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California Hall of Fame to Induct the Four Warner Brothers

By Carla Meyer

Published: Monday, Mar. 18, 2013

Before the Warner Bros. "WB" logo connoted a conglomerate and even before it evoked Elmer Fudd chasing Bugs Bunny, four visionary brothers stood behind it.

Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack Warner were sons of Polish Jewish immigrants too persecuted and then too poor to send their children to school. Sent to work early in their lives, the Warners parlayed their unflagging work ethic and an ability to recognize the next big thing into one of Hollywood's most successful film studios.

The next big things during the Warners' rise in show business were nickelodeons, kinetoscopes and syncing sound to film. The last innovation, first successfully used in the 1927 Warner Bros. film "The Jazz Singer," changed the picture business forever.

On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown, first lady Anne Gust Brown and the California Museum will induct the brothers into the California Hall of Fame. Harry Warner's granddaughter, Cass Warner, will attend. Jack Warner, youngest of the brothers, died in 1978.

"They came from nothing and their dream was as big as anyone can dream," Cass Warner said by phone from her home in Santa Barbara.
Warner, director of a 2008 documentary about her grandfather and great-uncles called "The Brothers Warner," said the family is "delighted and honored" by the Hall of Fame award.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/17/5264101/california-hall-of-fame-to-induct.html#storylink=cpy

 
Chicago Daily Herald: A brief history of the Warner Bros
Published March 19, 2010

"The Brothers Warner"

For those who love movies and the history of filmmaking, this terrific documentary is one that you will really enjoy. Written, directed and narrated by Cass Warner Sperling, Harry Warner's granddaughter, the documentary has been honored at 33 film festivals and has won eight awards. The program, based on Sperling's best-selling book, provides an inside look at the four Warner Brothers and how they went from starting their first storefront theater to creating one of the top studios in America.

Brothers Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack each brought their vision of the world to the venture. Warner Brothers was the first socially conscious company to take topics for screenplays out of the headlines of newspapers.

Sperling spent 30 years researching personal archives and doing interviews with relatives, actors, executives and others with ties to the studio.
 
San Fran Chronicle: Warner granddaughter explores family dispute

Published March 19, 2010

Cass Warner Sperling calls her production company Warner Sisters, and she has every right to riff off the name of the famous movie factory. She's the granddaughter of Harry Warner, a founder of Warner Bros., and she grew up on the studio lot.

Everyone interested in the old Hollywood knows about the autocratic Jack Warner. But there were four Warner brothers, and Sperling is dedicated to telling the full story. She's directed a documentary, "The Brothers Warner," based on the history she published in 1993. The film is now on DVD.

Jack Warner is far from beloved by some other members of the family, who say he used underhanded means to gain control of the studio. He also earned many enemies with his fiercely anti-communist views. The gulf between Jack and Harry was wide.

The film attempts to set the record straight by presenting home movies, photographs and new interviews with the likes of Dennis Hopper, George Segal, Debbie Reynolds and others who had close dealings with Warner Bros.

Sperling spoke by phone from Santa Barbara.

Q: During its golden age, Warner Bros. was known for a certain kind of movie. What was that? A: I'm very proud of the fact, and it's one of the reasons I took on this project, that they made the first socially conscious films (in Hollywood). They took story ideas out of the headlines, and gave them to their writers, in the (studio's) Writers' Roost, and said, "Write something about this." So the films addressed the issues of the day for the man on the street, which was not typical at the time.

Q: You say in the film you had the run of the studio as a kid.

A: My father, Milton Sperling - who was a brilliant writer and producer, Oscar nominated for "The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell" - used to work there. And I got the privilege of going with him every Saturday ... and I would hang out and watch him and my grandfather work. I would wander the lot and go in anywhere the red light wasn't flashing, and I'd watch the magic. I was smitten by Clint Walker, the guy who played "Cheyenne" (laughs). He actually ruined my life, because he was the most handsome man I've ever known or seen. On my 12th birthday, my father set it up for him to give me a hug, and I haven't been the same since (laughs).

Q: You say Jack wrote his brothers out of history. Can you explain that?

A: Jack wrote a book after (the other brothers were) gone, and just sort of made up things that suited his fancy. He didn't get the facts straight (laughs). Which is one of the reasons I wrote my book, which came out in 1993 - and is still in print, by the way.

Q: Why do you think Jack and Harry didn't get along? Was part of the reason politics?

A: That's the million-dollar question. I always ask, when people say, "God, how do you handle the fact that Jack betrayed your grandfather like that?" I always say, "Excuse me, can anybody in this audience raise their hand and let me know if they've had any family conflicts like this?" (Jack and Harry) just had bigger stakes. And they couldn't have been more different personalities, and they were 11 years apart in age, and had different lifestyles and ways of doing business. My father said that if, at the time, there had been titles like CEO and president, Harry should have been the CEO and Jack should have been the president. When you have power, if you do not delegate, you might as well be ready for a stab in the back.

Q: Did making the film change your feelings about Jack?

A: In a big way. I understand him and forgive him. That's what the film allowed me to do. I wasn't there, I don't really know what happened. But I've spent 30 years of my life interviewing people who were there, and I can only deduce from what I've heard from others. I know that in a conflict, in a relationship, in countries fighting countries, there's always someone behind the scenes whispering black propaganda about the other person, or other country, and fueling the fire. There's no difference with (Jack and Harry's problems). I feel that any conflict can be resolved with communication. Unfortunately, that didn't happen with Jack and Harry - ever. It just festered and they took it to their graves.

Q: There's going to be a feature film made of "The Brothers Warner." Suppose you were casting actors to play Harry and Jack.

A: I've had this movie in my head since Jack Nicholson was young enough to play Jack, and Dennis Hopper was young enough to play Harry. Wouldn't that have been great?

