Walt & El Grupo

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Walt & El Grupo chronicles the amazing ten-week trip that Walt Disney and his hand-picked group of artists and filmmaking talent (later known as “El Grupo”) took to South America in 1941 at the behest of the U.S. Government as part of the Good Neighbor Policy. Within just three short years after the phenomenal success of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the Walt Disney Studios experienced a chain of financial challenges that ultimately led to the infamous animators strike. Also during this time, the Roosevelt administration had growing concerns about Nazi and Fascist influence in Latin America, and the rest of the world was slipping further into war. In stark contrast to these trying times, Disney and his colorful group of artists found themselves on a lively trip full of hope and discovery as they explored various South American cities, spending the majority of their time in the countries of Argentina, Brazil and Chile. The group was saddled with an unusual assignment – while gathering story material, immersing themselves in the culture, befriending local artists, meeting political leaders and attending countless functions, their journey was also a de facto diplomatic mission, and as a result, the studio produced the classic films “Saludos Amigos” and “The Three Caballeros.” Shot on film in five countries, Walt & El Grupo is a tale that still resonates on both sides of the equator. The film time travels in Walt Disney’s footsteps through the use of personal letters and stunning artwork from the trip, remembrances by descendants and survivors, and extraordinary never-before-seen footage. Walt & El Grupo brings together an intertwined story of art and politics, the poignancy of a bygone age, and a legendary artist during one of his most trying times.

 

Read George Sax's review of Walt & El Grupo in the October 22nd edition of Artvoice.

tags: documentary biographical theodore thomas janet lansburgh
credits: Walt Disney Family Foundation Films / http://www.waltandelgrupo.com
posted on 10/21/2009


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