation), and would later inherit an estimated four times that amount from his mother. The money came from his paternal grandfather, William Collins Whitney, a traction magnate who consolidated New York City's street and railway lines, and his uncle, Colonel Oliver Hazard Payne, a business partner of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
Jock Whitney also inherited his mother and father's love of horses, a predilection he shared with his sister, Joan Whitney Payson, who went on to be the first owner of the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club from the Mets' founding in 1961 until her death in 1975. Payne Whitney had been interested in horse racing, and he had established a racing stable of his own to raise thoroughbred horses. After Payne's death, Jock's mother Helen owned the famous Kentucky horse-breeding farm Greentree Stables, which Jock and his sister ran for her. In 1928, Jock became the youngest member ever elected to the Jockey Club.
A master horseman, he almost won Britain's Grand National steeplechase in 1929. Jock was enjoying a commanding and apparently safe lead when Easter Hero, his horse, twisted a plate and was beaten by a nose at the finish by a 100-to-1 long shot. Though Whitney entered the Grand National annually after his heartbreaking loss, he never again came so close to winning.
He entered four horses in the Kentucky Derby in the 1930s, Stepenfetchit, which finished 3rd in 1932, Overtime, which finished 5th in 1933, Singing Wood, which finished 8th in 1934, and Heather Broom, which finished 3rd in 1939. Jock was an outstanding polo player, with a four-goal handicap, and it was as a sportsman that John Hay Whitney made the cover of the March 27, 1933 issue of `Time' magazine.
Other horse races he was involved in were the 1952 and '56 presidential elections, where he was the major financial backer of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. As president, Ike appointed Jock ambassador to the Court of St. James, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and realizing the ambition he had mentioned in the Yale yearbook. Whitney played a major role in improving Anglo-American relations, which had been severely strained during the 1956 Suez Crisis, when Eisenhower demanded that the British, French and Israelis terminate their invasion of Egypt.
But that lay in the future. First, Hollywood beckoned.
In 1929, Jock was hired as a clerk at the princely sum of $65 per month at the firm of Lee, Higginson, where he met Langbourne Meade Williams, Jr., the son of the founder of Freeport Texas Co., the sulfur mining company that was responsible for one-third of domestic output. Williams enlisted Jock's aid in ousting the chairman of his family's company, and the two and some of their friends began buying shares of the company. Jock soon was Freeport' biggest shareholder, and with his support, Williams sacked the chairman and his senior management team in 1930. Three years later, Williams became Freeport's president and Whitney was appointed Chairman of the Board, at the age of 29. Jock remained involved with Freeport for the rest of his business days.
The straight business world didn't prove fulfilling to the young multi-millionaire, whose personal fortune was estimated at $100 million. Seeking somewhere to park those tens of millions of dollars, Jock Whitney invested in several Broadway shows, including Peter Arno's 1931 revue "Here Goes the Bride," a failure that cost him $100,000. Although Jock indulged his interests, he did not do so with the idea of losing money. Eventually, he'd achieve spectacular success as one of the angels of "Life with Father," one of the all-time longest running Broadway shows.
According to a October 1934 `Fortune' magazine article on the Technicolor Co., which he had invested in, Jock had been interested in the movie industry for quite some time:
"John Hay (Jock) Whitney, long nursing an itch to get into pictures, but needing some special advantage to make up for his late arrival, decided that color was the `edge' he was looking for."
Whitney had met Technicolor head honcho Dr. Herbert Kalmus, a racing aficionado like himself, at the Saratoga Springs race track. In 1932, Technicolor had achieved a breakthrough with its three-strip process that recreated the entire visible spectrum of color. When R.K.O. producer Merriam C. Cooper, a color movie enthusiast, broached the idea of investing in Technicolor to Jock, he, too, was enthusiastic.
Kalmus, had been dedicated to developing true color photography in motion pictures since soon after his firm was founded in 1914. Since it first marketed its early two-color process to the movie industry in the early `20s, Technicolor had been expected to assume much of the financial risk of color movie production, as the technology and its audience appeal was unproven. The first feature to be entirely filmed in two-color Technicolor, "Toll of the Sea," (1922), an adaptation of Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly" written by future Oscar-winning screenwriter Frances Marion and starring Anna May Wong, was produced by the Technicolor Co. and released by by Metro Pictures. At that time, studios had been quite content to release "color" films that consisted of scenes shot on tinted Kodak stock, including blue for night (the other colors available from Eastman Kodak were green, red, pink, lavender, yellow, orange, light amber, and dark amber), or using hand-stenciling, in which colors were painted onto the individual frames of motion pictures.
Other movie studios, such as the newly conglomerated Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer with "Ben-Hur" (1925) and "The Big Parade" (1925), and Paramount with Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" (1925), added two-color Technicolor sequences to films shot primarily in black and white, but the process was imperfect. Aside from not producing the full color spectrum (the process only registered red and green, so blues were impossible to recreate on-screen), two-color Technicolor was based on the use of two film stocks of a half-thickness each on which the red and green colors were printed, then cemented together. Prints would buckle as the strip of celluloid nearest the light would contract from the heat, and a LOT of light was needed to project an early Technicolor film. Technicolor had to print up replacement reels that were constantly being shipped between its Boston, Massachusetts plant and exhibitors, with the buckled prints being ironed out by Technicolor employees before being shipped back on the exhibition circuit. It was a highly impractical state of affairs, but Kalmus was always improving the process.
