Friends and I with Armando Gutierrez and Arthur Bernstein, producers of Walt Before Mickey

Walt Before Mickey

Last night I attended the premier of ‘Walt Before Mickey’ at our local theater. The movie has been playing at Disney in Orlando since Aug. 14 and had a premier in Kansas City last week. We got a premier because the owner of our local movie theater got to know the writers/producers of the film a couple of years ago.

The photo that serves as feature image for this post is of myself, my friends Scott and Duane along with writer/producer Arthur Bernstein and Armando Gutierrez who were in town for the show. You can see both men in the film with Armando playing the substantial role of Ub Iwerks. Arthur is seen playing the role of Frank L. Newman.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the movie and the experience. The movie was a little long, 110 minutes or thereabouts and I am not typically a fan of long movies. However, this one flew by and I couldn’t really think of anything that I personally would have cut out of the story.

The crowd was of decent size and everyone seemed to be excited going in. The Mayor was on hand to proclaim yesterday ‘Walt Before Mickey’ day in Huron.

I really enjoyed Jon Heder as Roy O. Disney and Thomas Ian Nicholas as Walt. Heder in particular because I was able to enjoy him as Roy despite having a difficult time separating him from Napoleon Dynamite. Sure, a part of me was expecting him to call Walt a fricken idiot at some point but only as a joke.
Like some in attendance who mentioned it specifically, I also enjoyed the movie’s score. I thought all of the music was used to great effect and matched the tone of the movie completely.
The movie is based on a book of the same name by Timothy Susanin which also contained a forward by Diane Disney Miller the only biological child of Walt and Lillian Disney.

As much as I enjoyed the film however, I enjoyed the question and answer session that followed even more. The producers were asked about the casting, the music, editing, cost, some of the reasons the film was shot the way it was and a lot of other questions as well. Then they picked out a few people to share their favorite parts of the movie including a few people that I actually know.

After that we got to get our photos taken with both Arthur and Armando who could not have been nicer guys. When it was our turn I wished them luck on their next project which they had told us was related to Lou Gehrig. Armando and I discussed baseball for a bit both this season and the past, he’s a Yankees fan and I’m a Braves fan. How nice a guy is Armando Gutierrez? He was nice enough to not bring up the 1996 or 1999 World Series, the 1996 Series in particular being the one that can bring me to tears almost immediately. It is cool that Armando is just a few months younger than I, we were both born in 1981 and he took an unconventional path to filmmaking. There’s a lesson in that I think and it left me feeling a bit inspired personally.
We snapped our photo with them and more fun was had. Unfortunately, the woman taking our picture did not believe me when I told her that to snap a photo correctly with Duane’s phone that she would have to smash it on the ground. Arthur had my back insisting that was how he took all of his photos but it was of no use. Guess I’ll just have to buy a sledgehammer and invite Duane over for a pizza soon. After that it was time to go off quietly into the evening.

Well, that was the plan anyway. On our way out the door, my friend Duane found the owner of the theater. You want to know what Duane asked the man? He asked him about their plans for Star Wars. Nothing firm as of yet, it will depend on what Disney will let them do. I’m hoping for a seven film marathon. It will be a week before Christmas and in South Dakota that means cold. So why do anything stupid that day like go outside? He’d love to do a marathon but it will depend on what the studio will approve. So keep your fingers crossed that I get my seven film Star Wars marathon because that is the number one most important issue in the world today.

If you get a chance, I would recommend that you go see ‘Walt Before Mickey’. You can also like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, visit the official website and vote for them at Rotten Tomatoes.

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