The Brothers Warner: Documentary. Written and directed by Cass Warner Sperling. Warner Home Video. $19.98. (Not rated. 90 minutes.)

E-mail Walter Addiego at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/19/MVCB1CEUBU.DTL&type=movies#ixzz0idzTW2tX

 
The Brothers Warner - InklessMagazine.com


By jerryb    Published: December 8, 2009
Posted in: Films/Documentaries

www.inklessmagazine.com

The Brothers Warner is the true documentary story of the founding years of Warner Bros pictures and distribution.  Founded on extreme humble beginnings by brothers Harry, Jack, Abe and Sam, Warner Bros has played a significant role in supporting The American Dream.  Join us in this exclusive interview with Cass Warner to know more about this must have documentary.


(I.M)  Your documentary Brothers Warner focuses on the genesis (the beginning) of Warner Brothers Studios, what factors were important in your quest to document this great american story of accomplishment?

There were some very personal reasons that inspired the 30-year journey and quest I’ve been on.  My grandfather, Harry Warner, was a key figure in my life–a extraordinarily kind soul who cared not only for his family, his studio and all the employees in it but also for mankind and the issues of the day.  Revealing and understanding aspects of their trials and tribulations, their incredible persistence to reach their dream or goal against all odds, and them choosing to make films with a social conscience was extremely important to me.

(I.M)  Brothers Warner is a compelling documentary of challenges faced by your grandfather Harry Warner who co-founded Warner Brothers, how did you obtain your facts and data to compile this story?

As a child, my father writer/producer, Milton Sperling, used to tell stories around the dining table about the battles behind the scenes as he was a referee between my grandfather and the youngest brother, Jack.  Being fascinated by the characters and what I was observing really captured my curiosity.  In my mid-twenties, I started interviewing family members and others who knew them for my book that came out in 1993.  Its original title was “Hollywood Be Thy Name–The Warner Brothers Story”–a gift from my dear friend, Howard Koch, writer of CASABLANCA.  Meeting folks like Howard made my research memorable.

(I.M.)  How were you able to acquire all of the old footage from the studios, interviews,  and private home-movie footage for your documentary?

Most of the private home-movie footage I had to pay to get from stock footage houses as my great uncle Jack threw it away and it was taken out of his garbage and sold. Jack’s grandson had some which he was kind enough to exchange with me.  The old Warner Bros. film footage was made available by the studio.

(I.M.)  Do you have any grievances towards Jack Warner, and has your family healed from the wounds of the past events?

Once one has collected as much information as they can about an unpleasant situation, hopefully, there is more understanding which allows one to be compassionate and forgiving.  This is the route I’m glad I chose.  I can only hope that my efforts help the rest of my family to come closer together.

(I.M.)  Warner Bros studios made an outstanding decision to withdraw from Germany due to its ani-jewish practices which was a very bold move in that era.  Did this move act as either a positive or negative decision to American audiences and/or employees?

American audiences were for the most part in agreement about being isolationists until 1941.  Being that my grandfather traveled a lot of the year to open film exchanges and to handle studio business abroad, he saw firsthand what was going on with Hitler back in 1934 when the first concentration camps were created.  I’m very proud that he not only took a position on exposing this injustice but figured out a way to “educate, entertain and enlighten” audiences to this reality.  (This was the original motto for the studio–to use film to “educate, entertain and enlighten.”)  I believe, from the employees I’ve interviewed that they were extremely proud to be a part of this mindset.

(I.M.)  Because of the huge sums of money at stake in the film industry, do you believe that Harry Warner lived and practiced the quote It is not the challenge of dollars, it is the challenge of ideals and ideas.  If the producers of pictures see only the dollar, I believe those production efforts will fail? How is it possible for a capitalist venture (for profit entity) to not be concerned with profit?

Yes, I completely believe that he was dedicated to using the power of this global communication tool he knew he had to share ideas and ideals.  He felt film was an instrument of peace.  He also was a brilliant business man, and knew that he couldn’t keep the studio producing these types of films without it being viable and profitable.

(I.M.)  How did the brothers get the finances to open their first theatre in 1903?

With sheer chutzpah.

(I.M.)  In all of the history that I can find there is no report of how the brothers gained the knowledge to actually begin producing films, and gain knowledge in the filmmaking process.  Do you have any insight or knowledge of how they acquired these abilities?

By just deciding they could and would do it, and learning along the way what worked and what didn’t.

(I.M.)  As Harry?s granddaughter, how has being part of the Warner family affected your life?

Profoundly!  Having my grandfather as well as my mother and father be example of folks who care about what’s going on in the world and wanting to make a better world by their actions has greatly affected my life.  It laid in a very important foundation for me.  I’ve learned to welcome the responsibility that comes with being from a famous family.

(I.M.)  Was there ever any resistance from the Warner family for your making this picture?

None.

(I.M)  Harry Warner?s operations of Warner Brothers raised the bar of quality and expectation from movie goers in his time, do you feel that Harry may have opened the door to public service through the tools of media?

I can only hope so, and use this film to remind others who are making films that the viewpoints that come through their stories on the screen are assimilated like tunes that are hummed over and over again.

(I.M)  Cass, you founded your own company and called it Warner Sisters www.WarnerSisters.com, how well was this received by the current Warner Brothers of the 20th century?

There’s not been any problem from this.  In fact, the DVD of my documentary, THE BROTHERS WARNER, has been licensed by Warner Home Video and, Warner Sisters is soon to share a credit with the home studio on the DVD box.  Meanwhile, the DVD can be bought on my website until March 9th.

(I.M)  In your documentary you noted that Warner Brothers received disapproval for bringing sound into their movies through the Vitaphone technology, why do you think other studios disapproved of following this technology?

It was more about the fear of change, I believe.  Silents seemed to be doing well.

(I.M)  How well was the Brothers Warner documentary received in screening at international film festivals such as The Sedona International Film Festival?

