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The Reeler Blog

NYC Altman Memorial Set For Feb. 20

The Reeler received word Wednesday that a public memorial for director Robert Altman is officially scheduled for noon on Tues., Feb. 20, at the Majestic Theater near Times Square. The list of speakers is about as inclusive as you'd expect -- Bob Balaban, Harry Belafonte, Bob Berney, E.L. Doctorow, Kevin Kline, Julianne Moore, Tim Robbins, Alan Rudolph, Joan Tewkesbury, Lily Tomlin and Gary Trudeau for starters (and that's before the organizers get to his family) -- and performances are expected from Elvis Costello, Laura Flanigan and "Robert Altman’s Kansas City Orchestra."

Again, I'm told this is a public event, so arrive dignified and early. Follow the jump for the complete press release, including information about Altman's Los Angeles memorial scheduled for March 4.

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NEW YORK (February 14, 2007) – Memorial Services will be held in New York and Los Angeles to honor the late Academy Award-winning film director Robert Altman.

In New York, the service will be held on February 20 at the Majestic Theater (247 West 44th Street) at 12 p.m. In Los Angeles, the service will be held on March 4 at the Los Angeles DGA Theater (7920 Sunset Blvd) at 2 p.m.

Speakers in New York will include Bob Balaban, Harry Belafonte, Edgar Doctorow, Kevin Kline, Julianne Moore, Tim Robbins, Alan Rudolph, Joan Tewkesbury, Lily Tomlin, Gary Trudeau, Picturehouse president Bob Berney, as well as his producers from Sandcastle Wren Arthur and Joshua Astrachan with Altman’s children Michael, Stephen, Robert Reed and Matthew. Performances are expected from Annie Ross, William Bolcom and Laura Flanigan, Elvis Costello and "Robert Altman’s Kansas City Orchestra."

Academy Award®-winning film director Robert Altman died late last year in Los Angeles from complications due to cancer. He was 81. He had lived and worked with the disease for 18 months, a period that included the making of his film A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, which was released last summer. His death was, nevertheless, a surprise: Altman was in pre-production on a film he had planned to start shooting in February.

Altman is survived by his wife, Kathryn Reed Altman and six children, Christine Westphal, Michael Altman, Stephen Altman, Connie Corriere, Robert Reed Altman and Matthew Altman, twelve grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Throughout his extraordinary career, Robert Altman surprised, entertained and challenged audiences with vibrant, freewheeling films that stretch the boundaries of the medium. He was the recipient of an Honorary Academy Award at the 78th Academy Awards presentation on March 5, 2006, in a ceremony recognizing “a career that has repeatedly reinvented the art form and inspired filmmakers and audiences alike."

Altman’s more than thirty features bear witness to an extraordinary creative range: films made with enormous casts (NASHVILLE, SHORT CUTS), as well as with a solitary cast member (SECRET HONOR); films celebrating male camaraderie (M*A*S*H*, CALIFORNIA SPLIT) and those exploring women’s consciousness (IMAGES, THREE WOMEN, COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN). He inverted, satirized and enriched genres like the western (McCABE AND MRS. MILLER), the gangster melodrama (THIEVES LIKE US), the detective film (THE LONG GOODBYE), the biography (VINCENT AND THEO) and the English drawing-room whodunit (GOSFORD PARK). His source material included comics (POPEYE), the ballet (THE COMPANY), the theatre (STREAMERS, FOOL FOR LOVE, Harold Pinter’s THE ROOM and THE DUMB WAITER), contemporary politics (“Tanner ’88” and “Tanner on Tanner”) and contemporary literature (SHORT CUTS).

Altman’s work with actors was legendary. His use of music broke ground in films as different as McCABE AND MRS. MILLER, NASHVILLE, and KANSAS CITY. He was applauded for the technical innovation of multi-layered soundtracks and for his pioneering use of the zoom lens. While his subjects and themes were diverse, he often cast an irreverent eye on the institutions, mores and foibles of American life, matching that with an encompassing, unsentimental humanism.

Altman received five Academy Award® nominations for Best Director (GOSFORD PARK, SHORT CUTS, THE PLAYER, M*A*S*H*, and NASHVILLE), and three for Best Film (GOSFORD PARK, M*A*S*H*, and NASHVILLE).

Altman’s numerous awards include: at Cannes, the Palme d’Or/Best Film (M*A*S*H*), and Best Director (THE PLAYER); the New York Film Critics Circle, Best Film (THE PLAYER, NASHVILLE) and Best Director (GOSFORD PARK, THE PLAYER, NASHVILLE); the Venice Film Festival Grand Prix, Best Film (SHORT CUTS); the British Academy Award (BAFTA) for Best British Film (GOSFORD PARK), Best Director (THE PLAYER) and Best Foreign Television Series (“Tanner 88”); opening night of the New York Film Festival (SHORT CUTS, A WEDDING); and an Emmy for Best Director (“Tanner '88”).

Career honors have been bestowed by, among others, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Venice Film Festival, the American Film Institute, the Directors Guild of America, the Society of American Cinema Editors, the Cinema Audio Society, the American Society of Cinematographers and the Independent Feature Project.

The Independent Spirit Awards will present an honorary award in recognition of Altman’s life’s work on February 24th in Santa Monica. An award is being established in his name that will be presented, starting next year, to the Director and Ensemble Cast of a film that represents a continuation of the traditions within which Altman has worked.

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Posted at February 15, 2007 10:29 AM

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