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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

56 UP will open at New York’s IFC Center January 2013

First Run Features is proud to announce the release of

The latest installment in the ground breaking documentary film series known as THE UP SERIES

56 UP will open at New York’s IFC Center on Friday January 4th, 2013 with a national theatrical run to follow

Offering an extraordinary look at the unfolding of lives, THE UP SERIES has been called “an inspired, almost noble use of the film medium” by renowned film critic Roger Ebert.

In 1964, acclaimed filmmaker Michael Apted (Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist, The World is Not Enough, Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) began his career as a researcher on a new experimental series for Granada TV called Seven Up, which explored the Jesuit maxim “Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” The original concept was to interview 14 children from diverse socio-economic backgrounds from all over England, to see whether a class system was in place. By asking the children about their lives and their dreams for the future, differences in attitudes and opportunity were witnessed.

For almost a half century, Apted has interviewed the original group every seven years, examining the progression of their lives. Now they are 56. From cab driver Tony, to schoolmates Jackie, Lynn and Susan and the iconoclast Neil, the present age brings more life-changing decisions and surprising developments. From success and disappointment, marriage and childbirth, to poverty and illness, nearly every facet of life is discussed with the group, as they assess whether their lives have ultimately been ruled by circumstance or self-determination.

About THE UP SERIES, Apted says: “This project has spanned my entire working life. It has been a unique and fulfilling experience, the one I treasure most in my career. I owe a debt to Granada for their five decades of unstinting support, to First Run Features for launching the films in the USA and sticking with us, but my biggest debt is to the participants for their commitment and courage in seeing it all through. It’s no small matter offering your life up for public appraisal every seven years to a large international audience. I’ve known them so long that they’re more like a family than fellow workers. Like a family, we’ve had our good times, our disagreements, but now, all but one of the participants are back for 56UP. I never know how each new film will turn out, except that it’ll be quite different from the last. 21 UP was full of hope, 28 was about children and responsibility, 35 was concerned with mortality when some were losing parents, and 49 had a sense of disappointment with lives maybe not fully achieved. Yet 56 is quite different again, which goes to prove, if nothing else, that our series mirrors life, and is always full of surprises.”

Michael Apted is of one of the most prolific directors of his generation. Since the 1960s, Apted has helmed an extensive list of feature films and documentaries. His feature films include Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorky Park, Gorillas in the Mist, Thunderheart, Nell, The World is Not Enough, Enigma, Amazing Grace, and the third installment of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. His most recent film Chasing Mavericks for Walden Media and Twentieth Century Fox, tells the true story of Jay Moriarity, the youngest person to surf Mavericks, a famous giant wave in Northern California.

Apted’s documentary credits include, the Boris Grebenshikov film The Long Way Home, Incident at Oglala, Bring on the Night, Moving the Mountain, Me and Isaac Newton, The Power of the Game, and his other longitudinal series Married in America I and II. He also directed the official 2006 World Cup Film. But among Mr. Apted’s most widely recognized documentary directorial achievements are his internationally acclaimed, multi-award winning sequels based on the original 7 UP documentary: 7 Plus 7, 21, 28, 35, 42 UP, 49 UP, and the recent 56 UP, which aired in May on ITV to much acclaim. In addition to his documentary and feature work, Apted has worked extensively in television, including directing the first three episodes of HBO’s epic series Rome.

Apted was born in England in 1941 and studied law and history at Cambridge University. He has received numerous awards and nominations for his extensive body of work, including a Grammy, British Academy Awards, a DGA Award and the International Documentary Association’s highest honor, the IDA Career Achievement Award. By the order of Queen Elizabeth II, Apted was recently made a Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George for his work in the film and television industries. Apted joined the DGA in 1978, was elected to the Western Directors Council in 1997 and became the Fifth Vice President of the National Board in 2002. He was elected President at the DGA biennial convention in June 2003. He served three terms as President of the Guild, which he concluded in July 2009. He became the Secretary-Treasurer of the DGA in 2011, and sits as a Governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures.

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“The core fear is what can happen to you, personally. Your body. That’s what horror films deal with, precisely. We are a very thin skin wrapped around a pumping heart and guts. At any given moment it can come down to that, be it diseases, or somebody’s assault, or war, or a car wreck. You could be reduced to the simple laws of physics and your body’s vulnerability. The edged weapon is the penultimate weapon to disclose that reality to you.”
~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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