I’m proud to say it’s been accepted in 34 film festivals and has won 8 awards.

(I.M)  Will your company Warner Sisters be releasing any of their own movies or program shorts in the near future?

On Warner Sisters’ website , we have the DVD for sale as well as signed copies of my best-selling biography, THE BROTHERS WARNER as well as hour-long individual interviews with those I spoke to in making the documentary:  Dennis Hooper, Debbie Reynolds, and many more.  I continue to shoot my “Conversations” one-on-one interview project which will be available shortly as an inspirational series of very personal shared wisdoms, and  I’m soon to have another book of all my grandfather’s quotes and speeches and never-before-seen photos available.

I’m delighted to say that I’m co-producing an A-list feature film called THE BROTHERS with the producer of LA VIE EN ROSE, Alain Goldman, which is being written by the very talented, Nick Pileggi (CASINO & GOODFELLAS).  This is a dream come true!

 
The Wizard of Oz is arguably the most watched movie ever made

Belleville Intelligencer

Written by BRUCE KIRKLAND, Belleville, Ontario, Cananda


The Wizard of Oz is arguably the most watched movie ever made. It is certainly one of the most beloved. There is a passionate, even obsessive relationship between this artful entertainment and its multi-generational audience that still thrives after 70 years.

"It always amazes me, all this interest in something from 70 years ago," original Munchkin Ruth Duccini tells Sun Media, recalling the excitement that started as soon as the movie made its debut on Aug. 15, 1939, at the famed Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. "What are they making now that's going to last 70 years?" In 1939, Duccini was a teenaged Munchkinland villager in a peaked cap and peasant dress.

Her fellow Munchkin, Karl Slover, simply says of the movie: "It appeals to all, especially children." He played the first trumpeter who helped the mayor greet Dorothy; he also portrayed four other roles he pulled off through exhausting costume changes.

For yet another Munchkin, Jerry Maren, The Wizard of Oz launched a long career in Hollywood -- he even threw the confetti at the end of The Gong Show. Maren played the middle Munchkin in the gruff trio, the Lollipop Guild. He was the one in green who handed the giant lollipop to Judy Garland, then a 16- year-old actress and singer who became a huge star by singing Over the Rainbow and by capturing the essence of schoolgirl innocence and vulnerability as Dorothy. "I did many films and shows," Maren says now, "but the one that gets the biggest reaction is always The Wizard of Oz. People looked surprised: 'You were in The Wizard of Oz? Wow!' That's how powerful a film it was."

Duccini, Slover and Maren are half of the six surviving Munchkin little people. All six are all in their 80s and 90s. They were among the 124 little people who played the villagers and, yes, the real little people were augmented by several normal-sized children.

For the movie, the little people and their friends inhabited the magical Munchkinland where Dorothy's house lands after a tornado rips it off its foundations back home in Kansas. Five of those little-people Munchkins, along with others involved in the Oz lore, gathered in New York last week for a 70th anniversary bash at Tavern on the Green.

The festivities were mounted to introduce a dazzling new restoration of the film, which made its big-screen premiere at the New York Film Festival. This week, the restoration also launched a new wave of Wizard of Oz DVDs, along with a Blu-ray debut that will leave even the most ardent fans slack-jawed in awe when they see what Warner Bros. has done with this MGM classic.

In both DVD and Blu-ray, the primary releases are both called The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition. In addition to the film and the bonus materials, both box sets contain collectibles. Among the goodies is a 70th anniversary Oz watch with a green strap, along with a new souvenir book and other items.

In both formats, you see The Wizard of Oz as never before, although the superiority of the Blu-ray is startlingly obvious in this case. That is because the studio has taken decades of ongoing preservation and restoration efforts to their zenith. The result is an image that is sharper. It reveals stunning new detail viewers have never seen before at home, such as the fine lines that imitate burlap in the Scarecrow's rubber face make-up, or the rivet in the middle of the Tin Man's brow that no one recalled noticing before. Colours are richer, deeper and more true to the original intentions. The sound has been carefully engineered into Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, although you can still choose to listen to a clean version of the original mono track. All the enhancements are more obvious on Bluray.

Ned Price, the Warner Bros. vice-president in charge of the on-going restoration program at the studio, sits for an interview with one of the Blu-ray box sets. "I'm stealing this for Martin Scorsese," he says of the filmmaker who has led an international film restoration campaign for decades. "I'm here to support restoration!" Price says with a smile.

"But my job with The Wizard of Oz is done. Now it is up to the consumers to prove to the studio that they're willing to support this effort."

Success with these projects, Price adds, "allows us to continually present the highest possible quality we can, rather than making do with what we've got!"

Warner Bros. owns The Wizard of Oz by purchase, not by purpose. In 1939, Warner Bros. was the edgy, gritty studio that excelled in personal dramas and crime stories. MGM was known for its lavish productions, and especially the musicals. But, after its sad decline later, MGM was broken up, its celebrated library sold to Ted Turner at Turner Entertainment. That was before most industry experts realized the lucrative future that was to become home entertainment, first on VHS and then DVD and Blu-ray. Meanwhile, when Warner Bros. bought Turner Entertainment, it found itself with some of the great classics of American cinema, including The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind, both from 1939 and both primarily directed by Victor Fleming (each film had multiple directors).

Hollywood historian Cass Warner, the granddaughter of studio co-founder Harry Warner, says she is proud that the studio that her family once ran now owns The Wizard of Oz -- and is treating it like a treasure.

"I think it's a timeless piece," she says. "I think it's got values and meaning and goodness that I just love in entertainment. It's for everybody."

The Wizard of Oz, she adds, has become a template for great moviemaking. "Hallelujah, it's all about great storytelling. That's what it gets down to and may that live forever. The art of storytelling is so important. That is part of the legacy I get to carry on."

