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Directed byTony Zierra
Produced byTony Zierra
Elizabeth Yoffe
StarringLeon Vitali
Edited byTony Zierra
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States

Filmworker is a 2017 American documentary film directed by Tony Zierra about Leon Vitali, a successful British actor who, after playing the role of “Lord Bullingdon” in Barry Lyndon, directed by Stanley Kubrick, gave up his acting career to work for decades as Kubrick’s assistant. Filmworker premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival on May 19, and was nominated for the L'Œil d'or, le prix du documentaire – Cannes.[1]


After his performance as "Lord Bullingdon" in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, actor Leon Vitali gave up his career to become Kubrick’s personal assistant. For more than two decades Vitali played a crucial role behind-the-scenes helping Kubrick make and maintain his body of work. In Filmworker, Vitali’s experiences with Kubrick are brought together with previously unseen photos, videos, letters, notebooks, and memos from his private collection. Interviews with actors, family, crew members, and key film industry professionals who worked with Kubrick and Vitali are also utilized throughout the film.[2]


Director Tony Zierra was working on another Kubrick related project when he met Leon Vitali. After extensively interviewing Vitali, Zierra decided that his story should be told and began shooting what would become Filmworker.[3] The film took three years to complete and was shot in California, New York, Kentucky, UK, and Sweden. [4]


Filmworker features interviews with actors and film industry professionals who worked with or knew Kubrick and/or Leon Vitali as well as members of Vitali's family. Participants include actors Ryan O'Neal ('Barry Lyndon' in Barry Lyndon), Danny Lloyd ('Danny Torrance' in The Shining ), Matthew Modine ('Private Joker' in Full Metal Jacket), Lee Ermey ('Gunnery Sgt. Hartman' in Full Metal Jacket), Marie Richardson ('Marion' in Eyes Wide Shut), Stellan Skarsgård, Pernilla August, Brian Capron, Treva Etienne ('Morgue Orderly' Eyes Wide Shut). Film industry professionals featured in Filmworker include former and current Warner Bros. executives Julian Senior, Brian Jamieson, Warren Lieberfarb, Steve Southgate and Ned Price.


Filmworker was given a long standing ovation after its premiere at Cannes.[5] Following Cannes, the press and critical reviews were favorable. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 92%, based on 24 reviews, and an average rating of 7.7/10.[6] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[7]

Owen Glieberman in Variety gave Filmworker a positive review and wrote that it is the best of the Kubrick-themed documentaries.[8] Gwilym Mumford wrote in The Guardian that Filmworker is "A revealing and stirring celebration of one of cinema’s unacknowledged heroes."[9] Bilge Ebiri of Village Voice put Filmworker on his list of top 12 best movies at Cannes 2017. [10] Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post called Filmworker "movie love at its purest" and said that "Vitali’s story marked an incursion of the real world into Cannes in the very best sense, as a celebration of its anonymous inhabitants’ role in bringing our collective dreams to life."[11]


  1. ^ Mullen, Pat (16 May 2017). "Documentaries at Cannes 2017". Point of View Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Home - Filmworker". Filmworker official website. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  3. ^ Buder, Emily (25 May 2017). "'Filmworker': Meet the Secret Hero Behind Stanley Kubrick's Movies". No Film School. NONETWORK. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Filmworker (2017)". IMDb. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  5. ^ Coye, Jake (23 May 2017). "Kubrick's little-known right-hand man takes a bow in Cannes". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Filmworker (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Filmworker Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  8. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (19 May 2017). "Cannes Film Review: 'Filmworker'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on 25 July 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  9. ^ Mumford, Gwilym (19 May 2017). "Filmworker review - Stanley Kubrick's right-hand man gets his moment in the limelight". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  10. ^ Ebiri, Bilge (2 June 2017). "The 12 Best Movies From the 2017 Cannes Film Festival". Village Voice. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  11. ^ Hornaday, Ann (25 May 2017). "At Cannes, auteurs are worshiped, for better and, too often, for worse". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 9 May 2018.

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