Film Festival Today

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An American Original

Written by: FFT Webmaster | June 20th, 2012

George Plimpton, author/athlete/aesthete/social critic, was an American original. A new film on his romantic and discursive life is having its world premiere this week at the AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival, one of the most prestigious showcases for non-fiction film in the world. Lesser known now than in his heyday, Plimpton lived a diverse life that was almost too much for one lifetime. PLIMPTON! STARRING GEORGE PLIMPTON AS HIMSELF by the directorial team of Tom Bean and Luke Poling, is a celebration of a life lived fully, richly, strangely, and, at times, a life that is hard to believe was actually lived by just one man.

Plimpton, who died in 2003, was a fixture of the literary, film and social scenes starting in the 1960s, becoming an eminence grise in his later years. During those swinging decades, he hung out with U.S. Presidents, played quarterback for the Detroit Lions, got Willie Mays to pop out in Yankee Stadium, photographed Playboy models, played goalie for the Boston Bruins, struck the triangle for the New York Philharmonic, performed in a flying trapeze extravaganza, and acted alongside John Wayne, Warren Beatty and Matt Damon. He also co-founded The Paris Review, which became one of the most influential literary magazines in history, launching the careers of generations of writers, from Philip Roth and Terry Southern to William Styron and Jay McInerney. A familiar face on television screens, he represented a kind of patrician liberalism that is all but lost in our more conservative political times.

Filmmakers Tom Bean and Luke Poling have researched and catalogued Plimpton’s life and his work. They have interviewed people from every aspect of Plimpton’s life in order to tell the story of this one-of-a-kind person. Writer/Director/Producer Tom Bean has worked in many capacities on documentary and feature films alike. He co-produced and wrote a feature length documentary about the Iranian hostage crisis, featuring Jimmy Carter and Walter Cronkite. Writer/Director/Producer Luke Poling has worked on many productions, including THE DEPARTED and THE FOG OF WAR. He was a writer/director for the omnibus film TWELVE, which played to film festivals across the country. He also worked as a staff writer and director on the award-winning podcast Hello Simon. Hopefully this new film will find a wide distribution and will introduce a new generation to a true American original. For more information on the film, visit:

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