Leslie Iwerks

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Leslie Iwerks
Leslie Iwerks BW.jpg
Born Los Angeles, California
Alma mater University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television
Occupation Producer, director, and writer
Parent(s)
Relatives Ub Iwerks (grandfather)
Website www.leslieiwerks.com

Leslie Iwerks (/ˈwɜːrks/) is an American producer, director, and writer. She is also daughter of Disney Legend Don Iwerks and granddaughter of Ub Iwerks, the animator and co-creator of Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.[1] She has directed notable films including Academy Award-nominated Recycled Life and Emmy-nominated The Pixar Story.[2] She has worked with non-profit organizations Save Our Seas, Safe Passage, NRDC, and Sierra Club to raise awareness on matters affecting the globe.[3] She currently helms Santa Monica-based production company Iwerks & Co.[4]

Biography[edit]

Iwerks graduated with a BA from the University of Southern California and currently resides on the USC School of Cinematic Arts Alumni Council.[5][6]

In 1999, Walt Disney Pictures released her first feature-length documentary, The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story, chronicling the life of her grandfather, Ub Iwerks. The film was narrated by Kelsey Grammer.

In 2000, Iwerks began working on numerous ethnographic documentaries in Guatemala which culminated in the film Recycled Life (2006), which was nominated for the Academy Award Best Documentary (Short Subject) category. The film documented the lives of Guatemalans who live and work in the largest landfill in Central America.[7] The film was narrated by Edward James Olmos. Recycled Life went on to raise an estimated $3 million dollars for Safe Passage, a non-profit organization building schools for children who work in the dump.[8]

The Pixar Story (2007), about the rise of Pixar Animation Studios was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Nonfiction Special category and was additionally nominated for the A.C.E. Eddie Awards for Best Edited Documentary. The feature-length documentary was narrated by Stacy Keach and includes interviews with John Lasseter, Steve Jobs, Ed Catmull, George Lucas, Tom Hanks, and other producers, directors, and artists.[9][10]

In 2008, Iwerks' short documentary Downstream, brought awareness to the environmental effects of oil sands production in Alberta, Canada, as well as rare cancers being found downstream in the aboriginal community of Ft. Chipewyan. Because the film scrutinized the local government's pro-oil policies and was partially subsidized by the Alberta Film Fund, it prompted Alberta's Minister of Culture, Lindsay Blackett, to criticize the film, which in turn, sparked public outcry as to whether films subsidized by the government would be allowed freedom of artistic expression.[11] The film was short-listed for the Academy Awards Best Documentary (Short Subject) category in 2008.[12]

Iwerks released Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible (2010), which chronicles the developments of visual effects house Industrial Light & Magic from the earliest days of Star Wars to Star Trek: Beyond. The documentary is narrated by Tom Cruise and features interviews with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Robin Williams, J.J. Abrams, Jerry Bruckheimer, Samuel L. Jackson, Seth Green, Jon Favreau, and various ILM visual effects supervisors.[13]

Iwerks' short environmental documentary Pipe Dreams (2011), about the controversy behind the Keystone XL pipeline, was narrated by Daryl Hannah and won the Ashland Independent Film Festival award for Best Documentary Short. The film was also short-listed for the Academy Awards Best Documentary (Short Subject) category.[14]

In 2011, the Biografilm Festival in Bologna, Italy, paid tribute to Iwerks through a multi-day retrospective of her documentary films.[15]

Iwerks' 2012 documentary, Citizen Hearst, charting the 125 year history of the Hearst media empire, premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival. The film is narrated by William H. Macy, and features interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Dan Rather, Mark Burnett, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Bob Iger, Leonard Maltin, Dr. Oz, Heidi Klum and various members of the Hearst family and company.

In 2013, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival showcased a retrospective of her documentary work, and honored her with the festival's Spotlight Award.[16] In 2016, she was honored by The Bay Foundation for her environmental impact through filmmaking. Additionally, she was commended by California Assemblymen Richard Bloom and Mike Giatto for her profound commitment to environmental stewardship through penetrating, exemplary documentary filmmaking addressing critical national and global issues.[17][18]

Iwerks' 2016 documentary, Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, about famed New Orleans restaurateur Ella Brennan premiered at the New Orleans Film Festival and won the Audience Award. The film is narrated by Academy Award-nominated actress Patricia Clarkson, and features interviews with Emeril Lagasse, Danny Meyer, Daniel Boulud, Drew Nieporent, Jeremiah Tower, and others.[19]

