admin On novembre - 10 - 2012

Brad Bernstein’s film, Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story, depicts a man’s continuous pursuit to find his place in the world as a human being and as an artist. The documentary combines traditional storytelling with original animation from over 70 years worth of art from the renegade children’s book author and illustrator, political provocateur, and master of erotica. Brad tells us all there is to know on Tomi Ungerer’s lifelong adventure of testing societal boundaries through his use of subversive art is.


When did you first hear about Tomi Ungerer?

It was through an article by Randy Kennedy, a writer from the New York Times in 2008 and it was the front page of the art’s section, and as I was reading line by line, anecdote by anecdote, I knew that there was someone special, so I tried to see if there were any documentaries made on him and there was really nothing that encompassed his entire life. So I tried to reach out to him through his museum and two weeks later I got a beautiful response back in the mail, of a cat penning this letter with the phrase “Give Destiny a Destination.” Tomi was receptive to my idea and that’s where it started.









What was it like to work with him?

The first sep was flying my crew to Strasbourg in France. The goal was to get there, rest and do some interviews. When we arrived Tomi wanted us to go by, to meet him the night before the shooting. He greeted us with six bottles of wine and we spent the evening until the early hours with him and by the time we got there the next day, to film, he was all hungover but he was ready to go. He is over 80 years and has so much energy.


How was the shooting, production-wise?

We ended up shooting in three different cities, New York, Strasbourg and West Cork in Ireland. It was quite a job to film and organise everything, since I produced the film myself. I initially financed it on my own and eventually found financiers on the way. Part of the reason it took so long, four years, is because we had to do other television shows while we were making the documentary to raise money and develop the entire process.


What were your previous experiences prior to this project?

I started doing long form television back in 1999, for my first show I coordinated a 10 hour history college football and from there on I always worked for the networks. They would hire me to write, direct and produce television shows. I was basically a free-lance producer. With the film on Tomi for the first time everything was reversed, because no-one was financing it, it was my idea, not a network’s idea.


Besides DOC NYC what other festivals will it attend?

We got into the Toronto Film Festival, which was our North American premiere. It will be at the RIDM in Montreal, in Haifa, in Warsaw, in Braunschweig and several others. In the Rome Film Festival there will be an honorary screening with the movie ‘Moon Man’ an adaption of one of his books.


What do you hope to achieve with Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story?

Well I hope that as many people as possible will get to know Tomi through this film for he is such a gift. He is considered one of the few remaining characters of the 20th century that has a real charm who lived a very beguiling life. He’s a dying breed and we have to repreciate people like that while they’re here and respect the past and hopefully take lessons from it for the future.

By ChiaraSpagnoli


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