Technicolor did not become popular with producers until 1928, when it introduced in an improved two-color subtractive system that allowed a single print to be struck, thus eliminating the problem with film buckling. Technicolor produced the first feature film shot in the process, "The Vikings," that year. Warner Bros., which had vaulted from an extremely minor exhibitor to a major studio by its introduction of the talkies, latched onto Technicolor as the next big thing. Other producers followed the Warner Bros. example by making features in color, with either Technicolor or one of its competitors such as the inferior bipack Cinecolor system, but audiences grew bored with the limited palette of colors two-color processes could produce. They were content with talkies for the moment. That, and the Depression that severely strained movie studios' finances, spelled the end of the first Technicolor boom.
The production of color films had virtually ceased when Technicolor introduced its first three-color process in 1932. Shot on three strips of black and white negative film simultaneously through cyan, magenta and green filters, prints that accurately reproduced the full color spectrum were optically printed using a dye-transfer process. Kalmus had convinced Walt Disney to shoot one of his Silly Symphony cartoons, "Flowers and Trees," in the new "three-strip" process, and it was a big hit with audiences and critics alike. One of the next Silly Symphonies to be shot with the process, "The Three Little Pigs," engendered such a positive audience response, it overwhelmed the features it played with. Hollywood was buzzing about color film again. According to `Fortune' magazine, "Merian Caldwell Cooper, producer for RKO-Radio Pictures, saw one of the Silly Symphonies and said he never wanted to make a black and white picture again."
The studios were willing to adopt three-color Technicolor for live-action feature production, if it could be proved viable. Shooting three-strip Technicolor required vast quantities of light, as the film had an extremely slow speed of ASA 5. That, and the bulk of the cameras and a lack of experience with three-color cinematography, equated to skepticism in the studio board rooms.
Again, the financial risk devolved unto Technicolor, but in the new, more expensive motion picture industry of the 1930s, it could not afford to finance a feature. A financial "angel" was needed, similar to a Broadway investor.
`Fortune' magazine's October 1934 article stressed that Technicolor, as a corporation, was rather remarkable in that it kept its investors quite happy despite the fact that it had only been in profit twice in all of the years of its existence, during the early boom at the turn of the decade. A well-managed company, half of whose stock was controlled by a clique loyal to Kalmus, Technicolor never had to cede any control to its bankers or unfriendly stockholders. In the mid-`30s, all the studios with the exception of M.G.M. were in the financial doldrums, and a color process that truly reproduced the visual spectrum was seen as a possible shot-in-the-arm for the ailing industry. As the Warner Bros. had shown with their talkie revolution declared by "The Jazz Singer" (1927), a great deal of money could be made in a very short time in the film industry. Jock's future business partner, David O. Selznick, would soon produce the most popular and most profitable motion picture in history, in Glorious Technicolor.
Seeing his chance, Jock Whitney joined forces with Merian C. Cooper and founded Pioneer Pictures in the spring of 1933, with a distribution deal with R.K.O. John Hay Whitney was Pioneer's president. Jock had importuned his cousin, Cornelius Vanderbilt "Sonny" Whitney, into sharing the financial risk, and the two bought a 15% stake in Technicolor as well. While there was no official corporate connection between Pioneer and Technicolor, the idea was that any initial financial losses generated by Pioneer would be made up by the appreciation of the Whitneys' stake in Technicolor, whose product they would showcase.
Jock was determined to turn out quality pictures in order to avoid the fate of the two-color process at the height of the 1929-30 Technicolor boom, when color movies got a bad name due to inferior motion pictures. Warner Bros. had gone from $30,000 in revenues in 1927 to $17,271,000 in 1929, all due to talking pictures. Hot for another innovation, Jack Warner had decided in 1929 to add two-color Technicolor sequences to his picture "Desert Song." He then made the first all-color talkie, " On With the Show," and followed that up with "Gold Diggers of Broadway" (1929), which was a huge hit, grossing $3.5 million, an amount that ranked it #6 all-time at the box-office. It seemed like Warner Bros. had another technical marvel on its hands, and other producers jumped on the bandwagon. Technicolor received over $1.5 million in down payments for future deliveries of color film. In 1929, Technicolor did $5 million in business.
The sudden vogue for color, and the resulting demand, doomed two-strip Technicolor as the firm's labs were not equipped to handle such a volume. In 1929 and `30, Technicolor produced 76.7 million feet of two-color film, ten times their labs' capacity. The sensitive development process was compromised when the lab space had to be quickly expanded, hurting the quality of the finished product. At first used in prestigious, carefully made, high-quality pictures, the boom soon led to the release of mediocre and even bad color movies. Lacking experience with color production, movie-makers continued to use B+W production techniques, using sets, makeup and lighting that were woefully inappropriate for color. Few filmmakers had the sense to correctly match color to the mood of the scenes they were shooting. In addition, two-color red-green process could not replicate all the colors of the visible spectrum, which yielded some questionable color effects. Most blues could not be shot, meaning that the sky typically could not be part of the mise-en-scène. If a bold filmmaker did include a shot of the sky, the results were ghastly.