For performer Lorna Luft, The Wizard of Oz is personal. Judy Garland was her mother. "It's fascinating because this is the movie that really catapulted my mother into the real 'thing' of a movie star."

While Garland had starred in movies before, including musicals with Mickey Rooney, "this was the movie that really launched her into being a household name -- and she knew that at the time. But I don't think any of them knew that 70 years ago later we would all be sitting here (talking about it) -- because it was another film, just another movie. And it was a hard shoot. They had many directors. Actually, when you think of what they had (to go through), the movie should not be as good as it is because it had so many struggles."

Pulling it together is a tribute to Fleming, MGM and, of course, the heartfelt L. Frank Baum storybook that inspired the movie, Luft says.

"The reason the movie is as good as it is and will always be there is the message: It's about home, it's about heart, it's about courage and it's about knowledge. What else is there?"

 
Blog on Cass - Off to See the Wizard!

We're Off To See The Wizard…At Tavern On The Green

On hand at the Emerald Gala evening event were Jennifer “Oz” LeRoy, Tavern's owner and CEO and granddaughter of Wizard producer Mervyn LeRoy; Cass Warner, founder and president of Warner Sisters, granddaughter of studio chief Harry Warner...    http://www.bryanreesman.com/blog/

 Click here to read entire article.   

 
Pod Cast

Cass Interviewed on the Actors Reporter. Hear Cass talk about this amazing film! Click here:

http://www.actorsreporter.com/2009/columnists/feel-good-film-festival-the-brothers-warner/

Enjoy! 

 
Huffington Post Article

 

Preserving Family and Hollywood History: The Brothers Warner

The Huffington Post article on July 27th by Paul Katz http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-katz/preserving-family-and-hol_b_245612.html

 

Cass Warner Sperling is the granddaughter of Harry Warner, one of the four founding brothers of the Warner Brothers movie studio.

Harry Warner and his brothers, Albert, Sam and Jack, strove to make films of social conscience and relevance. "The brother's credo upon founding the studio was 'to educate, to entertain and enlighten," Cass says.

Through many mergers and corporate takeovers, Warner Brothers has morphed into part of the largest existing entertainment conglomerate. It is rare to find anyone who remembers the origins of Warner Brothers as a family business. Additionally, a large part of the Warner family story had been lost due to a painful family rift.

Nearly three decades ago, Cass set out to learn more about Harry Warner and his brothers. She calls herself "the Warner family private investigator."

Her investigation has culminated in part with a fascinating documentary, The Brothers Warner. The film is as much a compelling family saga as it is a must see for anyone interested in Hollywood history.

Although Cass did not begin exploring her family's past until her early twenties, her inspiration stemmed from a memory of the last time she saw her grandfather.

As Harry Warner lay dying and unable to speak after repercussions of a debilitating stroke, ten-year-old Cass was brought to see him. Harry took Cass's hand and held it tight. A powerful and silent exchange took place between the two, but Cass did not fully understand or grasp its significance at the time.

Years later, Cass sensed that her Grandpa Harry passed something on to her in their last moments together. As an adult, she came to view the interaction as Harry's way of asking her to keep a promise, much like one she learned he'd made to his own father.

In the early 1900s, Harry and his brothers swore an oath to their father Benjamin. The promise was that nothing would ever break the bonds of their family.

Benjamin particularly held Harry accountable for the family mandate. "Harry," Benjamin would say, "you are the oldest of my sons and it is your responsibility to keep your brothers together. As long as you stand together, you will be strong."

Sadly, the brothers' promise to their father was broken when an unfathomable betrayal fractured the Warner family for decades. The family rift and the reasons for it were rarely discussed. If the situation was talked about, it was only in hushed tones.

In fact, in the mid-1970s, Cass's cousin, Jack Warner, Jr., was thwarted by his own father when he attempted to publish a fictionalized account of the family events. Cass says, "Jack Warner, Sr. was so powerful that there was no way Jack Jr. could publish the story using real names. He had to fictionalize." The book was called Bijou Dream, and names were changed to protect the innocent (or the guilty).

"Regardless of precautions Jack Jr. took," Cass continues, "Jack Sr. soon realized that Bijou Dream was a veiled attempt to expose the family secrets. Jack, Sr. issued an edict and the book was yanked from shelves."

The family history, even euphemistically told, was once again buried.

Cass viewed her promise to her grandfather as a responsibility to tell the truth of the Warner family, especially Harry's story. "The purpose was to correct history, honor my grandfather and all of his brothers and carry forward a legacy I am very proud of," she says.

As years went by and many of the "original players" were dying off, Cass was free to investigate without any roadblocks. After 11 years of research, her book Hollywood, Be Thy Name: The Warner Brothers Story was published in 1993. It is now in its eighth printing and has been re-titled the same as The Brothers Warner documentary.

Following the book's publication, it was planned that the Warner family story would be turned into a television mini-series. Cass found that the scripts were "too focused on the dirt and the scandals. They were tawdry. That was not the story I wanted to tell. I realized my family's story would be better served if I did this as a documentary before any fictionalized accounts were put together."

Cass was very inspired by a young filmmaker at a seminar who had purchased a reasonably priced camera and shot his own film. Quoting a Yiddish anecdote Norman Lear mentions during her documentary, she says, "I decided to put my tuchas (ass) on the table and do the film myself."

Determined to tell the family story as she envisioned, she mortgaged her home and started actively fundraising, which raised a few eyebrows. "People couldn't imagine why I would need to raise money to do this, being a Warner and all," Cass says.

Once she decided to make the film, the challenge was how to streamline key elements of the family tale into a 90-minute documentary.

In that respect, Cass gives a great deal of credit to her editor, Kate Amend, who edited both the Academy Award winning The Long Way Home and Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport. "Kate was invaluable to me, particularly in terms of zeroing in on the brothers' social conscience during the '30s and '40s."

Indeed, one of the strongest and most interesting segments of The Brothers Warner deals with Harry Warner's foresight in predicting the horror of Adolf Hitler.