Current projects[edit]

Since 2013, Iwerks has been producing and directing a documentary on the history of Walt Disney Imagineering, the division responsible for designing Disney theme parks and other attractions.[20]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Credited As Awards/Film Festivals
1999 The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story Producer, Director, Writer Official Selection Buffalo International Film Festival, Official Selection Philadelphia Film Festival, Official Selection Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Official Selection Hiroshima International Animation Festival, Official Selection Florida Film Festival, Official Selection Annecy International Animated Film Festival
2004 The Ride Director, Co-Producer Best Picture X-Dance Film Festival, Official Selection Hawaii International Film Festival
2006 Pixar's 20th Anniversary Special Executive Producer, Director, Writer
Recycled Life Producer, Director, Writer, Editor, Cinematographer Academy Award Nomination for Best Documentary Short, Best Documentary Short Tahoe/Reno International Film Festival, Best Documentary Short Newport Beach International Film Festival, Best Documentary Short San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, Best Documentary Short Ojai International Film Festival, Best Documentary Short Mendocino International Film Festival, Official Selection SXSW Film Festival, Official Selection Calgary Underground Film Festival
2007 The Pixar Story Producer, Director, Writer, Editor Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Nonfiction Special, A.C.E. Eddie Awards Nomination for Best Edited Documentary, Official Selection San Louis Obispo Film Festival, Official Selection Santa Barbara Film Festival, Official Selection Future Film Festival Bologna, Italy, Official Selection Annecy International Animated Film Festival
2008 Downstream Director, Writer Official Selection Ojai International Film Festival, Official Selection Edmonton International Film Festival, Official Selection Calgary International Film Festival
2009 Dirty Oil Producer, Director, Writer, Editor Official Selection Calgary International Film Festival, Official Selection Global Visions Film Festival, Official Selection Hamptons International Film Festival, Official Selection Tri Continental Film Festival, Official Selection Wakefield International Film Festival
2010 Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible Producer, Director, Writer, Editor Official Selection Future Film Festival Bologna, Italy, Official Selection Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Official Selection FMFX Computer Animation Festival Stuttgart, Germany
2011 Pipe Dreams Producer, Director, Writer, Editor, Cinematographer Best Documentary Short Ashland Independent Film Festival, Official Selection Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Official Selection San Francisco Green Film Festival, Official Selection Omaha Film Festival, Official Selection Environmental Film Festival - Washington D.C.
2012 Citizen Hearst Producer, Director, Writer, Editor Official Selection Hamptons International Film Festival, Official Selection San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
2016 Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table Producer, Director, Writer, Editor Audience Award New Orleans Film Festival, Official Selection Mill Valley Film Festival, Official Selection Houston Cinema Arts Festival, Official Selection Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Official Selection Boulder International Film Festival, Official Selection Miami Film Festival, Official Selection San Luis Obispo Film Festival, Annapolis Film Festival
The Imagineering Story[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Hand Behind The Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story". Variety. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  2. ^ "Leslie Iwerks". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  3. ^ "Leslie Iwerks". The Dish. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  4. ^ "USC Cinematic Arts". USC Cinematic Arts. Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  5. ^ "Leslie Iwerks". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  6. ^ "Leslie Iwerks". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  7. ^ "Recycled Life brings trash and hope to Oscars". Reuters. 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  8. ^ "Filmmaker Behind Recycled Life Speaks to HipLatina". Reuters. 2016-03-21. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  9. ^ "Instant Watcher". Retrieved 2011-05-31. 
  10. ^ "Variety". Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  11. ^ "Oscar short sparks controversy sands". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  12. ^ "Alberta may censor films critical of tar sands". artthreat. Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  13. ^ "Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible". Starz Entertainment. 
  14. ^ "Academy Shortlists 8 Documentary Shorts". thewrap. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  15. ^ "Biografilm to feature". Variety. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  16. ^ "SLO film festival honoree tells stories behind the stories". sanluisobispo. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  17. ^ "The Bay Foundation's 2nd Annual Coastal Connections on September 22, 2016". Venice Patch. Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  18. ^ "The Bay Foundation's 2nd Annual Coastal Connections on September 22, 2016" (PDF). The Bay Foundation. Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  19. ^ "Ella Brennan biopic to premiere". theadvocate. Retrieved 2017-02-02. 
  20. ^ "Walt Disney's Imagineers to Get Documentary in 2016". Variety. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  21. ^ "D23 Expo Exclusive: Leslie Iwerks Creating Documentary About Walt Disney Imagineering". August 12, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]