The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

PG-13 | 166-167 mins | Fantasy, Drama | 25 December 2008

THIS TITLE IS OUTSIDE THE AFI CATALOG OF FEATURE FILMS (1893-1993)
You may also like these titles from the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, the most authoritative documentation of the First 100 Years of American filmmaking.

Director:

David Fincher

Cinematographer:

Claudio Miranda

Production Designer:

Donald Graham Burt

Production Companies:

Parmount Pictures , Warner Bros. , A Kennedy/Marshall Company
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HISTORY

In the only opening credits, the Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. studio logos are formed by a shower of buttons. All other credits appear at the end of the film. After the film's conclusion, major credits, including those of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, appear before the title, followed by the full credits, which include a cast list in order of appearance. The closing credits included an acknowledgment to Sony Pictures Television for the clip for America 2Night . A written acknowledgment in the closing credits thanks the people of New Orleans, the people of Louisiana and Québec Production Services. Many of the musicians and composers of songs heard in the film were associated with the New Orleans jazz and blues music scene. Some of the songs credited onscreen as “traditional” have confirmed composers, whose names have been added to the music and song credits listed above.
       Voice-over narration is heard intermittently throughout the film, by Blanchett as “Daisy Fuller” and Pitt as “Benjamin Button.” When Daisy relates the story of “Mr. Gateau” (Elias Koteas) to “Caroline (Julia Ormond),” the film suggests the look of an old newsreel, with a number of scratches, frame jumps and occasional blurring. The depictions of “Mr. Daws (Ted Manson)” being struck by lightening appear in over-exposed, sepia tone in sped-up motion and also give the impression of aged film stock. After Daisy’s death, Benjamin’s voice is heard over the images of various characters, acknowledging the influence each had on his life. The final image of the picture is that of Mr. Gateau’s large clock, still running backwards, relegated to a storage room ... More Less

In the only opening credits, the Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. studio logos are formed by a shower of buttons. All other credits appear at the end of the film. After the film's conclusion, major credits, including those of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, appear before the title, followed by the full credits, which include a cast list in order of appearance. The closing credits included an acknowledgment to Sony Pictures Television for the clip for America 2Night . A written acknowledgment in the closing credits thanks the people of New Orleans, the people of Louisiana and Québec Production Services. Many of the musicians and composers of songs heard in the film were associated with the New Orleans jazz and blues music scene. Some of the songs credited onscreen as “traditional” have confirmed composers, whose names have been added to the music and song credits listed above.
       Voice-over narration is heard intermittently throughout the film, by Blanchett as “Daisy Fuller” and Pitt as “Benjamin Button.” When Daisy relates the story of “Mr. Gateau” (Elias Koteas) to “Caroline (Julia Ormond),” the film suggests the look of an old newsreel, with a number of scratches, frame jumps and occasional blurring. The depictions of “Mr. Daws (Ted Manson)” being struck by lightening appear in over-exposed, sepia tone in sped-up motion and also give the impression of aged film stock. After Daisy’s death, Benjamin’s voice is heard over the images of various characters, acknowledging the influence each had on his life. The final image of the picture is that of Mr. Gateau’s large clock, still running backwards, relegated to a storage room in the train station, as flood water from hurricane Katrina reaches it.
       The film differs in several ways from the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story on which it was based. The story is set in ante-bellum Baltimore where the Buttons are a socially prominent couple. Unlike the film, in which Thomas Button owns a button factory, in the story, Benjamin’s father is named Roger Button and is president of a wholesale hardware store. A major difference between story and film is in the progression of Benjamin’s “condition.” In Fitzgerald’s story, Benjamin is born as a fully developed, adult-sized old man capable of speech and reasoning, who experiences life, physically, emotionally and intellectually in reverse order. In the film, although Benjamin’s infant-sized body begins life with the characteristics of old age, he experiences life in the normal fashion, from infancy to maturity and eventually senility while his body grows younger. In the story, although Roger Button is aggravated by his son’s situation, he does not abandon him, as does Thomas Button in the film, an action that shapes Benjamin’s entire life. Unlike the film’s fantasy element of Mr. Gateau's backwards running timepiece, the story makes no effort to explain Benjamin's condition.
       While the film links Benjamin and Daisy from childhood and gradually leads to their romance in middle-age, with Fitzgerald’s story, the relationship and ultimate marriage of Benjamin to “Hildegarde Moncrief” is only fleetingly romantic and dissolves because of Benjamin’s dismay over his wife's natural aging as well as her frustration over his having no control over his reverse aging. Unlike the film, in which Benjamin and Daisy's daughter has a major role yet never knows Benjamin, in the story Benjamin and Hildegarde's son, Roscoe, is exasperated by his father’s condition, especially when it forces him to care for his father when Benjamin becomes a teenager, then a young child.
       Interest in adapting the Fitzgerald short story for the screen began in the 1980s. Various news items from 1989 through 2000 reveal the following information about early attempts to produce the film: In 1985, Columbia Pictures began development of a “Benjamin Button” project, hiring Robin Swicord to adapt the Fitzgerald story. By 1989 the project had migrated to Universal Studios, where producer Ray Stark held the story rights. At that time, Tom Pope was to adapt and Frank Oz direct the film, which, according to a 26 Feb 1989 LAT “Cinefile” item, was to star comedian Martin Short. By Feb 1996, after several failed attempts to get the production off the ground, the husband-and-wife producing team of Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, who produced the 2008 final released film, joined Stark. At that time, Agnieszka Holland was attached as director and Daniel Day-Lewis was offered the starring role. In Feb 1999, the project had developed into a co-production between Paramount and Universal, with Phil Alden Robinson in negotiations to direct. A 3 Jul 1999 HR “Rambling Reporter” item stated that Steven Spielberg was attached to the project and hoped to cast Tom Cruise in the lead. No other sources mention Spielberg’s interest in the production, but the director has been a frequent associate of Kennedy and Marshall since the 1980s.