In 1934, Harry chose to stop doing business with Germany after Hitler was named Chancellor and his first act was to order a boycott of all Jewish owned business. Warner Bros. was the first studio to stop doing business with Nazi Germany, years before any other Hollywood studio followed suit. At the time, Germany was quite a lucrative market and the majority of people thought the Warners were crazy to cut off a major source of revenue.

The Warner brothers also tried to make a film called Concentration Camp that same year. It was prevented from being made due to the Hollywood Production Code and fear that the studio would offend foreign governments or interest groups.

Had they been able to release the film they wanted in 1934, it is reasonable to conclude that the history of the ensuing ten years may have been altered. After all, just a few short years earlier, the brothers produced a film called I'm a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. The film caused such outcry from the American public that prison reforms were put into place.

The Brothers Warner also features insightful commentary from film experts, history professors, and Warner family members, in addition to Hollywood figures like Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., Debbie Reynolds and Dennis Hopper, to name a few. Hopper, in particular, contributes an anecdote involving Jack Warner and James Dean that adds to the reason why Dean is one of the quintessential American icons.

Fifteen years after the initial idea for a dramatized version of the family tale, Cass' book has been optioned and will be made into a big budget feature film. She will co-produce with Oscar-winning producer, Alain Goldman (La Vie en Rose). She adds, "I'm honored to have a very talented writer, Nick Pileggi (Casino and Goodfellas) writing the script. We expect to see the first draft of a script in a few months. It is my dream come true!"

Speaking of dreams coming true, despite all of Cass's research, there was one important element of the Warner family history that had remained elusive.

A serendipitous event is seen towards the end of the documentary. Cass was lucky to capture it on film as she happened to have a camera crew in her office the day it occurred.

"Out of the blue, I got an email from a second or third cousin who had plugged Warner Bros. into the Google search engine and noticed information on my company, Warner Sisters. On a mere hunch, she wondered if I might like to know an important piece of information. It was a mystery I had been trying to solve for over thirty years, so for this to happen was beyond thrilling!"

The information received seems a fitting reward for Cass Warner Sperling and the promise she kept to her grandfather.

For more information on The Brothers Warner documentary and book please click this link.

 
THE 2009 FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES AWARD WINNERS

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE 2009 FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES AWARD WINNERS

"DANCE OF THE DRAGON" RECEIVES THE JURY PRIZE

FOR BEST FEEL GOOD FEATURE

"LUCY: A PERIOD PIECE" IS NAMED BEST FEEL GOOD SHORT FILM

AND

AUDIENCE AWARDS GO TO

"ROCK SLYDE" FOR FEEL GOOD FEATURE

AND "GRANDE DRIP" FOR FEEL GOOD SHORT

 

 

 

LOS ANGELES, CA August 10, 2009 - The Feel Good Film Festival (FGFF) announces the award winners for its sophomore outing with Max Mannix’s and John Radel’s DANCE OF THE DRAGON taking home the Panavision Grand Jury Prize for Best Feel Good Feature Film and Julie Sagalowsky’s LUCY: A PERIOD PIECE named as the winner of the SLX Rentals & Sales Grand Jury Prize for Best Feel Good Short Film.

Hollywood Rentals Audience Awards went to Chris Dowling’s ROCK SLYDE for Feel Good Feature and Angelo Salvatore Restaino’s GRANDE DRIP for Feel Good Short. The Feel Good Award for Best Student Film was presented to Kunal Savkur for HAPPY MAN’S PANTS and Best Feel Good Webisode went to PINK EYE. Cass Warner’s documentary THE BROTHERS WARNER received a Special Mention in the Feel Good Feature category.

UNIVERSAL SIGNS took the two acting categories with Anthony Natale and Sabrina Lloyd named as Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, and SUMMERHOOD also snagged two honors, with Jacob Medjuck named Best Director and Ewan Dickson cited for Best Production Design. The Panther Award for Best Cinematography went to John Radel for his work on DANCE OF THE DRAGON.

Travis Mann’s, David White’s and Michael Toay’s "Godspeed" won the Feel Good Screenplay Competition and Skyebat (Stephanie Batailler) won the Feel Good Original Song Competition for the song, "Step on the Moon."

Graphic Designer June Tan, who was representing DANCE OF THE DRAGON at the film festival was presented with a prize package of more than $70,000 ($60,000 in-kind & 4 week camera rental from Panavision, $3000 in-kind from Hollywood Rentals, $3000 in-kind from SLX Rentals & Sales, $2000 in-kind from ISS Props, $1500 in-kind from Fujifilm, $500 in-kind from IndieRentals, 1 copy of Final Draft Version 8 and 1 copy of Showbiz Budgeting as the winner of the Best Feel Good Feature Length Film.

Sagalowsky received a prize package of more than $4500 ($1500 in-kind from SLX Rentals & Sales, $1000 in-kind from Hollywood Rentals, ISS Props and Fujifilm, 1 copy of Final Draft version 8 and 1 copy of Showbiz Budgeting for winning the Best Feel Good Short Film.

Dowling received $1000 in-kind from Hollywood Rentals, as well as 1 copy each of Final Draft Version 8 and Showbiz Budgeting for the Feature Film Audience Award and Restaino took home Final Draft Version 8 and Showbiz Budgeting as well.

For his Best Feel Good Student Film honor, Savkur received a one week scholarship at the New York Film Academy, $800 in-kind from SLX Rentals and Sales and 1 copy of Final Draft Version 8. Bryan also received copies of Final Draft version 8 and Showbiz Budgeting for his Best Webisode award.

