Saturday, September 15, 2012
Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan
Karen: Last weekend I hopped on a plane and flew out to my true home, the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area. Besides seeing An American Werewolf in London on the big screen (as I mentioned on Thursday), I also caught the U.S. premiere of a documentary, "Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan" at the Bal Theater in San Leandro. This is a wonderful documentary -I've seen others on Harryhausen, but this one really has it all: test footage, rare behind the scenes stuff, and plenty of footage with Ray himself. On top of this, the producers sought out many top film-makers, including Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Guillermo del Toro, John Landis, Peter Jackson, etc., to interview about how Harryhausen has influenced them. It's great stuff.
Making this showing even more special was the fact that one of the producers, Tony Dalton, agreed to be Skyped in before the show so the audience could ask questions -despite it being 3:30 AM his time!Dalton was a delight, and explained that one of the intentions of the documentary was to help raise money for the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation, which is seeking a home for Ray's models and artwork.
On top of all this, special effects gurus Phil Tippett and Dennis Muren were also in attendance, and after the film they got up and spoke about their careers, and Ray.
The finale was a showing of "Golden Voyage of Sinbad," which was coincidentally the first Harryhausen movie I saw in a theater. It was great to see it on a big screen again, after almost 40 years! The Bal Theater and Bay Area Film Events did a fantastic job.
The producers have said that a DVD of the documentary will be out "soon," so if you're a Harryhausen fan, keep your eyes peeled!