It’s no ‘Citizen Kane': Hearst announces ‘Citizen Hearst’ documentary

Hearst announced this morning that a new documentary (infomercial?) titled “Citizen Hearst” will premiere next month at the 2012 Hamptons International Film Festival.

The iconic nature of W.R. Hearst — an important and indelible part of American history — has long enthralled the public, and was famously dramatized in the 1941 film Citizen Kane, starring Orson Welles. Citizen Hearst, produced by Iwerks and Jane Kelly Kosek, is the first in-depth look at how the company has navigated the changing times over the span of two centuries.

“Citizen Hearst” — narrated by “Shameless” star William H. Macy — includes interviews with Oprah Winfrey; Mark Burnett; Ralph Lauren; Donna Karan; Dan Rather; Bob Iger; Leonard Maltin; several descendants of W.R. Hearst, and others.

Read the company’s press release after the jump.

ACADEMY AWARD®- and EMMY®-NOMINATED DIRECTOR LESLIE IWERKS & HEARST CORPORATION
ANNOUNCE “CITIZEN HEARST,” THE FIRST DOCUMENTARY CHRONICLING THE 125-YEAR HISTORY OF THE MEDIA GIANT FOUNDED BY WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST

Docu Begins with Mythical Story of William Randolph Hearst & Travels Behind the Scenes to Reveal How Hearst Became One of the World’s Leading Media Companies

World Premiere at 2012 Hamptons International Film Festival, October 4-8

NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES, September 12, 2012 — Leslie Iwerks Productions and Hearst Corporation announced today that one of the great media success stories — the compelling and dramatic story of the rise of one of America’s best known companies — will be told in a new full-feature documentary. (Watch the trailer at citizenhearst.com.)

In Citizen Hearst, which makes its private debut September 18 at a screening at Hearst Tower, Academy Award®- and Emmy®-nominated director Leslie Iwerks (The Pixar Story, Pipe Dreams, Recycled Life) explores the 125-year history of Hearst Corporation, from William Randolph Hearst’s conviction that print newspapers could boldly inform public opinion, to the global impact of the company’s multimedia brands and diversified businesses today. The film is narrated by Academy Award®-nominated actor William H. Macy and will have its world premiere next month at the 2012 Hamptons International Film Festival (www.hamptonsfilmfest.org), which takes place October 4 to 8 in East Hampton, N.Y., in the World Cinema section.

The iconic nature of W.R. Hearst—an important and indelible part of American history—has long enthralled the public, and was famously dramatized in the 1941 film Citizen Kane, starring Orson Welles. Citizen Hearst, produced by Iwerks and Jane Kelly Kosek, is the first in-depth look at how the company has navigated the changing times over the span of two centuries.

Crafted from interviews and historical footage, Citizen Hearst features the personal stories and trials and tribulations that have made today’s Hearst Corporation. Featured interviews include Hearst executives and editors, including Frank A. Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst, who has led the company longer than any Hearst executive other than W.R. Hearst himself; Oprah Winfrey; Mark Burnett; Ralph Lauren; Donna Karan; Dan Rather; Bob Iger; Leonard Maltin; Dr. Oz; Heidi Klum; NinaGarcia; Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; and several descendants of W.R. Hearst, among others.

The film chronicles the rise of American journalism and the newspaper rivalry with Joseph Pulitzer; traces the beginnings of newsreels and films, and later magazine brands and cable; glimpses inside the personal lives of W.R. Hearst and Marion Davies (including reactions to Citizen Kane); explores the influences of media on politics through the decades; investigates Hearst’s steadfast pursuit of creative expansion; and examines the bold commitment the company made in a changed media world to building Hearst Tower in the wake of 9/11.

Viewers will get a never-before-seen view of the company, from behind the glass exterior of New York’s Hearst Tower to inside the famous Hearst Castle near San Simeon, Calif.

“Citizen Hearst explores the creative genius and sharp foresight that has been handed down from one Hearst leader to the next, all in the pursuit of innovation across all media platforms,” Iwerks says. “Hearst has always believed in its creative people to build and expand the organization. The film follows the thread that began with the unprecedented vision and risks of William Randolph Hearst and continues under the leadership of CEO Frank Bennack today.”

Commenting on the film, Frank A. Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst Corporation, says, “It is clear today that we are a very different company than 125 years ago, but in one sense Hearst has not changed at all: Our mission is still to inform, entertain and inspire. This is the first time our story is told in film, from William Randolph Hearst’s first Examiner edition to the global information company we are today. Citizen Hearst is a documentary 125 years in the making — we are all ‘Citizen Hearsts’ in a sense, informed by journalism and media that W.R. Hearst is responsible for creating.”

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