Dryden Theatre welcomes Oscar®-winning filmmaker Robin Lehman Saturday, March 24

Experience Lehman’s inspirational cinematography, direction, and writing with screenings of three films — Sea Creatures, Ethiopia, and Manimals

For Release 2012-03-15

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House will host Rochester-based filmmaker and two-time Oscar® winner Robin Lehman at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 24. Screening that evening will be three of Lehman’s thought-provoking films, featuring his signature cinematography and pure, wordless cinema, as well as the humor-filled and enlightening documentary Manimals. Lehman will introduce the films and talk with the audience following the screenings.

The program will feature a cross-section of Lehman’s documentary work, including Sea Creatures (US 1974, 12 min.), an exploration of life underwater in the Red Sea; Ethiopia (US 1985, 28 min.), an all-encompassing tour of Ethiopia from its explosive volcanic eruptions to the bustling street life of its urban markets; and Manimals (US 1978, 29 min.), a humorous, moving look at the strange relationship between man and animal on the island of Manhattan; and Lehman will talk with the audience following the screenings.

Stories that may be shared with the audience include how filmmaking equipment in the 1970s posed challenges for Lehman, who had to have underwater equipment created for his filming at the bottom of the Red Sea and Ethiopian rivers, involving water-tight encasements and using a bicycle pump to increase the camera’s buoyancy. “Bu the secret is not involving the audience in the process, because that’s irrelevant,” Lehman said. “What is relevant is what the audience is seeing and if the audience likes what they’re seeing.”

Today Lehman’s main craft is working as a glass artist, yet he speaks fondly of his days in filmmaking and of film, which he called “the only honest medium.”

“Film is the only medium I know where in a neutral setting the public tells you if it’s good, bad, or indifferent,” he explained. “They laugh when they’re happy, cry when they’re sad, and if the work is remarkable, they’ll clap. Cinema with a large audience is where you get an absolute critique of what you did as a filmmaker because audience reaction is all that matters.”

Lehman is looking forward to watching his films with a live audience at the Dryden Theatre. Since his documentaries had few outlets when produced almost four decades ago, Lehman has not Sea Creatures or Manimals on a big screen in more than 30 years and Ethiopia never has had a formal theater screening. So what should the audience expect on March 24? Lehman’s answer: “Expect the unexpected!”

In addition to the Academy Awards® earned in the category of Documentary Short Subject — for the films Don’t (1974) and End of the Game (1975) — Lehman’s films have been recognized internationally and have acquired more than 100 awards from film festivals worldwide. Lehman has generously donated prints of all his films to the motion picture collection at George Eastman House.

Admission to the March 24 screenings is $8 general admission/$6 students. For more information, please visit dryden.eastmanhouse.org or call (585) 271-3361.

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