Buffalo, NY – WNED-TV’s latest national production, ELBERT HUBBARD: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL, premieres on PBS and locally on WNED-TV on Monday, November 23 at 10 pm.
The one-hour documentary presents the fascinating life story of Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), the flamboyant founder of the Roycroft artisan community in East Aurora, N.Y.
Narrated by actor Liev Schreiber, the film was produced, directed and written by WNED Senior Producer Paul Lamont. The musical score was written by Michael Bacon and the voice of Hubbard is provided by Adam Arkin.
Lamont, who also produced WNED’s Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo for PBS, describes his latest film as “a story of love, art, passion and controversy set against the backdrop of the Arts and Crafts Movement.”
Hubbard, an influential author, publisher, lecturer and entrepreneur, attracted master craftspeople as well as numerous dignitaries to his campus. At the turn of the 20th century, his Roycroft community was at the forefront of a movement that rejected mechanized industrialism and emphasized hand-crafting simple designs for everyday objects. But the colorful, independent Hubbard was also a controversial national figure.
“You may not approve of everything Hubbard did,” said Lamont, “but I think people will be able to relate to the contradictions that were part of his personality as well as his personal and professional struggles during a very turbulent and transitional time in America.”
“I tried to create an artistic film that mirrored the artistic qualities of Arts and Crafts and tell the best possible story,” he added. “By virtue of that, I think people will want to experience Roycroft for themselves.”
The nonprofit Roycroft Campus Corporation (RCC) is now restoring the original multi-building complex ― a National Historic Landmark and the nation’s only authentic Arts and Crafts community ― located 20 minutes from Buffalo.
“This thoughtful and insightful documentary is a powerful portrayal of Elbert Hubbard and his work,” said Christine Peters, Executive Director of the Roycroft Campus Corporation (RCC). “The creativity, passion and legacy of Hubbard, portrayed in this piece, evokes his spirit and complexity.”
“This documentary will inspire viewers to understand the importance of the history, work and philosophies started more than 100 years ago,” she added. “It supports the efforts of the RCC to continue to promote the Campus as a cultural destination attracting visitors, artists and those passionate about the Arts and Crafts Movement.”
“Elbert Hubbard and hisRoycrofters were key players in a movement that made a significant contribution to our regional and national heritage,” said WNED President and CEO Donald K. Boswell. “Bringing their grand American story to a national television audience is part of WNED’s commitment to sharing our community’s many cultural and environmental treasures with the world.”
WNED’s John Grant and David Rotterman served as executive producers for ELBERT HUBBARD: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL. The production, along with related promotion, outreach and educational materials, is funded by The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation. This private, philanthropic organization focuses its work in Western New York.
WNED’s catalog of recent national productions or co-productions includes Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo (2006), Niagara Falls (2006), The Adirondacks (2008), Fort Niagara: The Struggle for a Continent (2004), Window to the Sea (2005)and The Marines (2007). Projects on the Chautauqua Institution and The War of 1812 are currently in development.
Through WNED-TV, ThinkBright TV, Classical 94.5/WNED-FM and WNED-AM 970 The Information Station, the member-supported WNED Buffalo/Toronto provides high quality programming and services that enlighten, inspire, entertain and educate Western New York and Southern Ontario communities. Additional information about WNED can be found at www.wned.org.