       By Feb 2000, Spike Jonze was in discussions to direct The Curious Case of Benajmin Button , and Charlie Kaufman was listed as developing the Swicord draft. Director Ron Howard was also mentioned as having considered taking on the film. In Jun 2003, Gary Ross reportedly was to direct and was working with Eric Roth, who is credited onscreen for the film’s screenplay, on rewriting Swicord’s draft. [Swicord shares a “screen story by” credit with Roth on the released film.] Army Archerd’s Var column on 12 Aug 2004, recorded that David Pinter would direct Roth’s script. A Jul 2005 DV article mentions Jim Taylor as a writing contributor to the Roth-Swicord script. Other contemporary sources add Todd Graff as a contributing writer.
       A 5 Jul 2005 DV article disclosed a two-picture deal between Paramount and director David Fincher, one film of which was to be The Curious Case of Benjamin Button . Fincher, who had worked with Pitt on two prior films, Se7en (1995) and Fight Club (1999), was instrumental in signing the actor for the part. Production charts from 6 Feb 2007, as well as various other contemporary sources, add R&B singer Eric West to the cast, but he does not appear in the released film.
       According to a 2008 book on the making of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Fincher noted that Pitt would only accept the role if he could appear as Benjamin throughout the entire film, not just at a particular age. In the completed film, this was achieved by visual effects that allowed the image of Pitt's head to be merged digitally with the bodies of other actors. Pitt thus was able to appear as Benjamin from his early years, with the infirm body of a child-sized, old man, then age backwards to a fully grown man, and finally a young person with the maturity and life-experience of an aged man. The book also noted that the production of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was one of the first business enterprises to utilize New Orleans as a shooting location after the devastation of the 2005 hurricane Katrina, which frames the story and is part of the plot in the Caroline and Daisy sequences of the film.
       According to a 15 Nov 2008 EW article, the film’s budget was $150,000,000. Various sources list its North American box office gross in excess of $127,000,000. Reviews generally were positive with Todd McCarthy of Var calling the film “A richly satisfying serving of deep-dish Hollywood storytelling… (made) in an impeccable classical manner.” The HR review described it as a film of “urgent drama and romantic fatalism…strikingly brought to the screen…superbly made and winningly acted.”
       The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , which was selected by AFI as one of the ten Movies of the Year for 2008, won Academy Awards for Art Direction, Makeup and Visual Effects. It also received the following Academy Award nominations: Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Pitt), Performance by an actress in a supporting role (Taraji P. Henson as "Queenie"), Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Original Score, Sound Mixing, Adapted screenplay, Director and Best Picture. The film also received Golden Globe nominations for Best Director, Best Picture--Drama, Best Original Score and Best Screenplay for Roth and Swicord. Other accolades include the following: Fincher was nominated by the DGA for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2008; ASC nominated Claudio Miranda for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases; PGA nominated Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin for the Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award. The SGA nominated Pitt for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Henson for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role and the main members of the cast for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. The WGA nominated Roth and Swicord for Best Adapted Screenplay. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
22 Feb 1996.
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Daily Variety
27 Feb 1996.
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Daily Variety
12 Aug 2004.
---
Daily Variety
5 Jul 2005
p. 1, 11.
Entertainment Weekly
15 Nov 2008.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Feb 1999.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 1999.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 2000.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 2003
p. 3, 77.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 2007.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Nov 2008.
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Feb 1989.
---
Variety
12 Aug 2004.
---
Variety
23 Nov 2008.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
In order of appearance:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A David Fincher Production
a Kennedy/Marshall Production
a Kennedy/Marshall Production; a David Fincher Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir, New Orleans
3rd asst dir, Montreal
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod / Post prod supv
WRITERS
Scr
Scr story
Scr story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst photog
"B" 1st asst photog
2d asst photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Dimmer op
