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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“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
~ Michael Bay Gives Richard Brody A Tingle

How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch