On June 4, the Special Projects Committee and the Eastern Region Special Projects Committee jointly hosted the online event, A Celebration of Director Peter Bogdanovich. The event commemorated the life and legacy of this cinephile and Director of 1970s black-and-white classics like The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon, who was considered part of a generation of young “New Hollywood” filmmakers. The event featured a panel discussion with Directors Frank Marshall, Douglas McGrath, Bennett Miller, David O. Russell, Chuck Workman and Actress Cybill Shepherd in a conversation moderated by Eastern Region Special Projects Committee Chair Raymond De Felitta.
Illustrated by clips from his work, the panelists spoke about their collaborations and friendships with the Director, or how they were influenced by Bogdanovich, who passed away in January 2022. The event also featured recorded tributes from Directors Richard Linklater, Guillermo del Toro and Barbra Streisand.
Kicking off the discussion, De Felitta recalled how his own friendship with Bogdanovich progressed throughout the years and said, “I loved Peter for his humanity and gentleness.” Those sentiments were echoed by both McGrath, who recalled how Bogdanovich was known for “his kindness and comradeship” and Miller, who remembered their first encounter at the premiere of Miller’s Capote, and how Bogdanovich was “unbelievably generous.”
One of the clips discussed was a scene selected by both Marshall (who worked on the film) and Russell from Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon — a two-minute single take of Ryan and Tatum O’Neal arguing while driving. Marshall recalled how it took two days to complete because one or the other of the actors would blow a line which required the caravan to have to drive a further five miles out of town to the next turnoff, in order to go back and restart the scene on the piece of road they chose to use. Russell shared with the group a framed movie poster of Paper Moon signed by the cast and revealed he has memorized every line from the film.
Elaborating on Bodanovich’s skills, Workman said, “Peter was such a modest artist. Incredibly talented. He was not just a good Director with good actors, he was also a good editor.”
Calling Bogdanovich her first acting teacher, Shepherd recounted her experiences working with him on The Last Picture Show, Daisy Miller and At Last Long Love and mentioned how he always made her feel comfortable on the set.
A DGA member since 1970, Peter Bogdanovich built his reputation with writings on films and filmmaking before becoming a Director himself with his first feature, Targets and a documentary on his filmmaking idol, Directed by John Ford. His first critical and box office hit, The Last Picture Show, was nominated in 1972 for the DGA’s Feature Film Award and eight Academy Awards. His following film, What’s Up, Doc? firmly established Bogdanovich as a leading director of the 1970s. His 1973 feature, Paper Moon, was also nominated for multiple Academy Awards. Other credits include the features Daisy Miller, Nickelodeon, They All Laughed, Texasville and the documentary, The Great Buster.
Video from this event coming soon to the gallery below
ABOUT THE PANELISTS:
Marshall has a career spanning almost 50 years and over 80 films. After starting in 1967 as an Assistant to Peter Bogdanovich on their first film, Targets, and then as Location Manager on The Last Picture Show, Marshall worked closely with Bogdanovich for years, eventually making ten pictures together. His directorial credits include the feature films Arachnophobia, Eight Below, Alive, Congo and the documentaries The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart and JazzFest: A New Orleans Story. Marshall joined the DGA in 1985.
McGrath is a Filmmaker and Playwright. His directorial credits include the documentaries, Becoming Mike Nichols and His Way (about the legendary promoter and producer Jerry Weintraub). He also wrote the book for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, is one of the longest running musicals in Broadway history. For that work, he was nominated for a Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award. McGrath joined the DGA in 2002.
Miller’s directorial credits include the feature films Foxcatcher and Moneyball, the documentary The Cruise and the documentary short The Question. He was nominated for an Academy Award and the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures in 2005 for his feature Capote. Miller has been a DGA member since 1999.
|David O. Russell
Russell’s directorial credits include the feature films, I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings, Flirting with Disaster and Spanking the Monkey. He garnered Academy Award nominations in both writing and directing for his 2012 feature Silver Linings Playbook and also received DGA and Oscar nominations for directing his 2010 feature The Fighter and his 2013 feature American Hustle. Russell has been a DGA member since 1998.
As an actor, Shepherd made her screen debut in Peter Bogdanovich’s 1971 feature The Last Picture Show and continued to build her film career with influential roles in Elaine May’s The Heartbreak Kid and Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. After making her television series debut in an episode of Fantasy Island, she went on to star with the series, Moonlighting and Cybill.
Workman knew Peter Bogdanovich well for over forty years and shared his strong interest in filmmaking and important films and Directors. Workman is an award-winning filmmaker in multiple fields. He won an Oscar for Best Short Film for Precious Images, made for the DGA and has made several documentaries, recently Magician, about Orson Welles, which featured Bogdanovich in a prominent role. Workman joined the DGA in 1973.
Raymond De Felitta (moderator)
ABOUT THE COMMITTEE
The Special Projects Committees
Special Projects is the educational and cultural arm of the Directors Guild of America, providing its members opportunities for creative exchange to advance their craft and celebrate the achievements of directors and their teams. The Eastern Region Special Projects Committee is chaired by Raymond De Felitta. The Special Projects Committee is chaired by Jeremy Kagan.