PBS preps four-hour Walt Disney doc for 2015

U.S. broadcaster PBS is lining up Walt Disney, a two-night 'American Experience' film that will explore the life and legacy of the titular American storyteller (pictured).
July 22, 2014

U.S. broadcaster PBS is lining up Walt Disney, a four-hour, two-night ‘American Experience’ film that will explore the life and legacy of the titular American storyteller (pictured).

Airing in fall 2015, the film is being directed and produced by Sarah Colt (Henry Ford, RFK) and written by Mark Zwonitzer (JFK, Triangle Fire). It promises rare archival footage from the Disney vaults, scenes from some of his greatest films, and includes interviews with animators and artists who worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs , as well as the people who helped design Disneyland.

“For many Americans – and for me – the twinkle and swish of the Sunday night Disney logo was pure magic” said Beth Hoppe, PBS’s chief programming officer and general manager for general audience programming.

“It was an invitation to a special event. For my kids, introducing them to animated Disney movies from Beauty and the Beast to The Lion King brought us great joy and taught them life lessons. Now, viewers of all ages can learn about the life and legacy of the man behind the magic, and his continuing impact on our lives and culture.”

‘American Experience’ exec producer Mark Samels added: “Walt Disney is an entrepreneurial and cultural icon. No single figure shaped American culture in the 20th Century more than he.”

PBS unveiled details of the two-parter at its TCA presentation in California. The U.S. public broadcaster also announced that Ken Burns’ forthcoming seven-part, 14-hour doc series The Roosevelts: An Intimate History would be streaming online in its entirety on PBS station websites, starting the day after its TV premiere on September 14.

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.