Saturday, March 31, 2012

Michael Maglaras Interviewed about Lynd Ward on WGAN














John McDonald of WGAN interviewed Michael Maglaras about O Brother Man: The Art and Life of Lynd Ward. Listen to the interview at this link.

View clips from the film at this link.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

World Premiere of New Lynd Ward Documentary at Penn State University Libraries

Film highlights work of graphic novel pioneer

University Park, PA (March 25, 2012) -- Penn State University Libraries will host the world premiere of 217 Films’ new documentary on Lynd Ward (1905–1985), the father of the American graphic novel and one of the most prolific book illustrators and printmakers in the history of American art, on Friday, April 20, 2:30 p.m., in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, University Park.

The film, "O Brother Man: The Art and Life of Lynd Ward," will be introduced by filmmaker Michael Maglaras with Robin Ward Savage, the artist’s daughter, in attendance. Featuring more than 150 wood engravings, drawings, and illustrations by this important American artist and storyteller, the 90-minute film brings the creativity of Ward to life and illustrates his mastery of narrative without text. Ward is best known for his six “novels without words” produced between 1929 and 1937. His work chronicles American life in the 20th century, and demonstrates his deep personal commitment to social justice and the plight of the workingman surrounding the years of the Great Depression.

217 Films is an independent film company founded by Michael Maglaras. The Sacramento Bee newspaper called Maglaras a filmmaker of "Bergman-like gravitas." His work has been described as "virtuoso filmmaking" (National Gallery of Art), "alive and fresh" (Art New England), and "elegiac and insightful" (Naples Daily News).

A preview of the film and other projects by 217 Films, the work of Maglaras and Terri Templeton, can be viewed at www.two17films.com/viewclips.php.

Follow this link to read more about this film in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/23/arts/design/motown-piano-restored-postcard-books-film-on-lynd-ward.html?_r=1

Housed at Penn State University Park in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection of the Special Collections Library, The Lynd Ward Collection is an example of the University Libraries' strong holdings in fine printing, printmaking techniques, children’s books, graphic novels, and original artwork for illustrated books. A gift from 217 Films to the Libraries has helped to digitize Ward's work and expand research opportunities for scholars and students interested in learning more about the creative process, illustration, and the book arts.

For more information, including physical access and special accommodations, contact Steven Herb at 814-863-5774.

University contact: Catherine Grigor, manager, Public Relations and Marketing, Penn State University Libraries. 814-863-4240; cqg3@psu.edu

217 Films contact: Tami Kennedy; 207-838-0816; tami@maine.rr.com

(Photo: Filmmaker Michael Maglaras interviewing Robin Ward Savage.)

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Friday, March 23, 2012

The New York Times highlights new Lynd Ward Documentary by 217 Films

NOTE: Please follow this link to view the complete screening schedule for this new film. Following the special preview screening at the Maine Festival of the Book on March 31, the world premiere will be held April 20 at Penn State University Libaries. The DVD will also be available in late April. Clips from the film can be viewed at this link.





AN ILLUSTRATOR’S LIFE

By EVE M. KAHN
Published: March 22, 2012

The prolific illustrator Lynd Ward had fans as diverse as superhero-comic-book collectors, the poet Allen Ginsberg and the graphic novelist Art Spiegelman. In the 1920s and ’30s Ward carved woodblocks for wordless books about capitalism’s oppressive side effects.

He showed slave traders, fascists, corrupt policemen and factory bosses victimizing the poor and other innocents, in tales with ominous titles like “Gods’ Man” and “Wild Pilgrimage.” In later years Ward mainly illustrated stories by other authors, but his compassion for the underdog still came through, especially in his 1942 watercolors for Hildegarde H. Swift’s “Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.”

“This man foresaw how corporate greed could possibly bring down a nation,” the documentary filmmaker Michael Maglaras said in a recent phone interview. He has devoted much of the past two years to a new movie, “O Brother Man: The Art and Life of Lynd Ward,” which will have its premiere on March 31 at the Maine Festival of the Book in Portland.

Mr. Maglaras and the producer Terri Templeton based the film partly on archives that the family preserved after Ward’s death in 1985, and they extensively interviewed Ward’s younger daughter, Robin Ward Savage. She remembers watching her father operate an inky press in the basement and engrave wood slabs without preliminary sketches.

Whenever Ward made a carving mistake, he would turn the block into fireplace kindling. But then his wife, May McNeer, a prolific children’s-book writer, would retrieve the singed carvings. “She just couldn’t stand to see them put into the fireplace,” Ms. Savage said in a phone interview.

The new film includes recently rediscovered 1930s footage of Ward flicking away wood shavings while creating a scene of hillside pastures about to be subdivided. “He might work all night long” to finish blocks, Ms. Savage says in the documentary.

In the 1940s her mother clambered around rocks under the George Washington Bridge, while her father sketched the little red lighthouse. In case the police noticed him and accused him of being a wartime saboteur, Ms. Savage says, “My mother would stand guard with a copy of the contract from the book publisher in her purse.”

Monday, March 5, 2012

Maine Premiere of New Lynd Ward Documentary by 217 Films

Maine premiere of 217 Films’ new documentary on Lynd Ward, the father of the American graphic novel and one of the most prolific book illustrators and printmakers in the history of American art. Introduced by filmmaker Michael Maglaras, with Robin Ward Savage, the artist’s daughter, in attendance.

View clips from the film at this link.



March 31, 2012
O Brother Man: The Art and Life of Lynd Ward
Maine Festival of the Book
University of Southern Maine - Abromson Center
(see directions below)
5:00pm
Portland, Maine
Admission is free

More About Lynd Ward:
Ward, who illustrated more than 200 books, was among the foremost graphic book artists of 20th-century America, and his books, prints, and artwork are held by major museums and libraries worldwide. His stories without words, such as Song Without Words: A Book of Engravings on Wood (1930), are precursors to the modern graphic novel and are acknowledged masterpieces of that genre. Between 1929 and 1937, Ward produced six of these books, where the storyline was told entirely through wood engravings. Released recently in a two-volume edition by The Library of America, these books will be the focus of O Brother Man, which will highlight Ward's art as well as his deep personal commitment to social justice and the plight of the working man surrounding the years of the Great Depression.

More About 217 Films:
217 Films is an independent film company founded by Michael Maglaras. The Sacramento Bee called Maglaras a filmmaker of "Bergman-like gravitas." His work has been described as "virtuoso filmmaking" (National Gallery of Art) "alive and fresh" (Art New England) and "elegiac and insightful" (Naples Daily News).

Directions to the Abromson Center:

From I-295: Take exit 6B (Forest Ave. North) and immediately move to the far left lane on Forest Ave. Turn left at that first stoplight onto Bedford St. After the Skywalk, turn left onto Surrenden St. and into the USM Parking Garage.

From Brighton Avenue: Follow Brighton Ave. towards downtown until it turns into Bedford Street. Turn right onto Surrenden Street before Skywalk and into the USM Parking Garage.

Free parking.