Dimmer op, New Orleans
Elec
Elec, New Orleans
Elec, New Orleans
Chief rigging elec
Asst chief rigging elec
Rigging elec, New Orleans
Set lighting foreperson
Set lighting sub-foreperson
1st company grip
2d company grip
Dolly grips
Dolly grip
Grip, New Orleans
Grip, New Orleans
Grip, New Orleans
Grip, New Orleans
1st company rigging grip
2d company rigging grip
Rigging grip
Rigging grip
Rigging grip
Rigging grip
Rigging grip
Rigging grip
Rigging grip
Rigging grip, New Orleans
Rigging grip, New Orleans
Rigging grip, New Orleans
Rigging grip, New Orleans
Rigging grip, New Orleans
Rigging grip, New Orleans
Rigging grip, New Orleans
Rigging grip, New Orleans
Still photog
Cam loader, New Orleans
Cameras & data capture provided by
Cameras & data capture provided by
Cameras & data capture provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Supv art dir
Art dir, Los Angeles
Art dir, New Orleans
Art dir, New Orleans
Art dir, Montreal
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir, New Orleans
Illustrator
Illustrator
Graphic des
Art dept coord
Art dept coord, New Orleans
Asst to art dept
Asst to art dept
Asst to art dept, New Orleans
Asst to art dept, New Orleans
Draftsperson, New Orleans
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed, New Orleans
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set des, New Orleans
Prop master
Asst prop master
Props, New Orleans
Props, New Orleans
Leadperson
Leadperson, New Orleans
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser, New Orleans
Set dresser, New Orleans
Set dresser, New Orleans
Set dresser, New Orleans
Set dresser, New Orleans
Set dresser, New Orleans
Set dresser, New Orleans
On-set dresser
On-set dresser, New Orleans
Set dec coord
Asst to set dec dept
Asst to set dec dept
Asst dec, New Orleans
Const coord
General foreperson
Propmaker foreperson
Propmaker foreperson
Loc foreperson
Const foreperson
Const foreperson
Key labor foreperson
Labor foreperson
Labor foreperson, New Orleans
Labor foreperson, New Orleans
Mill foreperson
Paint foreperson
Paint foreperson
Paint foreperson
Paint foreperson
Paint foreperson
Paint foreperson
Paint foreperson
Welding foreperson
Plaster foreperson
Plaster foreperson
Plaster foreperson
Chief carpenter
Lead sculptor
Tool person
On-set painter
On-set painter, New Orleans
On-set painter, New Orleans
On-set painter, New Orleans
Greens foreperson
Greensperson
Lead greensperson, New Orleans
Greensperson, New Orleans
Greensperson, New Orleans
Greensperson, New Orleans
Greensperson, New Orleans
Greensperson, New Orleans
Greensperson, New Orleans
Buyer, New Orleans
Construction buyer, New Orleans
Foreperson, New Orleans
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Asst cost des, New Orleans
Key cost
Key set cost
Set cost
Set cost
Set cost
Set cost
Set cost
Set cost, New Orleans
Set cost, New Orleans
Set cost, New Orleans
Set cost, New Orleans
Set cost, New Orleans
Set cost, New Orleans
Set cost, New Orleans
Head ager/dyer
Ager/dyer
Ager/dyer, New Orleans
Tailer/cutter
Seamstress
Seamstress
Seamstress, New Orleans
Seamstress, New Orleans
Seamstress, New Orleans
Seamstress, New Orleans
Asst to the cost dept
Asst to the cost dept, New Orleans
Asst to the cost dept, New Orleans
MUSIC
Orch contractor
Orch contractor
Mus ed
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Harp soloist
Mus preparation
Mus rec and mixed by
Pro Tools op
SOUND
Sd des
Supv sd ed
Asst supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Mix tech
Mix tech
Post prod services
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Dial ed
Asst ADR ed
ADR mixer
ADR mixer
ADR rec
Ambience rec
Foley supv
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Utility sd
Utility sd, New Orleans
Eng-Data capture
Asst to eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff general foreperson
Spec eff general foreperson
Spec eff eng
Spec eff set foreperson
Spec eff foreperson
Spec eff foreperson
Spec eff foreperson
Spec eff foreperson
Spec eff foreperson
Spec eff foreperson
Spec eff foreperson
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech, New Orleans
Spec eff tech, New Orleans
Spec eff tech, New Orleans
Spec eff tech, New Orleans
Spec eff tech, New Orleans
Spec eff tech, New Orleans
Visual eff and animation provided by
Visual eff by
Visual eff by
Visual eff by
Visual eff by
Visual eff by
Visual eff by
Visual eff, Savage Visual Effects
Visual eff, Savage Visual Effects
Visual eff supv, Digital Domain
Visual eff supv, Asylum
Visual eff supv, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff supv, Hydraulx
Visual eff supv, Ollin Studio
Addl visual eff supv, Asylum
Visual eff exec prod, Digital Domain
2d supv, Ollin Studio
Exec visual eff prod, Asylum
Exec visual eff prod, Asylum
Visual eff exec prod, Hydraulx
Visual eff prod, Digital Domain
Visual eff prod, Asylum
Visual eff prod, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff prod, Hydraulx
Visual eff prod, Ollin Studio
Visual eff assoc prod, Lola Visual Effects
Character supv, Digital Domain
Char supv, Hydraulx
Modeling supv, Digital Domain
Modeling supv, Hydraulx
3D integration supv, Digital Domain
Asset creation supv, Digital Domain
Lighting supv, Digital Domain
Lighting supv, Digital Domain
3D eff supv, Digital Domain
Compositing supv, Digital Domain
Compositing supv, Digital Domain
Compositing supv, Digital Domain
Compositing supv, Asylum