The studios and movie producers quickly turned on Technicolor and canceled their contracts. Now reduced to supplying film primarily for short subjects, revenues plummeted to $500,000 in 1932, generating a $235,000 loss, followed the next year by a $250,000 loss on revenues of $630,000. Worse of all, due to the sins of the producers during the brief Technicolor boom, color movies, unlike talkies, were considered passé and a busted gamble.
The success of Pioneer Pictures' early product was necessary to spark a color renaissance in Hollywood, which would boost demand for Technicolor's new three-strip, three-color film, with the result that the value of Jock and Sonny's 100,000 Technicolor shares would appreciate handsomely. `Fortune' magazine observed, "[A]lthough Mr. Whitney does many things for fun he also does them for money and has never been interested in putting portions of the Whitney fortune down any sewers. But with two horses in the color-picture stakes, he can afford to use one as a pacemaker for the other.
Jock Whitney proceeded cautiously, determined to not make any mistakes that would besmirch his new baby. Pioneer produced the first short film shot in Technicolor's three-strip process, "La Cucaracha" (1934), a two-reel musical comedy that cost $65,000, approximately four times what an equivalent B+W two-reeler cost. Released by R.K.O., the short was a success in introducing the new Technicolor as a viable medium for live-action films. The three-strip process also was used in some short sequences filmed for several movies made during 1934, including the final sequence of "The House of Rothschild" (1934) over at 20th Century-Fox.
The industry was impressed. Three-color Technicolor did work and yielded spectacular, glorious results. But the studios and producers were atypically twice-shy, having been burned during the two-color Technicolor boom. Then, audiences had quickly become bored with color films, and the producers reasoned that it was color itself, not the poor films they had foisted onto the public in hopes of turning a quick buck that had been the culprit. Sound had added something fundamental to motion pictures, and had been enthusiastically, even wildly accepted by the movie-going public, essentially allowing the studios to distribute talkies of questionable quality in the marketplace and still turn a profit. Color was not seen to be in the same league as sound. But the real question for the studios came down to one consideration: Was it worth it?
The problem with Hollywood adopting Technicolor's three-strip process for feature film making, and the reason it took 30 years for color to completely chase B+W out of the movie industry versus the less-than-three for the Philistines of silence to be slain by the jawbone wielded by Al Jolson's Jazz Singer, was that the three-strip Technicolor process was expensive. The Depression had financially sapped every studio, with the exception of M.G.M. `Fortune' magazine estimated that shooting a film in three-strip Technicolor would add $135,000 to a film's production costs, $85,000 in added photographic expenses and another $50,000 in lost time due to the laborious task of learning how to make films properly in the new process. According to `Fortune', the average cost of a picture in 1934 was in the $200,000-$250,000 range. with an additional distribution cost of $200,000. "Many companies would prefer to spend the extra $135,000, if necessary, in order to get big names in the cast. For they know that names have a box-office draw and they are not at all sure about color."
In late 1934, Pioneer produced the first feature film shot in three-strip Technicolor, "Becky Sharp" (1935), which was based on the novel "Vanity Fair" by William Makepeace Thackeray. Also released by R.K.O., where David O. Selznick had been chief of production in the early `30s, it was not a large box office success, but it did show that Technicolor was now a viable medium. Pioneer also produced "The Dancing Pirate" (1936), the first musical shot in three-strip Technicolor. Selznick's own independent Selznick International Pictures, which he formed after leaving M.G.M. in 1935, used Technicolor for its `event' films such as the 1936 feature film "The Garden of Allah" (which won a special Academy Award for its color cinematography), and "A Star I Born Sacred" (1937), starring Frederic March and Janet Gaynor (which was also similarly honored with a special color cinematography Academy Award).
Jock Whitney was the major investor in Selznick International Inc., putting up $870,000 and serving as Chairman of the Board. Jock also put up half the money for the $50,000 option on Margaret Mitchell's novel "Gone With the Wind," then invested more money for the production of both "Gone With the Wind" and "Rebecca," Selznick's back-to-back Oscar winners for Best Picture of 1939 and '40. After an unprecedented run of success for an independent, Selznick International was dissolved in 1940 in order to liquidate the profits from the two pictures.
In his early years, Jock was renowned as a playboy, and though he was married to Mary Elizabeth Altemus Whitney, he was romantically linked to actress Tallulah Bankhead in New York, and to Paulette Goddard and Joan Crawford in Hollywood. It was at a lavish costume party he held in Hollywood that Clark Gable got together with Carole Lombard, the love of his life. Jock divorced his wife in 1940 after 10 years of marriage, and in 1942, he married Betsey Cushing Roosevelt, the ex-wife of James Roosevelt, the eldest son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Betsey Maria Cushing was born on May 18, 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland to the famous neurosurgeon Dr. Harvey Cushing and his wife Katherine Crowell Cushing, who hailed from a socially prominent Cleveland family. Dr. Cushing served as professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins, Harvard and Yale Universities, and the family established itself in Boston. Betsey had two brothers, but it was her two sisters and herself who became well-known, heralded for their charm and beauty from their debutante days onward.
