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Armory Friday, April 08, 2016 - 6:15 PM
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
Director(s): Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
In the 1970s, groundbreaking TV producer Norman Lear (All In the Family, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons) shifted the national consciousness by injecting lowbrow comedy and enlightened humanism into sociopolitical debates on race, class, religion, and gender. Bringing provocative subjects like war, poverty, and prejudice into 120 million homes each week, he proved that social change was possible through an unlikely prism: laughter. At 93, Mr. Lear is still as vital and politically engaged as ever. This documentary is more than the definitive chronicle of Lear’s life, work, and achievements; it is a dynamic portrait that matches the spirit of its subject.
Directors’ Statement: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
As filmmakers who most often create observational documentaries about regular people unknown beyond their immediate communities, we looked at telling the story of the very public Norman Lear as a new challenge. After all, the man has spent over 60 years in the spotlight. What could we bring to his admirers that they didn’t already know? And how could we explain to younger viewers the colossal impact of his work on today’s popular culture? As we got to know Norman, we found a deeply complicated and at times contradictory man. Emotional but not sentimental, he’s a man looking forward at all times, frequently uttering the phrase “over, next” when he deems that it’s time to move on. This worldview was as surprising as it was refreshing, and inspired us to try our own unconventional take on the tried and true documentary biography genre.
Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing have been making outstanding documentaries together for 15 years. They are the founders and owners of Loki Films, a New York production company that has been lauded for shining a light on unknown worlds and taking an honest approach to delicate subject matter.
Their films include the Academy Award-nominated Jesus Camp, 12th & Delaware, and Detropia (AIFF12). The 2016 Rogue Award will be presented to Rachel and Heidi following the screening of Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You.
Making our films sometimes feels like examining an antique object puzzle. If you stare at the picture long enough and turn it upside down, the ordinary becomes something entirely new: The barn dance suddenly becomes a duel; the peacock morphs into the devil. — Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing
Graciously supported by Susan Krant, Wolfgang Platzer, Donna Ritchie and AIFF Emeritus Board Members Paul Adalian, Anne Ashbey, Jeff Blum, Cathy Carrier, Brooke DeBoer, Elizabeth Hoffmann, Ron Hulteen, Carol Jensen, Joanne Kliejunas, John Love, Ron Mogel, Pam Leandro Notch, Linda Otto, Amy Richard, Sandi Risser, and Karen Smith. Thank you!