Compositing coord, Hydraulx
Rotoscope/Paint supv, Digital Domain
Roto/paint supv, Asylum
Matte painting supv, Digital Domain
Matte painting and texturing supv, Asylum
Digital prod, Digital Domain
Lead character rigger, Digital Domain
Lead character rigger, Digital Domain
Modeler, Digital Domain
Modeler, Digital Domain
Modeler, Digital Domain
Digital modeling supv, Asylum
Sr digital modeler, Asylum
Digital modeler, Asylum
Digital modeler, Asylum
Modeler, Hydraulx
Modeler, Hydraulx
Modeler, Hydraulx
Modeler, Hydraulx
Modeler, Hydraulx
Hair lead, Digital Domain
Hair modeler, Digital Domain
Hair modeler, Digital Domain
Hair modeler, Digital Domain
Hair dynamics, Digital Domain
Anim supv, Asylum
Anim supv, Hydraulx
Anim lead, Digital Domain
Anim lead, Asylum
Anim, Digital Domain
Anim, Digital Domain
Anim, Digital Domain
Anim, Digital Domain
Anim, Digital Domain
Anim, Digital Domain
Anim, Digital Domain
Anim, Hydraulx
Anim, Hydraulx
Anim, Hydraulx
CG anim, Ollin Studio
Anim/rigging artist, Asylum
3D Integration lead, Digital Domain
3D integration lead, Digital Domain
3D integration lead, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
3D integration artist, Digital Domain
Lighting lead, Digital Domain
Digital lighting supv, Asylum
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Lighting artist, Digital Domain
Digital lighting artist, Asylum
Digital lighting artist, Asylum
Digital lighting artist, Asylum
Digital lighting artist, Asylum
Digital lighting artist, Asylum
Digital lighting artist, Asylum
Lighting tech, Hydraulx
Lighting tech, Hydraulx
Lighting tech, Hydraulx
Lighting tech, Hydraulx
Lighting and shading, Ollin Studio
Matte painter, Digital Domain
Matte painting artist, Asylum
Matte painting artist, Asylum
Matte painter, Hydraulx
Matte painter, Ollin Studio
Texture paint lead, Digital Domain
Digital texture lead, Asylum
Texture painter, Digital Domain
Texture painter, Digital Domain
Texture painter, Digital Domain
Digital texture artist, Asylum
Digital texture artist, Asylum
Lead compositor, Digital Domain
Lead compositor, Digital Domain
Lead compositor, Digital Domain
Lead compositor, Digital Domain
Lead compositor, Ollin Studio
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Digital Domain
Compositor, Asylum
Compositor, Asylum
Compositor, Asylum
Compositor, Asylum
Compositor, Asylum
Compositor, Asylum
Compositor, Asylum
Compositor, Asylum
Compositor, Asylum
Compositor, Lola Visual Effects
Compositor, Lola Visual Effects
Compositor, Lola Visual Effects
Compositor, Lola Visual Effects
Compositor, Lola Visual Effects
Compositor, Lola Visual Effects
Compositor, Ollin Studio
Compositor, Ollin Studio
Compositor, Ollin Studio
Compositor, Ollin Studio
Compositor, Ollin Studio
Compositor, Ollin Studio
Compositor, Ollin Studio
Compositor, Ollin Studio
Compositor, Ollin Studio
Lead tech developer, Digital Domain
Lead tech developer, Digital Domain
Tech developer, Digital Domain
Tech developer, Digital Domain
Lead paint artist, Asylum
Paint artist, Digital Domain
Paint artist, Digital Domain
Paint artist, Digital Domain
Paint artist, Digital Domain
Paint artist, Digital Domain
Paint artist, Digital Domain
Paint artist, Digital Domain
Paint artist, Digital Domain
Paint artist, Digital Domain
Paint artist, Digital Domain
Paint artist, Digital Domain
Paint artist, Asylum
Paint artist, Asylum
Rotoscope artist, Digital Domain
Rotoscope artist, Digital Domain
Rotoscope artist, Digital Domain
Rotoscope artist, Digital Domain
Rotoscope artist, Digital Domain
Rotoscope artist, Digital Domain
Rotoscope artist, Digital Domain
Rotoscope artist, Digital Domain
Rotoscope artist, Digital Domain
Rotoscope artist, Digital Domain
Rotoscope artist, Digital Domain
Roto artist, Asylum
Roto artist, Asylum
Roto artist, Asylum
Software developer, Digital Domain
Software developer, Digital Domain
Software developer, Digital Domain
Software developer, Digital Domain
Software developer, Asylum
Software support, Hydraulx
Software support, Hydraulx
Previsualization lead, Digital Domain
Visual eff ed, Digital Domain
Visual eff ed, Asylum
Visual eff asst ed, Digital Domain
Visual eff coord, Digital Domain
Visual eff coord, Asylum
Visual eff coord, Hydraulx
Visual eff coord, Ollin Studio
Visual eff des, Hydraulx
Visual eff des, Hydraulx
Digital eff coord, Digital Domain
Digital eff coord, Digital Domain
Digital eff coord, Digital Domain
Digital eff coord, Digital Domain
Asst digital eff coord, Digital Domain
Digital eff artist, Asylum
Digital eff artist, Asylum
Digital eff artist, Asylum
Digital eff artist, Asylum
Tech support, Digital Domain
Tech support, Hydraulx
Maquettes, Digital Domain
CG prod, Asylum
Head of CG, Asylum
CG coord, Asylum
CG supv, Hydraulx
CG supv, Ollin Studio
Digital water lead, Asylum
Digital water lead, Asylum
Digital water artist, Asylum
Digital water artist, Asylum
Real flow TD, Asylum
Fusion C.I. Studios
Digital water pipeline TD, Asylum
Shading supv, Asylum
Massive artist, Asylum
Tracking lead, Asylum
Tracking artist, Asylum
Layout and pipeline TD, Asylum
Inferno artist, Lola Visual Effects
Inferno artist, Lola Visual Effects
Inferno artist, Lola Visual Effects
Inferno artist, Lola Visual Effects
Inferno artist, Lola Visual Effects
Inferno artist, Lola Visual Effects
Inferno artist, Lola Visual Effects
Inferno artist, Lola Visual Effects
Inferno/Flame compositor, Hydraulx
Inferno/Flame compositor, Hydraulx
Inferno/Flame compositor, Hydraulx
Inferno/Flame compositor, Hydraulx
Inferno/Flame compositor, Hydraulx
Inferno/Flame compositor, Hydraulx
Cam tracker, Hydraulx
Cam tracker, Hydraulx
Cam tracker, Hydraulx
Cam tracker, Hydraulx
Visual eff stills photog, Hydraulx
Digital prod mgr, Ollin Studio
Prod coord, Lola Visual Effects
Prod coord, Lola Visual Effects
I/O support, Hydraulx
Digital opt by
Digital opt by
DANCE
Asst to choreog
MAKEUP
Spec makeup created and applied by
Makeup eff supv
Spec eff makeup artist
Spec eff makeup artist
Spec eff makeup artist
Spec eff makeup artist
Spec eff makeup artist
Makeup eff sculptor
Makeup eff sculptor
Silicon tech
Silicon tech
Makeup eff dept prod supv
Supv of operations
Makeup eff asst coord
Makeup eff imaging
Makeup eff imaging
Makeup eff shop supv
Makeup eff prod asst
Makeup dept head
Ms. Blanchett's makeup artist
Key makeup
Makeup artist, New Orleans
Makeup artist, New Orleans
Makeup artist, New Orleans
Makeup artist, New Orleans
Hair dept head
Key hairstylist
Key hairstylist, New Orleans
Hairstylist
Hairstylist, New Orleans
Hairstylist, New Orleans
Hairstylist, New Orleans
Hairstylist, New Orleans
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting asst
Los Angeles background casting
Los Angeles background casting
Background casting, New Orleans
Background casting, Montreal
Background casting asst, New Orleans
Background casting asst, New Orleans
Background casting asst, New Orleans
Unit prod mgr
Prod mgr, Montreal
Prod supv
Res
Dialect coach
Supv loc mgr
Loc mgr, New Orleans
Loc mgr, Montreal
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr, New Orleans
Asst loc mgr, New Orleans
Asst loc mgr, New Orleans
Asst to the loc dept, New Orleans
Asst to the loc dept, New Orleans
Asst to the loc dept, New Orleans
Asst to the loc dept, New Orleans
Asst to Mr. Fincher
Asst to Mr. Marshall
Asst to Ms. Kennedy
Asst to Ms. Chaffin
Asst to Mr. Pitt
Asst to Ms. Blanchett
Prod coord
Prod coord-Los Angeles
Asst prod coord
Asst prod coord
Post prod consultant
Post prod coord
Prod secy
Prod secy, New Orleans
Prod controller
Prod accountant
1st asst accountant
2d asst acountant
2d asst accountant
2d asst accountant
2d asst accountant
2d asst accountant
2d asst accountant, New Orleans
Accountant asst, New Orleans
Const accountant
Const accountant
Payroll accountant
Payroll accountant
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Transportation capt, New Orleans
Picture car coord
Transportation dispatcher
Studio teacher
Marine coord
Asst marine coord
Asst marine coord
Asst marine coord
Water safety
Animals provided by
Animal wrangler
Catering
Craft service
Craft service
Craft service, New Orleans
Nolan home liaison, New Orleans
Piano coach, New Orleans
Medical coord, New Orleans
Medic, New Orleans
Medic, New Orleans
Business development prod
Stock footage res
Collaboration powered by
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst, New Orleans
Prod asst, New Orleans
Prod asst, New Orleans
Prod asst, New Orleans
Prod asst, New Orleans
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Digital Intermediate provided by
Sr DI Colorist
Sr DI prod
Col management
DI project mgr
Colorist asst
Image processing by
Lead image processing specialist
Image processing prod
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," by F. Scott Fitzgerald in Collier's (27 May 1922).
MUSIC
“When the Saints Go Marching In,” by James M. Black, performed by Doc Paulin’s Marching Band, courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Records
“We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City,” traditional, performed by Doc Paulin’s Marching Band, courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Records
“Dixie,” traditional, performed by Mickey Finn & Big Tiny Little, courtesy of GNP Crescendo
+
MUSIC
“When the Saints Go Marching In,” by James M. Black, performed by Doc Paulin’s Marching Band, courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Records
“We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City,” traditional, performed by Doc Paulin’s Marching Band, courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Records
“Dixie,” traditional, performed by Mickey Finn & Big Tiny Little, courtesy of GNP Crescendo
“Didn’t He Ramble,” by Milton Joseph Batiste, performed by Olympia Brass Band, courtesy of Mardi Gras Records
“Country Club,” “Elite Syncopations” and “The Chrysanthemum,” written & performed by Scott Joplin, courtesy of Shout! Factory, by special arrangement with Natural Energy Lab
“There’ll Come A Time (Wait and See),” written by Joe Manone & Miff Mole, performed by Frank Trumbauer and His Orchestra featuring Bix Beiderbecke, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with SONY BMG Entertainment
“Ostrich Walk,” by Edwin Edward, James La Rocca, H. N. Ragas, Anthony Sbarbaro & Larry Shields, performed by Frank Trumbauer and His Orchestra featuring Bix Beiderbecke, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with SONY BMG Music Entertainment
“Polonaise in A Flat Major, Op. 53,” by Frédéric Chopin
“Big Butter and Egg Man,” by Louis Armstrong & Percy Venable, performed by Sidney Bechet Trio, courtesy of Disques Vogue SA, Paris and SONY BMG Music Entertainment (France) SA. By arrangement with SONY BMG Music Entertainment
“Bethena (A Concert Waltz)” by Scott Joplin
“Wah Dee Dah,” by Irving Mills, J. Russel Robinson & Ned Washington, performed by Cab Calloway, courtesy of JSP Records
“Basin Street Blues,” by Spencer Williams, performed by Preservation Hall Jazz Band, courtesy of Preservation Hall Recordings by arrangement with North Star Media
“Milenberg Joys,” by Paul Mares, Walter Melrose, Ferdinand Morton & Leon Rappolo, performed by Preservation Hall Jazz Band, courtesy of Preservation Hall Recordings by arrangement with North Star Media
“That’s a Plenty,” by Ray Gilbert & Lew Pollack, performed by Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Preservation Hall Recordings by arrangement with North Star Media
“Old Spinning Wheel,” by Billy Hill, performed by Preservation Hall Jazz Band, courtesy of Preservation Hall Recordings by arrangement with North Star Media
“So Long Blues,” traditional, performed by Preservation Hall Jazz Band, courtesy of Preservation Hall Recordings by arrangement with North Star Media
“Weary Blues,” by Arthur Matthews, performed by Preservation Hall Jazz Band, courtesy of Preservation Hall Recordings by arrangement with North Star Media
“Bill Bailey (Won’t You Please Come Home),” traditional, arranged by DeDe Pierce, performed by Preservation Hall Jazz Band, courtesy of Preservation Hall Recordings by arrangement with North Star Media
“Tin Roof Blues,” by Georges Brunies, Paul Joseph Mares, Walter Melrose, Ben Pollack, Leon Rappolo & Melville Stitzel, performed by Cliff Jackson, courtesy of DA MUSIC GmbH & Co KG, Germany
“Ain’t Misbehavin’,” by Harry Brooks, Andy Razaf, & Thomas “Fats” Waller, performed by Cliff Jackson, courtesy of DA MUSIC GmbH & Co KG, Germany
“Moment Musical for Piano in F Minor,” by Franz Schubert, courtesy of The San Juan Music Group & Cleopatra Records
“Arabeske for Piano in C Major, Op. 18,” by Robert Schumann, courtesy of The San Juan Music Group & Cleopatra Records
“Out of Nowhere,” by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman, performed by Sidney Bechet, courtesy of EPM
“Dear Old Southland,” by Henry Creamer & Turner Layton, performed by Louis Armstrong, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with SONY BMG Entertainment
“Daphne,” by Jean Reinhardt, performed by Django Reinhardt, courtesy of DRG Records Incorporated Special Markets
“Carousel Ballet,” by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
“I’ll Fly Away,” by Albert E. Brumley
“Skokiaan,” by Augus Msarurgua, performed by Perez Prado & His Orchestra, courtesy of The RCA Records Label by arrangement with SONY BMG Music Entertainment
“Chasse into Chaine” (theme from “Don Sebastian” by Gaetano Donizetti), arranged & performed by Steven V. Mitchell, courtesy of Mignon Furman and Danceables Productions
“Impact Report,” by Ivor Slaney, courtesy of 5 Alarm Music
“Wish Someone Would Care,” written & performed by Irma Thomas, courtesy of Mardi Grad Records.
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SONGS
“Salve D’Amor Recinto Eletto (Dich, Teure Halle),” by Richard Wagner, performed by Orchestra Del Teatro San Carlo, Karl Bohm conducting, courtesy of Fono Enterprise s.r.l. and Opera d/Oro Records/Allegro Corporation, additional vocal by Paula Gray
“Pepsi Jingle,” written by Austen Croom Johnson & Alan Bradley Kent, courtesy of Pepsi-Cola Advertising and Marketing, Inc.
“Just As I Am,” music by William B. Bradbury, lyrics by Charlotte Elliott
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SONGS
“Salve D’Amor Recinto Eletto (Dich, Teure Halle),” by Richard Wagner, performed by Orchestra Del Teatro San Carlo, Karl Bohm conducting, courtesy of Fono Enterprise s.r.l. and Opera d/Oro Records/Allegro Corporation, additional vocal by Paula Gray
“Pepsi Jingle,” written by Austen Croom Johnson & Alan Bradley Kent, courtesy of Pepsi-Cola Advertising and Marketing, Inc.
“Just As I Am,” music by William B. Bradbury, lyrics by Charlotte Elliott
“Amazing Grace,” music traditional, lyrics by John Newton
“Dich, Teure Halle,” written by Richard Wagner, performed by Kristen Flagstad, courtesy of Simax Classics/Grappa Musikkforlag
“Wah Dee Dah,” written by Irving Mills, J. Russel Robinson & Ned Washington, performed by Cab Calloway, courtesy of JSP Records
“That’s How Rhythm Was Born,” written by Nat Burton, J. C. Jackson & George Whiting, performed by The Boswell Sisters, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with SONY BMG Music Entertainment
“Chanson Sur Staline,” written by Matvey Blanter and Alexej Surkov, performed by Choeur de la Cathedrale de la Rue Daru, Paris XVII, courtesy of EPM
“If I Could Be with You (One Hour Tonight),” written by Henry Creamer & James Johnson, performed by Louis Armstrong and His Sebastian New Cotton Club Orchestra, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with SONY BMG Music Entertainment
“My Prayer,” written by Georges Boulanger & James Kennedy, performed by The Platters, courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group under license from Universal Music Enterprises
“Manana (Is Soon Enough for Me)” written by Dave M. Barbour & Peggy Lee, performed by Peggy Lee, courtesy of Capitol Records, under license from EMI Film & Television Music
“Twist and Shout,” written by Phil Medley & Bert Russell, performed by The Beatles, courtesy of Apple Corps Limited
“I Love You,” written by Lee Bernstein, performed by Barney, courtesy of Lyons Partnership, L.P.
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DETAILS
Release Date:
25 December 2008
Premiere Information:
New York and Los Angeles openings: 25 December 2008
Production Date:
6 November 2006--early March 2007 in New Orleans
Copyright Claimants:
Paramount Pictures Corporation Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Copyright Dates:
29 December 2008 29 December 2008
Copyright Numbers:
PA1613867 PA1613867
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Digital; dts Digital Sound; SDDS Synamic Digital Sound in selected theatres
Lenses/Prints
Technicolor; deluxe
Duration(in mins):
166-167
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
44743
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 2005, as hurricane Katrina bears down on New Orleans, Caroline Williams sits in a hospital room with her elderly mother, Daisy Fuller, who is near death. Although anxious over her mother's condition, Caroline is startled when Daisy abruptly relates the tale of a renowned blind watchmaker, Monsieur Gateau, and his Creole wife, Blanche Devereux, who, in 1917, see their son Martin off to the First World War: Gateau labors many months on an enormous clock which, after news of Martin’s death, the watchmaker presents to the newly opened Canal Street train station. At the great clock’s unveiling, attended by former president Theodore Roosevelt, guests are surprised to see that the clock runs backwards. Gateau explains that the reverse movement represents his longing that they might turn back time to recover all the young lives lost during the great war. While Caroline wonders if her mother has begun hallucinating, Daisy directs her to retrieve an old diary from her suitcase and asks her daughter to read it to her. Puzzled, Caroline opens the book and finds that it begins with a will, dated April 1985, for Benjamin Button who declares that he has nothing to pass on but his life story: On Armistice Day in November 1918, Thomas Button fights his way through celebrating crowds to find his wife Caroline dying at home after giving birth to a son. Upon seeing his newborn infant, Thomas responds with revulsion and, snatching the baby, runs to the canal with the intent of drowning the child. Frightened by a policeman, Thomas wanders the streets, then finally places the baby ... +


In 2005, as hurricane Katrina bears down on New Orleans, Caroline Williams sits in a hospital room with her elderly mother, Daisy Fuller, who is near death. Although anxious over her mother's condition, Caroline is startled when Daisy abruptly relates the tale of a renowned blind watchmaker, Monsieur Gateau, and his Creole wife, Blanche Devereux, who, in 1917, see their son Martin off to the First World War: Gateau labors many months on an enormous clock which, after news of Martin’s death, the watchmaker presents to the newly opened Canal Street train station. At the great clock’s unveiling, attended by former president Theodore Roosevelt, guests are surprised to see that the clock runs backwards. Gateau explains that the reverse movement represents his longing that they might turn back time to recover all the young lives lost during the great war. While Caroline wonders if her mother has begun hallucinating, Daisy directs her to retrieve an old diary from her suitcase and asks her daughter to read it to her. Puzzled, Caroline opens the book and finds that it begins with a will, dated April 1985, for Benjamin Button who declares that he has nothing to pass on but his life story: On Armistice Day in November 1918, Thomas Button fights his way through celebrating crowds to find his wife Caroline dying at home after giving birth to a son. Upon seeing his newborn infant, Thomas responds with revulsion and, snatching the baby, runs to the canal with the intent of drowning the child. Frightened by a policeman, Thomas wanders the streets, then finally places the baby on the steps of a retirement home. Moments later, African American proprietor Queenie and her beau, Tizzy Weathers, stumble across the baby who, the startled couple finds, has the wizened body of an old man. Upon examination by a doctor later, the baby is given little chance to survive as he suffers from a variety of ailments common-place to the elderly. Undaunted, Queenie, who has never been able to conceive, decides to keep the baby, whom she christens Benjamin. Surviving infancy against the odds, Benjamin spends his early years in a wheelchair due to his age related infirmities. Unaware that he is a child, Benjamin is content to be among the elderly residents of the home, despite the constancy of death around him. When Benjamin is seven, Queenie and Tizzy take him to a revivalist meeting where, under enthusiastic admonitions from the preacher, Benjamin takes a few steps. Later, as Benjamin becomes proficient walking with a double set of canes, he meets Tizzy’s Pygmy friend, Mr. Ngunda Oti, who impresses him with stories about his nomadic life. In 1930, just after Benjamin turns twelve, resident Grandma Fuller introduces him to her seven-year-old granddaughter, Daisy who is fascinated by the peculiar old-young Benjamin. Smitten by Daisy’s dark red hair and bright blue eyes, Benjamin quickly make friends with her, but when the pair are discovered one night playing “secrets,” Grandma Fuller sends Daisy away, and scolds the confused Benjamin. A little later, Queenie proudly announces that she and Tizzy are going to have a baby, whose birth, Benjamin admits, changes his home life. Benjamin's new loneliness is softened by a friendship with incoming resident Mrs. Maple, who teaches him to play the piano. At fifteen, Benjamin realizes that his body is gradually getting younger and healthier. One afternoon, Benjamin accompanies resident Mr. Daws, who repeatedly claims to have been struck by lightening seven times, to Poverty Point harbor where they meet tug boat owner Captain Mike Clark. Believing Benjamin to be an old man, Mike playfully takes him to a brothel where Benjamin spends an enthusiastic evening. Walking home later, Benjamin meets a stranger, who, unknown to him, is his father. Thomas invites him for a drink, tells him about owning a button factory and asks if he might visit him on occasion. Soon after, Daisy resumes visiting Grandma Fuller on weekends and renews her acquaintance with Benjamin. One evening, Benjamin confides in Mrs. Maple his suspicion that he is growing younger, and she reflects that it will be difficult for Benjamin to see everyone he loves grow old and die without him. When Benjamin is taken aback, Mrs. Maple assures him that people must lose loved ones to realize their importance. In early 1936, now seventeen-year-old Benjamin signs on with Mike and his refitted boat, the Chelsea . Before he departs, Daisy tells