SUNDANCE 6 | SUN NOV 11 | 2:00 PM
Director: Shannah Laumeister
Cinematographer: Tony Hardmon and Shannah Laumeister
Screenwriter: Shannah Laumeister
Editor: Danny Bresnik, Piri Miller, Jeff Werner
Composer: Jeff Eden Fair, Starr Parodi
Cast: Bert Stern, Louis Armstrong, Brigitte Bardot, Zak Barnett, Drew Barrymore, Chuck Berry
Running time: 88 min.
In this unconventional documentary, the famed photographer Bert Stern reveals himself for the first time. Filmmaker Shannah Laumeister uncovers not only Stern’s tumultuous private and professional life but also explores their own long-term relationship. Along with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, Stern minted the concept of “photographer” as a star in his own right. The film is a story of self-creation: rise, fall and reinvention. It explores creativity, celebrity and desire through the eyes of a man who almost got everything he wanted.
Stern’s meteoric career began in the mailroom at Look magazine, where he formed a close relationship with a young staff photographer, Stanley Kubrick. Stern would later photograph the iconic image of Sue Lyon as Kubrick’s Lolita, dressing Lyon with heart-shaped glasses he found in a convenience store the day of the shoot. The launch of Stern’s career and the golden age of advertising would coincide. Stern’s “Driest of the Dry” campaign for Smirnoff would end up selling more vodka than Smirnoff dreamed, making America for the first time a vodka-drinking country, and Stern a very successful photographer at the age of 25.
Sought after by Madison Avenue, Hollywood and the international fashion scene, Stern was at the heart of what George Lois would call the “creative evolution.” He filmed what many consider the best jazz film ever made, Jazz on a Summer’s Day. Photographing what seemed like all the world’s most beautiful women, including Jean Shrimpton, Suzie Parker, Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Twiggy, Liz Taylor and the famous last photographs of Marilyn Monroe, the Brooklyn native was living a dream.
Community partner: FotoFest