NYFF Opening Night: “Life of Pi” Q&A + Photos!

Posted by Zachary Mandinach on 9.30.2012


Life of Pi director Ang Lee getting interviewed on the red carpet. Photo by Olga Bas.

Given how dazziling the final product is, it should come as no surprise that making 50th New York Film Festival Opening Night film Life of Pi was a tremendous undertaking. In our NYFF press conference (video below), we learn this from all sides: from Fox 2000's Elizabeth Gabler trust in Ang Lee's casting of an unknown actor (Suraj Sharma) in the titlular role, to having that newcomer act against an invisible tiger later to be realized via CGI, to Lee's decision to shoot the film in 3D. All of this and more was discussed in a Q&A on Friday morning.

Yann Martel was certainly the first step in this long-gestating project, in that he is the author of the Man Booker Prize-winning bestseller upon which the film is based. But, despite how well the book translates to the big screen, Martel never saw it as a potential film during his writing of the novel. "When I was writing it, it was very cinematic in my mind because of the contrast of colors, the blue ocean, the white lifeboat," he told Film Society Program Director Richard Peña, "but even the most basic cinema-goer can realize that to turn that story into a movie would be an enormous technical challenge." 

An enmormous challenge that could only be fulfilled with a great deal of effort and, just like the movie, a bit of faith. On the executive side, Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler said: "We felt that under Ang's directorship we would have something that was extraordinary and new to the world in so many different ways."

Watch full video of the press conference Q&A:

And check out our collection of photos from Opening Night!


Richard Peña, Rose Kuo, Tom Rothman, Suraj Sharma, Ang Lee, Yann Martel & Elizabeth Gabler Photo by Ashley Dupree.


Life of Pi star Suraj Sharma on the red carpet. Photo by Olga Bas.


Here and There
director Antonio Méndez Esparza and company. Photo by Julie Cunnah.


Ricky Jay with Deceptive Practice directors Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein. Photo by Ashley Dupree.


Wendi Murdoch on the red carpet. Photo by Olga Bas.


Tony Danza on the red carpet. Photo by Ashley Dupree.


Ricky Jay talks to reporters on the red carpet. Photo by Ashely Dupree.


Little Shop of Horrors director Frank Oz getting interviewed on the red carpet. Photo by Ashely Dupree.\


Beasts of the Southern Wild director Benh Zeitlin and composer Dan Romer on the red carpet. Photo by Olga Bas.


Film Society Executive Director Rose Kuo and her son Julian on the red carpet. Photo by Ashely Dupree.


Filmmaker Josh Safdie on the red carpet. Photo by Olga Bas.


Actor Benjamin Walker on the red carpet. Photo by Ashley Dupree.


The crowd on the red carpet. Photo by Julie Cunnah.

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NY1's George Whipple broadcasting from the red carpet. Photo by Ashely Dupree.


Checking in at Avery Tully Hall. Photo by Jonathan Mittiga.


Inside Alice Tully Hall. Photo by Jonathan Mittiga.


Film Society Executive Director Rose Kuo introducing a screening at Alice Tully Hall. Photo by Julie Cunnah.


Dinner at Avery Fisher Hall. Photo by Olga Bas.


Film Society Executive Director Rose Kuo and board member Joanne Koch. Photo by Olga Bas.


Life of Pi star Suraj Sharma and company at the after party. Photo by Julie Cunnah.


NYFF Critics Academy members Fariha Roisin & Corey O'Connell at the after party. Photo by Julie Cunnah.

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