Mary (Minnie) Cushing, her older sister, married first husband Vincent Astor, the inheritor of $200 million in 1912 (approximately $4 billion in 2005 dollars), then divorced him and married artist James Whitney Fosburgh. Her younger sister Barbara (Babe) Cushing was first married to Standard Oil heir Stanley Mortimer, Jr., before divorcing him and marrying CBS founder William S. Paley. Babe Paley was often short-listed as one of the world's best-dressed women and became a doyenne of New York society, heralded by the likes of Truman Capote. (Both of Betsey's sisters died within several months of each other in 1978.)
Betsey Cushing Roosevelt was rumored to be FDR's favorite daughter-in-law, but she and her mother-in-law Eleanor did not care for one another. Her husband served his father as an aide at the White House, and Betsey often stood-in as hostess at the White House when Eleanor was absent. When FDR entertained King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at a picnic at the Roosevelt estate in Hyde Park, New York in 1939, Betsey was prominent at the affair. FDR asked her to accompany him as he drove the King and Queen along the Hudson River. However, Betsey was a private person, and she shielded her two children by James, Sara and Kate, from publicity.
James Roosevelt left his father's side to take a job as an aide to movie producer Samuel Goldwyn in 1938, and moved his family to Hollywood. Betsey and James Roosevelt eventually separated, and they divorced in March 1940, Betsey obtaining a decree on the grounds of desertion and cruelty. Betsey Cushing Roosevelt was granted custody of their two daughters, child support, a settlement, and alimony until her eventual remarriage. That remarriage was two years off. Having divorced his first wife the same year Betsey obtained hers, Jock eventually wooed Betsey, marrying her on March 1, 1942. They would remain husband and wife until Jock's death in 1982, and he would adopt her two daughters in 1949.
Jock Whitney served in the Army Air Force as an intelligence officer during World War II, assigned to the Office of Strategic Services. He was taken prisoner by the Germans in southern France, but he escaped within a fortnight when the train transporting him to a POW camp came under Allied fire. A patriot, he was shocked when his interactions with soldiers revealed that they had little patriotic feeling, but were serving in the war because it was something they had to do. This revelation, that other Americans did not have as bountiful a view of their country as he did, profoundly changed him.
The Whitney family had a long history of both public service and philanthropy. Payne Whitney had been a benefactor of educational and charitable institutions, making substantial gifts to Yale, to the New York Hospital, and to the New York Public Library, to which he made a $12,000,000 gift in 1923. After his death in 1927, the family financed the construction of the Payne Whitney athletic complex at Yale in his honor. The family also financed the establishment of the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic at New York Presbyterian Hospital in 1932.
Jock Whitney became a noted philanthropist, creating the John Hay Whitney Foundation for educational projects in 1946. The Foundation provided fellowships to the racially and culturally deprived and had a large impact on the evolution of higher education in post-war America. He continued the family tradition by becoming a major contributor to Yale University, where he served as a trustee. An art collector specializing in French and American works, he generously gifted the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Washington's National Gallery of Art. (A Rose Period Picasso he had bought for $30,000 in 1950, "Boy With a Pipe," would be auctioned off in 2004 for a record $104.2 million, the proceeds left over from the $93 million bid price to fund the charitable Greentree Foundation established by his wife after his death).
After the war, Jock he forsook Hollywood for Wall Street, founding J.H. Whitney & Co., a highly successful investment company that is the oldest venture capital firm in the U.S. In 1958, while he was still ambassador to the United Kingdom, his company Whitney Communications Corp. bought the `New York Herald Tribune,' a bastion of liberal Republicanism and the-then paper of record of the United States. After returning to the U.S. in 1961, he became its publisher until it folded in 1966. Whitney Communications also owned and operated other newspapers, plus magazines and broadcasting stations.
John Hay Whitney survived two severe heart attacks in his life due to his great strength, but after a long illness, he died on February 8, 1982. He was survived by his wife Betsey Cushing Roosevelt Whitney, and their two children, Sara and Kate Roosevelt Whitney. Betsey Whitney, who died in 1998, had an estimated personal fortune of $700 million in 1990 (approximately $1 billion in 2005 dollars), according to `Forbes' magazine. After her death on March 25, 1998, she bequeathed eight major paintings to the National Gallery of Art, including "Self-Portrait" (1889) by Vincent van Gogh, "Marcelle Lender Dancing the Bolero in `Chilperic'" (1895-1896) by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, "Open Window, Collioure" (1905) by Henri Matisse, "The Harbor of La Ciotat "(1907) by Georges Braque, and "The Beach at Sainte-Adresse" (1906) by Raoul Dufy. After Jock's death in 1982, the National Gallery similarly had been gifted with eight paintings from his collection, including works by Edward Hopper and James McNeill Whistler.
His friend, ABC News Vice President Richard Wald, said upon his death that Jock's major interest in life was the proper organization of society and how to provide for the disadvantaged in a fiscally responsible way. Wald said his friend went to sleep at night a Democrat and would wake up a Republican. Wald also said that Jock Whitney had a marvelous time and lived a marvelous life, happy and rich in a time when Americans liked the rich. And, it might be added, in a time when the rich knew in their souls that they owed an obligation to society at large, and to the disadvantaged in particular, and tried to fulfill that obligation for the betterment of the society that had given them so much.
