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NYFF51 Spotlight: David V. Picker at NYFF Live

Over the course of a two week run, artists such as Bruce Dern, Isabelle Huppert, Claire Denis, Steve McQueen and many more made their presence known participating in our NYFF Live talks. From topics as diverse as crafting documentaries to writing screenplays about protagonists trapped in confined spaces and scoring popular video games, these conversations covered quite a wide range of worthwhile topics.

Needless to say, parting is such sweet sorrow. The final NYFF Live talk will take place this evening in the Film Center Amphitheater with special guest David V. Picker. A legendary Hollywood producer—as well as a former president of Paramount, Columbia and United Artists—Picker will be speaking with Peter Saraf (Oscar-nominated producer of Little Miss Sunshine) about his new book Musts, Maybes, and Nevers: A Book About The Movies.

Released this past August, Picker’s book is sure to get people talking. In a guest article for Huffington Post, Picker candidly described his reasons for writing this new tell-all page turner: “In the introduction to my book, I describe the contents as a book of fairy tales, all of which came true. But, remember this, all the characters in fairy tales are not Sleeping Beauties, Cinderella's, and dashing princes. There are, as you may remember, evil witches, nasty dragons and murderous villains. And so there are in Musts, Maybes, and Nevers. For every Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman, Bob Fosse, or Steve Martin, there is a Stanley Kramer, Bill Cosby or Otto Preminger; not untalented, mind you, just nasty, greedy, or generally unpleasant. But, hey, what would the entertainment business be without them? The answer is easy—less entertaining.”

A creative mind behind such films as Lenny (the Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce biopic), Oliver’s Story (the sequel to the romantic 1970 hit Love Story) and a trio of works with funnyman Steve Martin—The Jerk, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid and The Man with Two Brains—Picker has seen it all; he’s the Chairman Emeritus of the Producers Guild of American East for a reason.

Speaking at the American Film Institute in 2012, Picker recalled an invigorating way he once went about casting extras for the 1974 film Juggernaut: “What do you do when you need to take a giant ocean liner out to sea and have enough time to shoot a movie that you need? I pride myself on what I figured out to do. I took an ad in the London paper and I said ‘want to go on a five day cruise for nothing? Voyage to nowhere. You leave South Hampton, you go out in the ocean for a while, five days you come back and you’re gonna be in the movie! 200 pounds each. We got 600 people to pay us 200 pounds each to be extras in the movie…that was a producing idea that I’m very proud of.”

Possessing stories and recollections perhaps livelier now than when they first occured, Picker is sure to give a talk tonight that you won't want to miss. If you bring the questions, he will most certainly bring the answers (and the anecdotes).

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