New Documentary Film Celebrating the art of America’s Gilded Age: World Premiere in Richmond, Virginia on January 20th

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The new documentary film "America Rising: The Arts of the Gilded Age" will be shown for the first time on January 20, 2017 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

Mark Twain, 1907. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

I can’t think of a better day, Inauguration Day, to launch a film celebrating the arts in America highlighting what Mark Twain described as our Gilded Age.

Independent filmmakers Michael Maglaras and Terri Templeton of 217 Films announce the premiere of their new film project – their seventh in twelve years and their sixth “essay in film” – highlighting works in the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts from what Mark Twain described as “The Gilded Age.”

The film is titled “America Rising: The Arts of the Gilded Age” and will premiere at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on January 20th.

“I can’t think of a better day, Inauguration Day, to launch a film celebrating the arts in America and highlighting our Gilded Age,” said writer and director Michael Maglaras. “We use more than 87 classic American works of art from this period, including seven works in the collection of VMFA.”

After the Civil War, American arts and American artists come into their own on the world stage. In painting, in sculpture, in architecture, and in music, America finds its artistic soul and voice in the work created from the end of the Civil War through the first decade of the 20th century. Using the work of painters as diverse as Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Maurice Prendergast, and John Singer Sargent, as well as film footage of the era…including the only known footage of Mark Twain…“America Rising” creates a portrait of an America reinventing itself, after the tragic events of the Civil War, as a major artistic force.

With the great public sculptures of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, such as the “Robert Gould Shaw Memorial” in Boston (referred to in the film by Director Maglaras as “the finest piece of memorial sculpture in America”), “America Rising” focuses on how the rise of the middle class and the even greater rising of industrialists like Henry Clay Frick and others contributed to an America poised, through its art, to commemorate its past and invent its future.

“We’re very pleased at VMFA to host this World Premiere. Each time Michael and Terri have brought one of their films to Richmond, the response from our membership and our community has been overwhelming,” said Trent Nicholas, Media Programs Coordinator at VMFA.

View clips from the film at this link:

World Premiere film screening
“America Rising: The Arts of the Gilded Age”

Friday, January 20, 2017
6:30 PM

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Leslie Cheek Theatre
200 N. Boulevard, Richmond

$8 General Admission / $5 Museum Members

More about 217 Films: 217 Films is an independent film company devoted to the American artistic experience. In 2005, Michael Maglaras and Terri Templeton released their first film “Cleophas and His Own” about the American painter Marsden Hartley's epic narrative of love and loss. Maglaras both directed and played the role of Hartley in this film. In 2008, they released a second film about Hartley called “Visible Silence: Marsden Hartley, Painter and Poet” – the first-ever documentary on the life of Hartley. In 2010, with their film “John Marin: Let the Paint be Paint!” they established, through the first full-length documentary on this important painter, that John Marin was one of the fathers of American Modernism. These films, among other distinctions, have been shown to acclaim at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. In 2012, they released “O Brother Man: The Art and Life of Lynd Ward.” In 2013, they released “The Great Confusion: The 1913 Armory Show.” Currently on tour is their latest film “Enough to Live On: The Arts of the WPA” celebrating the ways in which Franklin Roosevelt used the arts to raise the spirits of the American people during the Great Depression.

The Sacramento Bee called Michael Maglaras a filmmaker of “Bergman-like gravitas.” His films have been described as “virtuoso filmmaking” (National Gallery of Art) “alive and fresh” (Art New England) and “elegiac and insightful” (Naples Daily News). David Berona, author of “Wordless Books” has said of “O Brother Man” ... “This film is stunning.” A recent review in The Dartmouth said of “The Great Confusion” that “Michael Maglaras... brought the drama of the original show back to life.”

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