Zach is a survivor of childhood cancer. He was diagnosed with a form of rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of nine. Treatment of the smooth muscle cancer at the base of his brain (which lasted two years) left him with a child-like physique. Since this incident, he has dedicated his life to being the best he can be at his passion and profession - Art.
Zach's talent as a visual artist was recognized in elementary school. He would constantly be doodling on his homework even though he had an art class every day. He couldn't stop - he was obsessed with drawing! In those days, Zach liked drawing beautiful, vast, unique-looking landscapes, monsters, demons, and epic scenes of action, horror, and mayhem, because all of that goes so well together. His main inspiration for his creative concoctions were Spielberg movies ("Jaws", "Raiders of the Lost Ark", "Hook", "Jurassic Park"), action flicks (Jackie Chan movies, "Last Action Hero", "True Lies", "GoldenEye", "Mission: Impossible", "The Matrix"), horror shows (the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies), science fiction ("Star Wars", "The Matrix"), and eccentric dark dramas (Tim Burton's "Batman" and "Batman Returns"), including books like R. L. Stine's "Goosebumps" series (and the Goosebumps TV show).
After the cancer, something changed in Zach. He decided to explore movie-making! It is not exactly known what had transpired in his head to lead him on this path (I gravely guard this information of life-changing proportions).
In the summer of god-knows-when, he attended a TV and multimedia production class at the Arlington Career Center, where he enhanced his filmmaking prowess. And then the summer ended, and there was no more class. But, his interest continued to fester and grow over the years.
In middle school, even though there was an art class, in which he learned to sew and make linoleum prints, there was no filmmaking, multimedia, or television program. So, what did he do? Why, he followed in his father's and sister's footsteps, of course! and decided to join BAND! where he somewhat thrived as a percussionist for three years. He wasn't too interested in learning musical notes though, so he confined himself to the snare, the base, and, occasionally, the timpani (there were only four notes there, haha!), but he was insulted when he was reduced to playing the tambourine or the triangle. And, he hated practicing. Everyone was banging there heads against the wall trying to figure out why he seemed to be so disinterested in banging a drum. "Well...", some smart people came to realize, "He doesn't read notes, he doesn't practice, and he burns holes through his sheets of music with his ridiculously sinister glare!" For so long, Zach had been brainwashed into thinking that he liked playing instrumental music when he, in fact, hated playing instrumental music - well...hate is a strong word. Zach believes he just didn't enjoy the kinds of music he was playing in band class, because he sure enjoyed doodling on the piano. Not "drawing" on the piano - improvising! Making his own music and playing themes from his favorite movies ("Jaws", "Jurassic Park", "Mission: Impossible", the James Bond theme, "Forrest Gump", "Halloween"). He improvised more often on the piano than he did on his drum set, which his parents later sold when he told them that wasn't a bad idea. He may not have liked reading notes, but he certainly liked playing them, and that interest/something of a talent endured to this day. Zach still, sometimes, not very often (well, barely) reminisces about playing his snare drum. He can still play "Wipeout" on a snare...or a table.
So, middle school was coming to an end, and Zach knew he didn't want to continue with band. So, one day, mandatorily, he went to go speak with his counselor to discuss and figure out what his future in high school would have in store. For some silly reason, filmmaking never came up in their discussion...or it did, and he forgot. But, his counselor did pose a possible interest that had never occurred to Zach before: Theatre. Immediately, Zach was repulsed by the idea of "acting" on a "stage". He thought he would be mocked and ridiculed - Why? Zach, growing up, was socially inept. He had very few friends, if any, and less knowledge of how to make them. He only lived in his head. So, he was a victim of constant bullying and harassment (this began before cancer and persisted after cancer). Throughout junior high and high school, he would come to fear what other people thought of him, while, unfortunately, having very little concept as to how his behavior was affecting and alienating those around him. He felt that by making himself the center of attention by being thrown onto a stage would only make things worse for his sensibilities. But, Zach took a chance and discovered how incredibly wrong he was. Theatre had changed everything it was the cure to his shell. In theatre, Zach came to recognize the potential - the spectrum of his behavior, through the practice and replication of behavior of fictitious characters. He was able to learn and more easily discern what kinds of behavior were pleasing/displeasing, acceptable/unacceptable, humorous, etc. He began molding himself into a new person - the person he is today. Along with assisting him in shaping his personality, Zach just grew to absolutely adore acting. He loves being able to leave his familiar life and enter the attractively strange, silly, intense, or obscure world of the characters on the page. It was, and still is, immensely freeing.
Zach was involved in theatre for the first three years of high school. Feeling that he could combine both his illustrative and theatrical talents, he transitioned back to filmmaking in his senior year when the same TV and multimedia course at the Arlington Career Center became available. In this class, Zach honed his video editing craft. He also took a film study course his second semester of his senior year in which he directed and edited the first feature-length film ever made at Washington-Lee High School, "A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Lethal Intelligence for Complete Eradication)", a film about a high school computer geek who accidentally comes into possession of a thumb drive that contains a virus capable of wiping out the memories of every computer in the United States...or something like that. However silly the film may seem to him in retrospect, the film's completion is still a proud achievement for Zach and it made him more confident in his filmmaking abilities.
