ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Producer STEVEN SPIELBERG is one of the most successful of the new breed of filmmakers, a technical virtuoso with uncanny cinematic instincts. Starting in television at the age of twenty-one with an episode of "Night Gallery," Spielberg went on to direct such motion picture features as "The Sugarland Express," "Jaws," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and "Raiders." With "Raiders of the Lost Ark" destined to be another blockbuster, Spielberg is responsible for an unprecedented three of the top ten highest grossing films of all time.
Spielberg who conceived the idea for "Poltergeist" previously served as executive producer on "Used Cars" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."
His fascination with film began when his father took him to see Cecil B. DeMille's "The Greatest Show On Earth." He was amazed by the power of the cinematic experience and soon started to make movies with friends and members of his family. By high school, he already had a 2 1/2 hour, 8mm feature, "Firelight," to his credit.
Universal Studio executives signed Spielberg to a contract in 1969 after viewing a 24 minute, 35mm short subject, "Amblin'," which he wrote, directed and edited. Just 21 years old, at the time, he was the youngest director ever signed by a major studio. His first assignment was to direct the pilot episode of Rod Serling' "Night Gallery," which starred the late Joan Crawford.
A number of other television assignments followed, including episodes of "The Name of the Game," "The Psychiatrists" and "Marcus Welby, M.D.," as well as the movies "Something Evil," "Savage" and the critically acclaimed suspense-thriller, "Duel," a feature-length ABC Movie of the Week.
A record-breaking theatrical release in foreign markets, "Duel" won the Grand Prix at the Festival du Cinema Fantastique in France, and the Silver Spotlight Best-Picture-of-the-Month Award in Germany. It also earned the Gariddi d'Oro Award for "Best Opera Prima" at Italy's Taormina Film Festival and a special mention for direction at Monte Carlo's 11th Annual International Festival of Television.
The recognition Spielberg gained from "Duel" gave him the opportunity to direct his first feature film, "The Sugarland Express" for which he also co-wrote the story. Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown produced the film and then tagged the 26 year old director to helm "Jaws," based on the best-selling novel by Peter Benchley.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Spielberg was an English major at California State College, Long Beach, but devoted most of his time to filming experimental movies, for which he received no academic credit. A meeting with Dennis Hoffman, who was interested in producing films, led to the short subject "Amblin" which won awards at both the Venice and Atlanta Film Festivals. Following that, Universal Studio executives not only signed him to a contract but released "Amblin" with "Love Story."
Producer FRANK MARSHALL reteams with Spielberg after serving in the same capacity on their blockbuster hit, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," a project Spielberg termed "the best produced film I've ever worked on."
Marshall worked on his first film in 1967 while he was a student at UCLA following an introduction at a party to Peter Bogdanovich, who invited Marshall to work on "Targets." Although he graduated with a degree in political science, Marshall opted to enter the motion picture business.
He became a member of Bogdanovich's production crew on "The Last Picture Show" and "What's Up Doc?," then served as associate producer on "Paper Moon," "Daisy Miller," "At Long Last Love" and "Nickelodeon."
He also served as line producer on Orson Welles' forthcoming "The Other Side of the Wind" and on Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz." For director Walter Hill, Marshall was associate producer of "The Driver" and executive producer of "The Warriors."
Also known as "Dr. Fantasy," magician, Frank Marshall's magic shows have become a wrap party tradition.
Director TOBE HOOPER distinguished himself with "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." The film, made for only $155,000 is considered a classic of the horror/terror genre. In its latest release, "Chainsaw" outpaced nearly all of its more recently made competition, evidence of the timelessness of its terror.
Hooper also directed the highly acclaimed four-hour special, "Salem's Lot," for CBS. The movie, based on the bestselling book by Stephen ("The Shining," "Firestarter") King and starring David Soul, was released successfully in a feature length version in foreign markets.
Hooper began his film career making documentary and industrial films as well as commercials in his native Texas. One of his documentaries chronicled the pop-folk group "Peter, Paul and Mary." After assuming the post of assistant director of the University of Texas film program, he continued his filmmaking while working with students.
His first feature film was "Eggshells," a modest piece reflected the late 1960s sensibilities of its creator and he another horror film, appropriately titled, "Eaten Alive."
Teamed with fellow Texan Kim Hinkley, Hooper wrote, directed and produced "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Since its initial distribution in 1973, it has become one of the most controversial films of all time and has remained in virtually constant release.
Just prior to "Poltergeist," Hooper directed the feature film "Funhouse."
Associate Producer KATHLEEN KENNEDY left a secure position as producer of a San Diego TV talk show to break into the motion picture industry as a production assistant on Steven Spielberg's "1941." Her gamble has paid off handsomely as evidenced by her steady progression through the production ranks to her present status as Associate Producer of "Poltergeist." She serves as co-producer of Spielberg's other current film, "E.T."
Academy Award winner RICHARD EDLUND, whose technological wizardry earned him the coveted gold statuette Oscar, for his work on "Star Wars" is the visual effects supervisor for the crew from Industrial Light and Magic, George Lucas' pioneering optical effects house. Edlund and ILM were also associated with Spielberg and Marshall on "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Film Editor MICHAEL KAHN marks his fourth consecutive project with Steven Spielberg, having previously edited "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "1941," and "Raiders of the Lost Ark." His other feature film credits include "Buster and Billie," "The Eyes of Laura Mars" and "Return of a Man Called Horse."
Kahn began work in the film industry at 19 as an apprentice editor at the legendary Desilu Television Studios. His first feature film work was accomplished on "Rage," directed by George C. Scott, who had admired Kahn's editing of the long-running CBS series, "Hogan's Heroes."
Veteran cinematographer MATT LEONETTI and his Ultracam System are responsible for the photography on "Poltergeist." Leonetti, who cut his teeth in television and important movies of the week, was the director of photography on "Raise the Titanic," among others.
Production Designer JIM SPENCER has his work cut out for him on "Poltergeist," an enormously complex motion picture with particular emphasis on visual presentation.
Eighty-five percent of the film was shot on sound stages at MGM's Culver City Studios where Spencer and his crew duplicated the Freeling House and suburban environs shot on location during the first weeks of production. Spencer worked closely with the special effects department creating sets in which the effects were operable.
His previous credits include "Stripes," "King of the Mountain," "Die Laughing," "Rocky," and "Bound for Glory."
Special Effects are an important part of "Poltergeist" and Spielberg and Marshall have assembled the top names in the business. Led by Supervisor MIKE WOOD, the special effects team includes JEFF JARVIS, MITCH SUSKIN and CRAIG REARDON.
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