||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (March 2009)|
Michael Arata in 2008
|Born||February 23, 1966|
|Occupation||Film, stage actor|
Michael Arata (born February 23, 1966) is an American actor and film producer. He began his acting career at age four and has since appeared on stage, in feature films and television programs.
Arata was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As an actor, he has worked with Academy Award winners Oliver Stone, Gene Hackman, Kevin Costner, Jamie Foxx, Tatum O'Neil, Kim Hunter, Billy Bob Thornton, Denzel Washington, Ellen Burstyn and Sissy Spacek, and has appeared on stage with Sir Kenneth Branagh, Ben Kingsley, and Rosemary Harris, as well as Alec Baldwin and Elizabeth Ashley in Tennessee Williams's classic The Night of the Iguana.
In addition to his film history, Mr. Arata has extensive theatre experience, including acting and producing the works of Tennessee Williams, Caryl Churchill, Tony Kushner, and William Shakespeare. In 1997, American Theatre Magazine hailed Mr. Arata's performance of Stanley Kowalski in the 50th anniversary production of Tennessee Williams' classic A Streetcar Named Desire as "unhinged and electrifying", and reviewer Dalt Wonk called the performance "a Stanley for our times".
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Arata produced Shakespeare in City Park in New Orleans, the city's only outdoor theatre, as well as several productions in conjunction with the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival.
In 1989, Michael Arata began producing films, starting with his first short film "Looking For Someone". The film won the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Short at the Utah Short Film Festival. Since then, Michael has produced documentaries ("The People's Story" on the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in Central America winner of the Houston International Film Festival and Telluride Independent Film Festival; Shaolm Y'all, discussing southern Jewish culture, winner of The Sidewalk Moving Pictures Festival), and more recently several feature films, including "Deal", starring Burt Reynolds, "The Shooting Gallery", starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Ving Rhames, "Home Front" starring Academy Award winner Tatum O'Neal, and "New Orleans Mon Amour", starring Christopher Eccleston. In 2006, following the devastation in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Arata produced the first independent feature film ("Deal") in the city, and thereafter produced "New Orleans Mon Amour" (written and directed by Michael Almereyda), "Pool Boy" and "Autopsy" (with fellow producer Warren Zide). He recently produced the remake of the horror classic Night of the Demons as well as the action film The Courier with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and served as Executive Producer of National Lampoon's "Dirty Movie" and "The Legend of Awesomest Maximus". He got his producing start in theatre, and had a successful run as chairman of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, the oldest operating theatre in North America, which he returned to relevance and profitability in his three-year tenure.
Michael Arata lives and works in New Orleans. Following Hurricane Katrina he was appointed chairman of the Bring Back New Orleans Commission Film/Entertainment subcommittee, and drafted the City of New Orleans' request for federal assistance related to the area's film and entertainment industry. In 2002, he help draft the successful Louisiana Motion Picture Incentive Act, and was asked by Governor Murphy J. Foster, Jr. to testify before the Louisiana House and Senate in support of the legislation.
He holds a law degree from Tulane University, and regularly conducts seminars on entertainment law at Loyola University and Tulane University in New Orleans, as well as continuing legal education seminars for practicing lawyers.
He was the youngest chairman of the Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, the nation's oldest and longest running community theatre.
He formed Art A La Carte, Louisiana's only theatre for the disabled, and one of the nation's only fully accessible creative arts programs.