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Bruce Weber fashion and portrait photographers Homage at Cambridge

BRUCE WEBER - A Life in Films
His First Complete UK Film Retrospective
(6th-16th July 2006, Cambridge Arts Picturehouse)

Bruce Weber is one of the 20th and 21st Century’s greatest fashion and portrait photographers – he is best known for his hugely influential, original and often mimicked advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein featuring gorgeously shot images of beautiful young men and women which have become icons of popular culture - and his photographic work has been exhibited all over the world including a solo show at the National Gallery, London. However he is also a highly regarded director and award-winning Oscar nominated documentary film-maker.

So it is with great pleasure that the 26th Cambridge Film Festival (6th -16th July) is proud to screen the first ever UK complete retrospective of Bruce Weber’s films including the UK Premiere of his short The Teddy Boys; his latest feature, A Letter to True, PLUS his classic 1989 American Academy nominated documentary Let’s Get Lost - the highly acclaimed collaboration with the late great jazz trumpeter Chet Baker - as well as his rarely seen early shorts, his hugely popular pop videos for The Pet Shop Boys (inc. Being Boring) and a selection of his commercials for Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic and Abercrombie and Fitch.

Explains Tony Jones, Director of the Cambridge Film Festival: “ I’ve long been a fan of Bruce’s films since LET’S GET LOST, and it’s a privilege to be hosting the first full retrospective of his work. What makes this retrospective unique is that Bruce is curating his own programme, and it’s a joy to work with film-makers who are wholly involved in the screening of their work. ”

Highlights of Bruce Weber: A Life in Films include:

* Broken Noses (1987/75mins/B&W and Colour)
Bruce Weber’s first film, Broken Noses is the story of professional lightweight boxer, Andy Minsker and his small boxing club in Portland, Oregon. The club consisted of 12 boxers between the ages of 10 and 16, mostly from broken homes and many of their parents were in prison. The film traces Andy’s boxing career with the U.S. Olympic Boxing Association, his fights in Las Vegas and his training of the young men whom he’s almost adopted as his own sons.

* The Beauty Brothers (1987/B&W)
Presented in five vignettes, and starring the brothers of actor Matt Dillon (Crash, Drugstore Cowboy), The Beauty Brothers offers-up the romance, desire, dreamscapes and frustrations of youth.

Part I: Junk Food Conversation, 2:44
Part II: Bedroom Bongos, 2:37
Part III: Dream Wheels, 2:39
Part IV: Poolhopping, 1:47
Part V: Runaway, 2:39

* Let’s Get Lost (1989/119 mins/B&W)
Weber’s most famous film is his collaboration with the elusive jazz vocalist and trumpeter Chet Baker (1929-88) who died jumping or falling from a window in Amsterdam before the film was completed. Let’s Get Lost weaves excerpts from Italian B movies, rarely performance footage, and candid interviews with Baker, fellow musicians, friends and battling ex-wives, and his children in what turned out to be the last year of his life. Winner of the 1989 Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival and nominated for an Academy Award, since it’s release Let’s Get Lost has introduced a whole new generation of jazz fans to the timeless talent of the late great Chet Baker.

* Backyard Movie (1991/9 mins/B&W)
In 1991 Bruce Weber’s parents gave him a reel of family movies made during his childhood. Premiering at the New York Film Festival, Backyard Movie incorporates the private home movies of the Weber Family into the fibre of the film as it connects the director’s past and present inspirations.

* Gentle Giants (1994/14 mins/B&W and Colour)
Gentle Giants combines moving and still images with written text to create a postscript to Backyard Movie. Also deeply personal, this film offers a candid view of Weber’s early perceptions and experiences, which helped shape and temper his visual world. (This film is dedicated to the late River Phoenix).