When high school ended, Zach had a choice to study illustration, acting, or filmmaking in college. It remains a mystery to this day as to why Zach didn't just pursue all three - he very well could have. The best explanation he has is that he felt he could educate himself on acting and illustration. Filmmaking, on the other hand, was different. There were still many things Zach needed to learn about filmmaking to allow that talent to catch up to the other two. So, he capped his formal education with two degrees in filmmaking: BFA Film and Photography, which emphasized experimental and documentary filmmaking, and BA Cinema, emphasizing narrative filmmaking. BFA Film was a major that allowed Zach's creativity and imagination to run wild, and explore the possibilities of filmmaking. He also learned a lot about the technological aspects of filmmaking, particularly lighting and cinematography. This class helped Zach discover his filmmaking style. The second degree, BA Cinema, was a class that taught Zach the value of teamwork and professionalism when faced with the "real world" of filmmaking. This was extremely important as BFA Film was more about expanding the voice of the artist - finding the auteur in the filmmaker rather than developing strategies to work with a crew and work responsibly. But, BA Cinema made up for that in spades.
With over a decade of directing, editing and shooting music videos and commercials for rock stars, athletes, dancers and independent artists. Rey Gutierrez has quickly become the hottest creative force in the film, music and gaming industry.
Gutierrez's fascination with video games serves as his major influence. He feels the way stories are told through the games leads viewers to become more immersed. He seeks to replicate that feeling in his music videos, films and other projects.
Performing for family and friends since he was a young lad, Maxwell Korn has been doing horrendous impersonations of celebrities, and mimicking his family members' laughs and sneezes for as long as he can remember. He believes that you don't truly know a person until you can replicate the unique sound of their nasal evacuation. His love of making people laugh was instilled at a very early age by his parents and grandparents who raised him around atrociously bad jokes.
Born and bred in North Carolina by Northerner parents, he developed neither a Northern nor Southern regional dialect. Max grew up loving sports, music, theater, movies, video games, water guns, and sushi.
In high school, performing with his show choir instilled in him a love of singing, and being onstage. It was there that he decided to pursue the performing arts. Attending Elon University for Music Theatre, his aspirations expanded to other art forms, such as film.
Browne has successfully led creative teams in various countries. His varied career has included advising several Middle Eastern government clients on the development strategy for the implementation of training and development for a viable film industry. This work also included the branding of the major government initiatives Bahrain 2030 and Abu Dhabi 2030, along with several other GCC clients. He is an expert in private equity and structured finance & investment banking and has done so for a wide range of companies including the French Merchant Bank Indosuez, Zurich Bank, Australia's Macquairie Bank, and Babcock & Brown ("I am Sam", "Shallow Hal", "Lord of the Rings 2 & 3"). Whilst at Babcock & Brown his team structured the first leveraged leasing structure. This structure was replicated and closed as Dune (structured as Lattitude), Melrose was the first to stress test the structure and the rest is history with 15 billion in film financing raised by various companies utilizing this structure. For BMCE Bank Morocco he intitaited a fund structure to invest in major motion pictures which had a positive impact on local communities. He also worked on British Telecom's entertainment delivery systems in their infancy, advised John Malkovich's company Paris Mudd and was the creative consultant for RTV Arabia, who produce the world's most watched Formula 1 feature. Recently Gregory played a major role as an exec in putting together financing for Corsan Nv and the financing of "The Devil's Double","Singularity" with Josh Hartnett and "The Killing Season" with Robert de Niro and John Travolta. He represented Corsan in the sourcing and arranging of the Oscar winning director Paul Haggis' film, "The Third Person" with Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Olivia Wilde and Kim Bassinger. Browne has developed excellent business relations with major European, Hollywood and Chinese companies, financiers, financial institutions and banks. With over 20 years experience Gregory is unique in the fact that he has not only structured major film finance deals and single picture financing but has also written produced and directed over 30 commercials, feature documentaries and films. He was an originator in the structuring of EIS combined with concessional capital and cross boarder tax credits. Browne is an accredited journalist and a member of the National Union Of Journaists, Deutche Journalist Verband (DJV), The Australian Society Of Cinematographers (ASC).
Daniel Winston Hefner was born on December 16, 1969 at 5:25 pm. in Lynwood, California. Two minutes later, his parents Tom Hefner and Leah Hefner, were shocked to discover that they were having identical twins, with the arrival of his brother, David Lee Hefner!
When Dan was four years old, his parents were fed up with the big city life, so they moved... to the rural rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. During the long rainy seasons, Dan began drawing, writing, and watching countless hours of classic and now classic "scripted" television shows. With his brother, the thirteen year olds collaborated on writing and illustrating several children's "Choose Your Own Adventure" style books. They soon formed their production company, "Hefner Bros. Productions" and converted their shared bedroom into a recording studio. In this makeshift studio, they produced and created audio taped stories complete with sound effects - replicating the radio plays of the Golden Era! Around age 14, they pooled their allowance together along with their earnings from their Landscaping business to purchase a used Super 8mm film camera from a local garage sale. As film stock was expensive and difficult to attain, these low budget films forced the self-taught boys to stretch their creativity and skills. Being an identical twin was an asset, as they both would act in their own films. Many times doubling as the same actors, which allowed them to share tasks Directing, and being Cameraman.