$3000 in-kind from SLX Rentals & Sales was given to Radal along with his Panther Award for Best Feel Good Cinematography; the Best Actor and Best Actress nods came with a 1 year membership to Film Independent to go along with the Final Draft version 8 and Showbiz Producer and Showbiz Film and TV Contracts software, along with a demo reel shot by FINT Films; and Medjuck’s Best Directing nod included Showbiz Budgeting and Showbiz Scheduling, as well as a 1 week scholarship to New York Film Academy. The Best Production Design award included $500 in-kind for ISS Studio props, a 3- hour design consultation by MEHRNOOSH, and a 1-year membership to Film Independent.

Memberships to Film Independent and InkTip.com as well as the Final Draft and Showbiz Software were part of the package presented for the Best Feel Good Screenplay and 1 day of studio recording with an engineer at Tuff Cut Sound was awarded for the Best Feel Good Original Song.

Kristen Ridgway Flores, FGFF Founder and Co-Director, said, "The second year of the Feel Good Film Festival was a huge and happy leap forward. Our Opening Night Gala presentation of ROCK SLYDE was sold out with a standing-room-only crowd and each screening block, panel, and musical performance throughout the weekend had a solid attendance. I was thrilled to celebrate Ed Asner and our jury and audience award-winning projects this year. They are an inspiration! The positive feedback we have received again this year makes me confident there is a need for the festival's counter-programming and I could not feel more thrilled at what we’ve accomplished in just our second year."

The festival featured 60 films, including 16 features, 34 shorts, and 10 student films, as well as 2 webisodes. Along with the films offered throughout the festival, highlights included Carlos Mencia serving as host for the Opening Night Gala; a filmmaker panel exploring the limits of language and content in feel good entertainment and films featuring Emmy winning writer Rick Overton, Frank Conniff (Mystery Science Theater 3000), Lisa Ann Walter (DRILLBIT TAYLOR), Jacob Medjuck (SUMMERHOOD) and David Slevin (Manager, Comedy Development, FOX Broadcasting); musical performances in the Egyptian Theater Courtyard; and an outdoor bazaar highlighted by "green" and health-oriented vendors.

The weekend concluded Sunday evening with a Closing Night Awards Gala hosted by Brian Krause ("Charmed") featuring a Tribute to film and television legend, Ed Asner. Asner could not attend, but sent an acceptance video. The ceremony also included the screening of a music video of the song "Til My Voice is Gone" by The Old Ceremony that starred Asner and Eileen Ryan. The award winners all received the distinctive Feel Good Film Can w Sunflower awards designed by Lauren Bicknell and Scott Thewes with bases by Corkologie.

 

One of the highlights of the award ceremony occurred when Anthony Natale, who is deaf, accepted his Best Feel Good Actor award for UNIVERSAL SIGNS. As part of his acceptance speech, which he signed and was translated for the audience, Natale "taught" everyone how to say "feel good" in sign language.

 

JURY AWARDS:

BEST FEEL GOOD FEATURE FILM: DANCE OF THE DRAGON

Dir: Max Mannix and John Radel

Exec. Prod: Pierre Andurand, Gary Hamilton, Max Mannix, John Radel, Ying Ye

Prod: Robin Leong

Cast: Hyuk Jang, Fann Wong, Jason Scott Lee

SPECIAL MENTION: THE BROTHERS WARNER

Dir: Cass Warner

BEST FEEL GOOD SHORT FILM: LUCY: A PERIOD PIECE

Dir: Julie Sagalowsky

Prod: Josh Feldman, Julie Sagalowsky

BEST FEEL GOOD STUDENT FILM: HAPPY MAN’S PANTS

Dir: Kunal Savkur

Prod: Zach Guglin, Kunal Savkur, Stephanie Sorenson

BEST FEEL GOOD WEBISODE: PINK EYE

Dir: Brinton Bryan

Prod: Ryan Alosio, Brinton Bryan, Julie Gonzalo

BEST FEEL GOOD DIRECTOR: Jacob Medjuck (for SUMMERHOOD)

BEST FEEL GOOD ACTOR: Anthony Natale (for UNIVERSAL SIGNS)

BEST FEEL GOOD ACTRESS: Sabrina Lloyd (for UNIVERSAL SIGNS)

BEST FEEL GOOD CINEMATOGRAPHY (PANTHER AWARD): John Radel (for DANCE OF THE DRAGON)

BEST FEEL GOOD PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ewan Dickson (for SUMMERHOOD)

FEEL GOOD ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY AWARD: "Godspeed"

Writer: Travis Mann, David White & Michael Toay

FEEL GOOD ORIGINAL SONG AWARD: "Step on the Moon"

Music & Lyrics: Skyebat (Stephanie Batailler)

 

AUDIENCE AWARDS:

FEEL GOOD FEATURE: ROCK SLYDE

Dir: Chris Dowling

Exec Prod: Ed Ojdana, JB Orecchia, Dolores Robinson, Patrick Warburton

Prod: Milan Chakraborty, Chris Dowling, Jason Manns, Will Walace, Josh Young

Cast: Patrick Warburton, Andy Dick, Elaine Hendrix, Rena Sofer

FEEL GOOD SHORT: GRANDE DRIP

Dir: Angelo Salvatore Restaino

Exec. Prod: Hugo Perez, Jeff Silverman

Prod: Ryan Cheevers, Emily Moss, Greg Wilson

 

2009 FGFF JURY MEMBERS

FEATURE FILM JURY includes:

Julia Benaroya

Julia Benaroya is currently in International Publicity at Paramount Vantage where she has worked on such titles as REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, AMERICAN TEEN and LAST CHANCE HARVEY. She joined Paramount in 2008 after having worked in feature production at both Twentieth Century Fox and Fox Atomic. Julia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Film from Emerson College, Boston, MA.

