In the Post’s all mighty (and unofficial) glory, we’d like to induct director Robert Lieberman in our CanCon Hall of Fame. Lieberman, who helmed D3: The Mighty Ducks, directed the cross-cultural hockey film Breakaway, opening at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday.
Here are some other crucial facts about this Canadian player:
Born: in Buffalo, New York
Home team: Toronto
Rookie job: My rookie job was doing the coaching films for the Buffalo Bills. As part of your contract, you have to supply your opponents with a special formatted copy of your game so they can study your plays. It was my first filmmaking job — way up in the catwalk in Buffalo. The winds would blow through and the cameras would freeze and not operate. It was right around the O.J. Simpson era, pre-murder.
Legendary goals: “My first picture was with the newly-minted Academy Award-winning Jon Voight (Table for Five, 1983). I’ve worked with President Clinton on a PSA that I filmed in the White House. I worked with George C. Scott in Titantic, a mini-series for CBS. Breakaway to me is a major goal in my life. I got to work with a young talent, Vinay Virmani, and mold him into his first major acting role. Mostly, I got to make a film that is at once very funny and very entertaining and is about something. It really is about immigrant folks coming to a new country and wanting to become apart of that country and be accepted as another countryman.”
Famous assists: “I was part of the discovery of Catherine Zeta Jones. I was doing this mini-series called Titanic. We needed a leading lady. We had to start shooting on Monday. They sent me a tape of a woman who had just done work in Wales. I hired her having never spoken to her. We worked for eight weeks. This has been verified: Steven Spielberg saw my mini-series and said, ‘That’s the girl to put in Zorro.’ And Zorro launched her career.”
Points: “2000+ (number of commercials he has directed). I was the first recipient of the DGA Award for Best Commercial Director (1980). I got a job as an assistant editor and then they were looking for an editor. Very shortly after that, I had just turned 21, they were looking for another director and I said, ‘How about me?’ At 21, I won the Cannes Film Festival for one of my early commercials for 7Up, the Uncola. The slogan was: ’7Up” turning the cola world unside down.’ It worked. They took their sales and they quadrupled it.”
Penalties: “I made a couple of B-movies that I lost control over and when I finally saw them, I wanted to take my name off of them. I did it for the wrong reasons. If you do anything for money, it’s the wrong reason. You can look at my IMDB and figure out which ones didn’t make it to the theatre.”
In his Hall of Fame treasure chest: “The first DGA award, that’s for sure. A picture of being at the birth of all four of my children. A picture that was just taken last Sunday of me, my two ex-wives and my current wife. And there was a commercial called The New Kid for McDonald’s. I consider it my best commercial ever. The new kid was a retired guy who was about 75 years old; it’s just the most adorable commercial of this old guy going to work [for McDonald’s]. And I would put Breakaway in my trophy chest.”
Breakaway screens Sept. 10 at the Visa Screening Room (Elgin) and Sept. 11 at AMC2 at TIFF.
Source: National Post