In high school, Dan took every Television Production, Electronics, and Computer Programming class offered. He soon found an interest in computers. With his passion of videogames, he focused on computer interactive entertainment. By the mid 1980s he had created and programmed several videogames. Dan had an early vision of combining his two passions- films and videogames, thus becoming an early pioneer of Hollywood merging with the computer industry. This led to his next project, a pre-Toy Story fully CGI animated short film in the late 1980s. It was during this period that Dan was heavily into research and development- programming computerized speech with randomizations and artificial intelligence.
After graduating from high school, he immediately attended L.H. Bates, the best Vocational Technical Institute for Television Broadcast and Production on the west coast. While learning quickly, and still a student, he became an instructor at the institute. After graduating with a diploma, he relocated to Boise, Idaho for work, where by age 21 became Operations Supervisor of Fox Television affiliate KTRV. After working there for 7 years to the day, he resigned from his position, and moved to California to rejoin with his twin brother, David. He freelanced with him for a while doing production work, until he decided to pursue more steady work in the field of Feature Film and Television Post Production. Becoming an early adopter of High Definition Video, he has worked for several of the leading Post Production facilities in Hollywood.
Director Arun Vaidyanathan's Achchamundu! Achchamundu! is the culmination of a two-decade dream and hardwork on celluloid. There's no escape from the creative bug and the director, who grew up in Sirkali, a small temple town in southern India, took an instant liking to arts from his childhood. And even as he was in college, Arun sought an identity for himself, producing and performing in TV shows in his mother tongue Tamil. It was here that he was first exposed to international cinema when he worked on a Hollywood movie review program, which, needless to say, was a huge hit.
The leap towards film-making was not immediate, however. It might have been a plush job in a software company that took him to USA, near the hub of fimmaking, but Arun had other plans. Having found his calling, he quit his job and chose to study the nuances of filmmaking at the New York Film Academy in 2003. Subsequently, he worked on short films that have been screened at many film festivals across the world including the Athens science fiction & fantasy film festival, Bollywood and Beyond film festival at Germany, IAAC New York and the Festivus film festival. The Seance won IFC's Media Lab award, Official selection in so many festivals including Triggerstreet, co-founded by Academy award winner Kevin Spacey and was also one of the weekly nominees in the Sundance/SciFi channel exposure contest. One Soul bagged him a director's citation at the Blackmaria Film Festival. It also won a Best cinematography award at the Terror Film Festival.
Arun's creative ideologies have been moulded by a mix of eastern and western cultures and philosophies. He seeks to make a niche for himself by replicating this in his movies - and marrying the East & the West. This is the key underlying theme of his first feature film, Achchamundu Achchamundu. The film, a psychological thriller, has already been awarded the Best Homegrown Feature Film at the Garden State Film Festival. This film won 'Best feature film' and cash prize at 7th Chennai International film festival and shown at various prestigious festivals including Shanghai International Film Festival, Cairo International film festival and International Film Festival of India, Goa.Even as his many-year dream comes to fruition with Achchamundu! Achchamundu!, it is only the beginning of another of Arun's dreams: to transcend parochial borders, and make films for everyone.
Born in Parma, she is a lyric soprano graduated from the Conservatory of her city beginning to work in the field of opera, but in 1934 the director Max Ophuls makes to cast for the film "La signora di tutti", along with Isa Miranda. It will be the first of a long list of films that engage until the mid-50s. In the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma in 1945 is Micaela in "Carmen" replication with Galliano Masini and Sofia in direct "Werther" shooting by Oliviero De Fabritiis with Tito Schipa, Saturno Meletti and Titta Ruffo. After the war also plays some direct film-opera by Carmine Gallone, a specialist in this kind of films, and Mario Costa and Piero Ballerini. She will work in some operettas, even abandoning television for the early activities of the '60s. She was married to director Marco Elter.
Andrew Egiziano, originally from Northern California, started his career at Disney Animation Studios before moving onto Feature Movies such as SpongeBob the Movie and line producing Barnyard the Movie.
Andrew is the Founder of CounterPunch Studios (CPS) located in Los Angeles California. CPS specializes in the creation of full production 2D and CG animation. The company also produces photo real digital doubles replicating humans for Features, New Media and Video games.
Mark Daniel Zoran was born January 1985 in Joliet, Il. Graduated (as a Junior) from Joliet West High School in 2002. Mark has been involved with creating and replicating sets and props for over 10 years and has recently been awarded an IAWTV (IAWTV.org) Award for Best Costume Design in a Series, for his work on Fallout: NUKA-Break Season 2. Mark's love for television and film has always been a key factor in his life at an early age. It is this passion that helps in bringing his designs and others to life.
Mark will be returning for the new series by Wayside Creations, THE Legend of Grimrock, based on the computer game series of the same name.