* The Teddy Boys of the Edwardian Drape Society
(1996/3 mins 45 secs/B&W) UK Premiere
In the mid-to-late fifties the word “Rock-A-Billy” found its way into the vocabulary of America’s youth. Bill Haley and His Comets were the leaders of this short-lived musical movement. By 1962 Rock-A-Billy was all but gone. But in London in 1996 the fashions, attitudes, tattoos and music of the Rock-A-Billy era were alive and well! Visually arresting in its approach, The Teddy Boys of the Edwardian Drape Society offers a glimpse into this little known world of late night London

* Chop Suey (2000/94 mins/B&W and Colour)
For over four years Bruce Weber photographed one subject: Peter Johnson. What began as a photographic journey to document Peter’s transition from boyhood into manhood led to the making of the film Chop Suey. A deeply personal film, feeling very much like a film journal or a scrapbook, Chop Suey is an homage to all things the filmmaker loves most. Mixing film, archival footage, still photography and a rich and expansive soundtrack boasting over 65 songs, Chop Suey is the third film in the trilogy, which begins with Backyard Movie.

* A Letter to True (2003/78 mins/ Colour and B&W)
Bruce Weber's latest film, A Letter to True, is a non-fiction feature length film, which, says Stephen Holden in The New York Times (8/9/2004) is “ an autobiographical scrapbook whose fragments are interwoven with a love letter, read out loud, to True, one of Weber’s five beloved Golden Retrievers. This film is a cinematic photo spread, or collage, that fixates on pets (his own and those of ardent dog lovers like Elizabeth Taylor and Dirk Bogarde) as the only beings capable of innocence, trust, loyalty and true love in a corrupt, vicious world”.

A Letter to True also includes voice-over narration by Marianne Faithfull and Julie Christie and a special appearance by Lassie!

Editor’s Notes:

1. Bruce Weber Biography - Bruce Weber was born on March 29th, 1946 in Greenburg, Pennsylvania. Weber studied Film and Photography at New York University where he met Diane Arbus who encouraged him to attend Lisette Model’s course at the New School For Social Research. It was at this time that he also started modeling for photographers, among whom the best-known fashion photographer at the time, Richard Avedon. His first group show as a photographer was in 1973, and not long after he began shooting for various fashion magazines. His shots stood out from other fashion work at the time. Where other pictures were obviously staged and set up, his models seemed to be themselves. His images still stand out, though many imitate him.

Now an internationally acclaimed photographer and film-maker, he has photographed for most major magazines, and has 22 books to his credit. His work has been exhibited in over 65 gallery shows and museums around the world. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum as well as in the Photography Division of the City of Paris. In 2005 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement distinction by the International Center of Photography.

Bruce Weber is equally acclaimed for his film-making and has produced three shorts and four feature length films. His first and second films, Broken Noses and Let’s Get Lost won ‘Best Documentary’ awards from the International Documentary Association. Let’s Get Lost was nominated for an American Academy Award for ‘Best Feature Documentary’ in 1988. The film’s soundtrack went to number one in the US jazz charts and is the best- selling Chet Baker collection in history. His documentary Chop Suey was released in 2001 and his newest film, A Letter To True was released in US at the end of 2004. Weber has also directed music videos for Chris Isaak and The Pet Shop Boys, the latter winning Music Week’s “Video of Year.” He has directed commercials for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Volvo and Dior Homme.

Bruce Weber lives in New York City.
2. Festival Information - The 26th Cambridge Film Festival, 6th-16th July 2006, Arts Picturehouse, 38/39 St Andrews Street, Cambridge CB2 3AR.
Box Office Tel: 08707 551 242.

The full film and events programme will be released by Friday 23rd June on Priority booking for members opens on Monday 26th June. Public booking opens on Thursday 29th June.

The Cambridge Film Festival is supported by the National Lottery through Screen East and the UK Film Council, and is sponsored by Green Cathedral, Carlton Screen Advertising, DHL, Cambridge Saab, BBC Cambridgeshire website (, and the UK’s leading independent cinema network City Screen.


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