President and Managing Director, Motion Picture Association
Favourite family film of all time: The Wizard of Oz
In your opinion, what makes a great film?
Teamwork plus vision makes a great film. Moviemaking is a quest by a team of hundreds or even thousands of people, and businesses large and small, to fulfill the artistic vision of the writer and the director.
In my office, on a street aptly named the Avenue des Arts, I have a poster from the 1982 Disney film Night Crossing, directed by Delbert Mann. It tells the story of East German families who escaped to the West in a homemade balloon.
That film connected with me when I was growing up in a U.S. military family in West Germany at that time. That story – the stitching together of the balloon, getting it up in the air, putting it out when it catches fire, sticking the landing and dodging the snarling dogs to achieve the dream – that’s movie making.
I also have posters of The Sound of Music, Star Wars, Dr. Strangelove, and The English Patient. These are a few of the many titles that remind me of the way a great film can shape the hopes and relationships of people across the globe. To tell a story well like that, to take an audience on a journey, requires both artistic and organizational genius.
What is your favourite family film of all time and why?
A hundred years before J.K. Rowling gave us the story of Harry Potter, Frank Baum gave us the story of Dorothy Gale. Both of those stories inspired spectacular films. For me, Victor Fleming’s 1939 masterpiece The Wizard of Oz is the best family film of all time.
Watching the film is like going home. I recently shared Warner Bros.’ digitally remastered version on Blu-Ray with my sons, who were 5 and 7 years old at the time, and they adored it. Then we got to see it in the cinema, and they were transfixed.
Dorothy’s Hogwarts was the Land of Oz, where she too found magic both good and evil. Like Harry, Dorothy also found friends to share her adventure, and help her discover things about herself.
The Wizard of Oz was the first truly great special effects film, using cutting edge technology in a way that perfectly served the story. Hagrid’s flying motorcycle thus owes a debt to the flying bicycle in Dorothy’s twister, and the Fantastic Beasts of Harry Potter’s world owe a debt to the flying monkeys of Oz.
You can read more about the MPA’s support for the Childnet Film Competition on the MPA website.
Stan's office is located, very aptly, in a street called the Avenue des Arts.