Mark owns and operates Razorfly Studios, an award winning prop and costume design company.
|José Andrés Solórzano Becerra
José Andrés Solórzano graduated from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, with a bachelor's degree in Communications with a specialization in Film Production. During this period, he worked for Red Bull's communications department, where he developed social media strategy and audiovisual content that was successfully replicated throughout Latin America.
Upon graduation, he directed the first stereoscopic 3D television content in Mexico, the iconic off-road race Baja 1000 for Red Bull. He was also, a cinematographer for Vans, Henkel and Nat Geo, among many others. He has poured his passion to stories that try to positively shape and impact a different society, working with native indigenous communities, immigrants, and social movements in North and South America.
He has shot feature films, short films, documentaries, commercials, fashion films and music videos. His first full-length film as a cinematographer "Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians", won eleven different awards at international film festivals. Andres graduated from the American Film Institute (AFI), with a MFA in cinematography, class of 2016. He is actually based in LA.
Hannes Rall (aka Hans-Martin Rall) Associate Professor (tenured) at the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He is currently Area Coordinator of the Digital Animation Program at ADM. Hannes is also an illustrator and independent animation director. Hannes Rall has shown his work in exhibitions and screenings and has been an invited speaker for workshops and conferences in more than 20 countries and over 100 film-festivals worldwide. He is a member of the Society of Animation Studies and has presented his research in 14 international conferences since 2010. His research is focused on exploring adaptation methodologies of traditional Asian art forms for animation and on inter-cultural collaborations. Former research projects include: -"Tradigital Mythmaking-The Next Level Adapting Traditional Asian Stories for Digital Animation" -"Visualizations and Interactive Information Graphics - the Eastern Perspective" -"New Computer Animation Techniques for Replicating Singaporean/Indonesian/ Malaysian Puppet Theatre (Wayang Kulit)"
Hannes Rall is directing the 25 minute animated short film "The Cold Heart", adapted from the novel by Wilhelm Hauff, funded by MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg for a 2012 release.
Richard Sherry has an amazing ability to entertain audiences with his magic and escape talents as well as his quick wit and sense of humor. Performing professionally for over 30 years, Richard has astounded audiences with incredible magic and terrifying escapes; many of which are his own creations.
Richard is a world famous magic designer and builder and has created many spectacular illusions and escapes that audiences have never seen before. The most terrifying that he has created and also performed include the Phobia escape and the Fatality escape. The terrifying Phobia escape was replicated from an original Sherry and Krall Magic video on the major motion picture Saw V. Other wonders that Richard has performed include the suspended straitjacket with a burning rope over a bed of spikes, severely locked and handcuffed and placed within numerous crates, trunk and coffins, the 85 gallon drum, the Water Torture Tank, the dreaded Milk Can and the Buzz Saw. Pieces created by Richard Sherry have also been placed in museums around the world.
Richard's incredible skill as a builder and designer has earned him the title of the top Escape builder in the world. Many of the top names in magic come to him for his incredible creations. Richard's crowing achievement has been to build a virtually exact working replica of Houdini's Chinese Water Torture Cell. Dave Dorsett of Douglas~Wayne Illusioneering in Macomb, IL, USA had an opportunity many years ago to examine Houdini's original Chinese Water Torture Cell before it was destroyed in a fire. Dave commented on the Richard Sherry replica and said the following, " I also wanted to say how impressed I was by your work on the Water Torture Cell... as the company beat out by Gaughan for the refurbishment and the marketer of the miniature reproductions, we had every opportunity to study the original. Your reproduction is phenomenal... better than the work John did on the restoration for Copperfield. You should be proud."
On September 21 2012 Richard Sherry and Dayle Krall paid tribute to Harry Houdini by performing an exact working replica of Houdini's most famous escape, the Chinese Water Torture Cell. This tribute was also a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the first performance of this incredible escape by Houdini on September 21 1912. The replica Water Torture Cell was created by Richard Sherry and is a testament to his incredible abilities as a builder. Richard is the first person in the world to create a replica of Houdini's exact Water Torture Cell and with the help of Dayle Krall performing it they have given live audiences of today a chance to experience a piece of history in the 21st century. Dayle Krall is the first person to perform Houdini's original style of Water Torture Cell since Houdini himself.
Richard has performance experience with live audiences on stage, television, private functions and within the circus.
By the time Joel completed his film school studies he had worked on and shot several 35mm projects. His professional film career began with set work on "Dante's Peak" (Universal Pictures). Subsequently, Joel moved to Hollywood and continued shooting and crewing diverse independent features, music videos & documentaries. Continuous camera work includes camera operating for TV shows "Jimmy Kimmel Live", "American Idol", "The Showbiz Show", underwater work for "CSI: NY" and other International documentary work. For the music video industry Joel shot Coheed and Cambria's top ten rock music video "Welcome Home" with the intent of replicating the stylistic horror look of the band's graphic novel. He has been honored by both the Society of Camera Operators for having demonstrated excellence in the art and craft of operating cinematography and by the International Cinematographers Guild for artistic achievement in cinematography. Joel has traveled to over 30 countries filming in around 15. His eye for patience and beauty complements any production.