Underfire: The Untold Story of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro

Max Lewkowicz | USA | English | 73 min | Documentary


Bow Tie Great Neck Squire (Theater 5)Sun, Nov 5, 2017 3:30 PM Not Available
Film Info
Type of Film/Event:Arts & Fashion Films
Political, Historical and Social Films
Films with Q&As
NY Spotlight
Release Year:2016
Running Time:73 minutes
Premiere Status:Long Island Premiere
Production Country:USA
Original Language:English
Cast/Crew Info
Cast:Tony Vaccaro
Director:Max Lewkowicz
Executive Producer:Tim Van Patten
Gianna Cerbone-Teoli
Ann Oster
Producer:Valerie Thomas
Production Company:Dog Green Productions
Extra Search Properties
Date Search:November 05, 2017
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The remarkable story of WWII infantryman and photographer Tony Vaccaro, who created one of the most comprehensive, haunting and intimate photographic records of the war using a smuggled $47 camera, while developing the negatives in his helmet at night. The film discusses the timeless ethical issues surrounding war photography and how images shape public perceptions of conflict. Featuring contributions from Pulitzer Prize-winning NY Times photographer Tyler Hicks, curator of the Fine Art Museum of Houston; Anne Tucker, as well as James Estrin of the Times; John Morris, former photo editor of Life Magazine; and Robert Capa. Join us at the Gold Coast Arts Center following the discussion for the opening reception of the gallery exhibition: Tony Vaccaro: An American Photographer.

Q&A with Tony Vaccaro, Writer/Director/Producer Max Lewkowicz and Producer/Writer Valerie Thomas

MICHAEL A.“TONY” VACCARO has captured a broad range of our world in an 80 year career as a photographer. Most of his half-million images have never been seen and are only now being uncovered and discovered. Born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on December 20, 1922, Tony’s earliest contact sheets,from Italy in 1939, demonstrate impeccable balance, journalistic integrity, technical innovation, and an eye for whimsy; all of which characterize his eight decades of work. That year he left Italy to escape fascism, but four years later was drafted into the US Army after finishing high school in New Rochelle, New York. As a front line infantryman in World War II, Tony dutifully chronicled all aspects of war from the mundane logistics of food preparation and mail delivery, to the intense fire-fights and unspeakable carnage he witnessed from Normandy to Berlin. Included in his trove of over 2,000 surviving war images is Eisenhower’s favorite, the monument-worthy “Kiss of Liberation”; the transfixing “Last Step of Jack Rose”; and the sepulchral “Death in the Snow”. The BBC calls Tony the “greatest combat photographer of WWII”, Genius of Photography, 2009. Post war, Tony joined the Stars and Stripes and spent four years capturing the contrasts and deprivation of European reconstruction. After a stint with Weekend Magazine in Paris, Tony returned to America in 1949 and became the lead fashion photographer on Fleur Cowles ground breaking “Flair” magazine. Tony began a twenty-two year career freelancing for virtually every major publication: Look, Life, Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country, Quick, Venture, Newsweek, and many more. “Il Maestro”, as the Italian press calls him, Tony has won numerous honors and awards. These include the Art Director’s Gold Medal (New York City, 1963), The World Press Photo Gold Medal (The Hague, 1969), The Legion of Honor (Paris, 1994), The Medal of Honor (Luxembourg, 2002), Das Verdienstkreuz (Berlin, 2004), and the Minerva d’Oro (Pescara, 2014). Since retiring in 1982, Tony has been exhibited over 250 times, and has published or been the subject of ten books and two major films. In 2015, at the age of 93, Tony opened his own photo studio in Long Island City, the Tony Vaccaro Studio. There he entertains guests, and oversees his staff scanning, making digital prints, heading the darkroom, and archiving negatives. In Bonefro, Italy, he assists creatively with a museum created in his honor.

MAX LEWKOWICZ, founder and owner of Dog Green Productions, has written, directed, and produced hundreds of productions for network and public television, museums, and multinational organizations in a career that has spanned over twenty-five years. Mr. Lewkowicz’s documentary works include award-winning films about the mercury pollution afflicting Native American tribes in Northern Canada, the Dance Theater of Harlem, the generational cycles of poverty in America’s inner cities, Nelson Mandela’s struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, as well as Across the Bridge, a documentary about the American Military Doctrine in Germany during the Cold War and Ours to Fight For, which tells the stories of American GIs in World War II.In addition, Mr. Lewkowicz has written, produced and directed museum exhibition films and interactive presentations domestically and internationally. His works in this area include the media for the core exhibits of Normandy American Cemetery Visitor Center (for which he produced eighteen films and interactives) and the Pointe du Hoc Visitor Center, The Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York, The South Africa Heritage Museum in Cape Town, and the Montreal Memorial Holocaust Center. Mr. Lewkowicz’s writing and directorial expertise has won critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Silver Screen Award at the U.S. International Film and Video Festival, the grand prize of The Chicago International Film Festival, and the 2003 Award of Excellence from the National Association of Museum Exhibitions. His film MORGENTHAU shown on public television, recently won an Emmy in 2015. Mr. Lewkowicz’s latest film, UNDERFIRE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF PFC. TONY VACCARO premiering at the Shanghai International Film Festival, will premiere on HBO in November.Mr. Lewkowicz is a graduate of McGill University and has a Masters Degree in Communications from New York University.

VALERIE THOMAS began her career in film as an editorial assistant on Toxic Avenger: Part Three. Within a few months she was lucky enough to be hired as an assistant in Jonathan Demme’s office, just as the film Silence of the Lambs was going into production. Ms. Thomas worked for Jonathan Demme for the next 11 years, moving on to Director of Development, then Vice President of Development where she oversaw the development of dozens of projects, including Philadelphia, Devil in a Blue Dress, Adaptation and Beloved. She went on to become a producer with Jonathan Demme, producing Ulee’s Gold and Subway Stories.After leaving Demme’s office, Ms. Thomas wrote a screenplay for 20th Century Fox. For the past five years she has been a young adult novelist. Her first book, Karma Bites (Houghton-Mifflin) was published in August 2010. Her second book, From What I Remember (Hyperion) was published in May 2012, and was recently optioned for film by Paramount Pictures. She is currently working on two young adult novels. Ms. Thomas received her B.A. from Reed College and her Masters from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

This screening is Sponsored by AARP Long Island

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