Orian Williams

In 2004 Producer Orian Williams secured the rights to a biography based on the life of Ian Curtis, lead singer of the band Joy Division. CONTROL had its world premiere in Cannes 2007 opening the Director’s Fortnight and came away with 3 awards including Best European Film and received 4 BAFTA nominations including one win for writer. Orian recently completed a documentary based on Jack Kerouac’s novel The Big Sur, called ONE FAST MOVE OR I’M GONE: Kerouac’s Big Sur, featuring Tom Waits, S. E. Hinton, Patti Smith, Sam Shepard and Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie). Next year Orian will work with famed director Wim Wenders and will also begin production on a film about JEFF BUCKLEY. Orian was honored as one of Variety’s Top Ten Producers of the Year in 2007.

Robert Yu

Robert Yu is currently a film consultant specializing in distribution. Most recently, Mr. Yu was the Vice President of Acquisitions for PorchLight Entertainment overseeing all aspects of acquisitions and development. Prior, Mr. Yu was the Head of West Coast Operations for CinemaVault Releasing International, supervising the Los Angeles office. Previously Mr. Yu was the Vice President of the entertainment law firm / producer’s representative, Harris Tulchin & Associates / Tulchin Entertainment. Robert Yu started his career at Paramount Classics and Alliance Atlantis in Marketing and International Sales respectively.

 

SHORT FILM JURY includes:

Danielle Reardon

Danielle Reardon recently joined 100% Womon (a partner of Overbrook Entertainment) which produced HUMAN CONTRACT and HAWTHORNE, currently airing on TNT. Prior to 100% Womon she worked at the US branch of the Japanese company, Kadokawa Pictures which produced such titles as ONE MISSED CALL and the Showtime television series, MASTERS OF HORROR. Danielle graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Tuft University, Boston, MA.

Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly moved out to Los Angeles shortly after graduating from the

University of Texas at Austin, and has worked for Disney, Sony Pictures, The Jim Henson Company. After working in development as a story editor and director of development, he entered the wide world of blogging where he currently writes for sites like Cinematical, io9, Joystiq, /Film, Film School Rejects, Los Anjealous, LAist, and others. There's a constant supply of pop culture being dripped into his veins these days, and he's always looking for a new fix.

Bill Chott

Bill Chott is a Feel-Good Guy. He'll be appearing soon in THE RUM DIARY with Johnny Depp. He is one of the stars of DISNEY’S WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE, and he was Thomas in the feel-good hit THE RINGER. Bill teaches and coaches improv in LA and his home town of St. Louis, where he teaches improv to at-risk kids and adults. He brings a fun atmosphere to events, teaches improv to Global Messengers of the Special Olympics and performs at dozens of charity events each year.

 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY JURY includes:

Bradley Bredeweg

Brad Bredeweg and his writing/producing partner Peter Paige are currently writing REPEAT AFTER ME for Single Cell Pictures alongside producers Sandy Stern, Michael Stipe (BEING JOHN MALCOVICH, SAVED) and Gina Resnick(RESERVATION ROAD). Bredeweg and Paige are also the Creators and Co-Executive Producers of FLY GIRLS, a new docu-reality series for The CW. Brad is the co-writer of LOVE SHACK for ABC Family as well as THE KATIE MAY SHOW, a ` driven scripted drama pilot for E!. Bredeweg is a producer of the film SEX CRIME PANIC, based on the award-winning book by Neil Miller, directed by Peter Paige. Finally, Bredeweg is the Writer and Producer of ALYX, a pilot for ABC Studios, alongside Executive Producers Madonna, Guy Oseary, and Melissa Rosenberg. Bredeweg (and Paige) are repped by CAA, Anonymous Content, and lawyer Karl Austen.

Robert Knott

Robert is a third generation actor. His grandparents had a traveling tent show theater that followed the wheat harvest. When the show closed his family made camp in Oklahoma where Robert was born and raised by actors, musicians and storytellers. Prior to acting and writing, Robert spent his early years working across the globe on oil rigs. As an actor Robert most recently starred as the troubled waterman in SWIMMERS with two time Tony Winner, Cherry Jones. SWIMMERS premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Seattle International Film Festival. Robert also starred along with APPALOOSA'S Tom Bower in Robert M. Young's HUMAN ERROR, a comedy based on Richard Dresser's play that also premiered at Sundance. Robert's been working in theater, film and television for over 30 years. His film credits include: POLLOCK, directed by Ed Harris, Stephen Frears' HIGH LOW COUNTRY with Billy Crudup, STORM with Martin Sheen, BUFFALO SOLDIERS with Danny Glover and Walter Hill's, WILD BILL with Diane Lane and Jeff Bridges just to name a few. Robert had the pleasure of working on stage 'also' with Tom Bower in Harold Pinter's THE CARTACKER. As a writer Robert has written a diversity of scripts, depicting the stories of his family's wayfaring past to stage plays about oil riggers.

Robert wrote and produced APPALOOSA with Ed Harris. Harris directed, Knott directed second unit.

Sarah Mohazzebi

Sara Mohazzebi is an international journalist and screenwriter based in Los Angeles. A graduate of the American Film Institute, Sara is a frequent contributing writer for Emirates Woman Magazine, the largest monthly magazine in the Middle East, and covers entertainment and human interest subjects. Prior to her career in writing, Sara worked in development for Director Penny Marshall and as consultant for the Dubai International Film Festival.

 

ORIGINAL SONG JURY includes:

Richard Kraft

Richard Kraft is the founder of Kraft-Engel Management, one of the world's leading agencies specializing in representing film and theatre composers. Together with his partner, Laura Engel, they represent such clients as John Barry, Christophe Beck, Andrew Bird, Terence Blanchard, Jon Brion, Alexandre Desplat, Danny Elfman, Marvin Hamlisch, Alan Menken, David Newman, John Ottman, John Powell, Trevor Rabin, Graeme Revell, Marc Shaiman, Gabriel Yared and Aaron Zigman.

