Leon Gast

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Gast in June 2010

Leon Gast is an American documentary film director, producer, cinematographer, and editor. His documentary When We Were Kings depicting the iconic heavyweight boxing match termed The Rumble in the Jungle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman won the 1996 Academy Award for Documentary Feature and the Independent Spirit Award. Gast co-directed the 1977 documentary The Grateful Dead Movie with guitarist Jerry Garcia. The film captured the band's October 1974 five-night performance at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Gast also co-directed the 1983 film Hell's Angels Forever.

A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, Gast studied dramatic arts at Columbia University, and in that same period worked the television series High Adventure with writer and broadcaster Lowell Thomas. Gast is also known for his still photography which has appeared in such magazines as Vogue, Esquire, and Harper's Bazaar.

Gast's most recently completed project is a documentary entitled Smash His Camera, a film about paparazzi photographer Ron Galella. The film won "Best Director" of a documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

For his next project, Gast is working on his second documentary on a boxing legend. It will focus on the current number one pound-for-pound best boxer in the world, Manny Pacquiao, detailing his rise from poverty to the very top of the boxing world and now congressman in the Philippines.

In 2012, Gast was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the inaugural Golden Door Film Festival.[1]

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