Fay Aiyana

Raised in South Carolina, Fay gave her first vocal performance at the young age of three. Having a voice described as sultry, depth-full and packed with heart, it is no surprise that Fay has accomplished a great deal since her move to LA in 2002. In no time, she was the assistant music editor for LAS VEGAS and NUMBERS. Her songs have been featured on hit films and television shows such as 7TH HEAVEN, WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB and TRULE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET. Currently, Fay spends most of her time song-writing and working as a full-time music editor on the hit show THE CLEANER starring Benjamin Bratt and Whoopi Goldberg.

Ludek Drizhal

Ludek is currently completing the score for the film ALABAMA MOON directed by Tim McCanlies. He has worked on a number of Starz Productions as well as independent films, such as BADLAND directed by Francesco Lucente and SIMON SAYS directed by Bill Dear. He recently finished work on the European production U PANA BOGA ZA MIEDZA (God’s Little Village) with acclaimed Polish director Jacek Bromski. Ludek graduated with a Masters of Music from the USC Thornton School of Music where he also taught for six years.

 

About The Feel Good Film Festival

The Feel Good Film Festival celebrates films and the filmmakers and creative artists that create entertainment with positive themes, happy endings, that make audiences laugh, and that captures the beauty of our world. FGFF will encourage the development, production, and distribution of films that share those characteristics as it offers a yearly touchstone for the viewing and enjoyment of those films.

Sponsors

Panavision, SLX Rentals and Sales, Panther Dollies & Cranes, Audiorents, Hollywood Rentals, Blue Angel Ultra Premium Vodka, Chakra Creative Indian Cuisine, ISS Props, New York Film Academy, Final Draft Version 8, ShowBiz Software, Fujifilm, The Hollywood Roosevelt, Roaring Lion Energy Drink, IndieRentals, Film Independent, IndieFlix.com, Tuff Cut Sound, Law Offices of John Nelson, InkTip.com, Hollyworld Flowers, Corkologie, Revolution 3D, FINT Films, MEHRNOOSH.

Contact: John Wildman, Director of Press & Public Relations, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (323) 600-3165

 
Sedona Talk Radio, March 27, 2009

An Interview by Joanna Paxinou on Sedona Talk Radio.

 Joanna’s guest is Cass Warner, the granddaughter of Harry Warner, who with his brothers Jack, Abe and Sam, founded Warner Brothers, one of the greatest studios in Hollywood.

Cass will discuss her moving and intimate documentary, based on her book entitled THE BROTHERS WARNER – “the definitive story of a family who rose from immigrant poverty through personal tragedies persevering to create a major studio with a social conscience.”

Cass will also talk about her own company, The Sisters Warner, which she founded to “embody the original Warner Bros. credo to educate, entertain and enlighten.” Listen to this delightful and committed woman who has spent 30 years researching her family history to produce “The Brothers Warner.” It is the story of an extraordinary family and a tribute to a beloved grandfather that touches everyone who sees this film.

Click here to play

 
Buzzine Culture and Entertainment March, 2009

An article by Emmanuel Itier, Film Editor.

Cass Warner is a maverick, a Woman with a capital ‘W.’ The proud granddaughter of Harry Warner, one of the original Warner Brothers who founded the legendary Studios, has resurrected the Warner legacy in a vibrant and moving documentary. The Brothers Warner is the story of a family who rose from immigrant poverty through personal tragedies, persevering to create a major studio with a social conscience — an intensely intimate portrait of the four film pioneers who founded and ran Warner Bros. studios for more than 50 years, presented like a love letter. Read the full article:
http://www.buzzine.com/2009/03/cass-warner-a-warner-legacy/

 
CASA Magazine - February 6, 2009

My Smorgasbord at the Festival by Alex Hentloff

The Brothers Warner is as well made movie business doc as I’ve seen. It is more than that. It is a rich family portrait not only of a Hollywood success, but of that special American something that relies on freedom to create, to imagine, to inspire, and be inspired. These four immigrant brothers saw a nickelodeon show when they were kids, pooled their nickels to start their own showings, and went on to create a studio with a social conscience. Harry Warner said, “It’s not the challenge of dollars, it’s the challenge of ideals, and ideas…If the producers see only the dollar, I believe, those production efforts will fail.” Cass Warner, Harry’s granddaughter, has created a multi-layered gift to history and to her family.

( Alex Hentloff is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with over 40 years experience in the theatre and has spent most of his professional career as an actor.)

 
Montecito Journal, January 29, 2009
Montecito at the Movies by Steven Libowitz,  

She hasn’t called Montecito home for more than 16 years, but “The Brothers Warner” writer director Cass Warner lived here for three years during high school in the mid 1960s, returned for another five-year stint in 1968 and spent another decade in Montecito beginning in 1982.

The granddaughter of Harry Warner, one of the founders of the seminal film studio that bears his name, Warner now lives in Painted Cave. But she raised her kids in a home on Schoolhouse Road – they went to MUS. Her son, Cole Hauser, 33, with her former husband, actor Wing Hauser, toils in the family profession, too; his more than 30 credits include

starring opposite Kathy Bates in Tyler Perry’s 2008 film “The Family that Preys.”

“The Brothers Warner” uses archival as well as personal footage to tell the story of the four immigrant brothers from Poland who formed the famous studio, including the family drama of sibling rivalry, employing memories, research and interviews with Dennis Hopper and Montecito resident Haskell Wexler, among others.
Read more...
 
Aspen - September 26 2008
The documentary “The Brothers Warner” makes the case that Warner Brothers was a pioneer among Hollywood studios in using film as a voice to weigh in on social issues. The studio used its commercial capital — built initially with a huge gamble on the first talkie, 1927’s “The Jazz Singer,” which paid off handsomely — to begin making movies that weighed in on the issues of the day. Films by Warner Brothers, founded in the first years of the 20th century by brothers Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack Warner, examined the prison system in “I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang,” and the coming tide of fascism in “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” — both of which were acclaimed, popular and controversial.
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