Benjamin to write to her from all his ports-of-call. In the present, Caroline, who has been skeptical of the odd tale, finds a box in Daisy’s suitcase that holds a packet of postcards from Benjamin to Daisy from various ports throughout the world. Startled, Caroline resumes reading with more interest: During Benjamin’s years at sea, Daisy writes to him regularly, relaying her growing love of dance and eventual acceptance into a prestigious New York dance academy. While working in the northern Russian port of Murmansk one winter, the crew of the Chelsea lives in the Winter Palace hotel where Benjamin becomes intrigued by an edgy English woman, Elizabeth Abbott, whose husband Walter is the British chief trade minister and a spy. Accidentally encountering each other in the hotel lobby late one night, Benjamin and Elizabeth strike up a tentative conversation and over the next several nights meet to talk and drink tea until dawn. One evening Elizabeth introduces Benjamin to caviar and vodka and confides that at nineteen, she attempted to swim the English Channel. After failing, she never tried again, and regrets wasting her life. Soon, Benjamin and Elizabeth begin a passionate, secret affair, and Benjamin writes to Daisy that he has fallen in love. The day before America declares war on Japan, Elizabeth and Walter depart without warning or farewell. Learning that the Chelsea has been commissioned as a salvage and rescue ship for the U. S. Navy, Benjamin decides to stay on as cook. Throughout the war, Benjamin and the Chelsea ’s crew see no battles, only retrieve its wreckage. One night, the Chelsea is the first salvage boat to reach a transport ship destroyed by a submarine torpedo. When the submarine surfaces and opens fire upon the Chelsea , Mike boldly rams the craft, but his boat is demolished and he dies in Benjamin’s arms. Benjamin and one other survivor are rescued, then in May 1945, the twenty-six year old Benjamin returns home to New Orleans. Reunited with Queenie, Benjamin learns with sadness that Tizzy has died. Soon after, Daisy comes back to New Orleans and is amazed but delighted to find the physical changes in Benjamin. Although the couple shares a pleasant dinner, Benjamin is uneasy with Daisy’s casual attempt to seduce him afterward and explains that the moment is not right. After Daisy returns to New York, Benjamin receives another visit from Thomas, who confesses that he is Benjamin’s father. Apologizing for abandoning him, Thomas, who is sickly and dying, tells Benjamin about his mother Caroline and promises to leave Benjamin his house and factory. Greatly disheartened by the revelation, Benjamin returns to Queenie’s, but later, recalling advice from Mike, returns and forgives his father. After Thomas dies, Benjamin travels to New York to see Daisy, but quickly feels out of place with her and her dance co-workers, and quickly departs. In the present, Daisy confesses to Caroline that, at twenty-three, she was absorbed in her career and could not care for Benjamin. Daisy then gives Caroline photos chronicling her dance career which, Caroline is amazed to learn, included Daisy’s selection as the only American asked to dance with the Bolshoi Ballet. As the storm continues to rage, Caroline resumes reading the diary: Having continued to grow physically younger, the solitary Benjamin continues as handyman at the home for some years. Then a telegram from a friend summons him to Paris where Daisy has been struck by a car. Bitter that her crushed leg has abruptly ended her career, Daisy refuses Benjamin’s offer to take her home and sends him away. Back in New Orleans, Benjamin teaches himself to sail his father’s boat, the Button Up , and has several inconsequential romances. In 1962, Daisy returns to New Orleans and, upon reuniting with Benjamin, the couple realizes that, at nearly the same age emotionally and physically, they finally are romantically ready for each other. When Daisy joins Benjamin on an extended cruise on the Button Up down the Gulf and to Florida, Benjamin sadly reflects that, although he is happy, nothing ever lasts. Back at the retirement home in New Orleans some weeks later, Benjamin and Daisy learn that Queenie has died. Benjamin then sells his father’s house and purchases a duplex for himself and Daisy. The couple spend the next few years happily, and although Daisy briefly indulges in self-pity over aging, she recovers and opens a dance school for children. When Daisy becomes pregnant at age forty-three, Benjamin frets that the child might inherit his unique affliction, as well as the fact that he can never be a proper parent as he continues to grow younger. Soon after, Benjamin is briefly cheered when he hears a news report that the now sixty-two-year-old Elizabeth has become the oldest woman to swim the English Channel. Although Daisy goes into labor prematurely, she gives birth to a healthy daughter. In the present, as Caroline reads that they named the baby after Benjamin’s mother, she realizes with shock that Benjamin is her father. Distressed, Caroline resumes reading the diary: When their daughter is barely a year old, Benjamin insists that Daisy cannot raise them both, but Daisy remains certain they will manage together. Unconvinced, Benjamin secretly sells the summer house, the button factory and the sail boat and, leaving all the money to Daisy and Caroline, slips away one night. In the present, an angry Caroline demands to know where Benjamin went, but Daisy confesses that she does not know. In the diary, Caroline is touched to find several post cards addressed to her on her birthdays from age two to thirteen, written by Benjamin, who apologizes for not being with her. A letter to Caroline describes Benjamin’s subsequent itinerant lif. It also expresses his wish that she might have a life of which she is proud and, if not, that she have the courage to start again. Caroline returns to the diary's last pages: When Caroline is twelve, Benjamin, yearning to see his daughter once more, visits Daisy’s dance studio one night. Astonished by his youthful appearance, the now fifty-five-year-old Daisy, who has married a widower whom Caroline believes is her father, tells Benjamin that he was correct to leave them when he did. Later that night, Daisy goes to Benjamin’s hotel where they spend one last night together. After Caroline finishes the diary, Daisy relates that some years after that last encounter, she was summoned by child welfare to the retirement home where a twelve-year-old Benjamin has all the symptoms of dementia and does not recognize her. Now a widow, Daisy gradually assumes care of Benjamin and eventually moves into the home to care for him as he becomes a child, then a toddler and, finally, an infant. In 2002, the old Gateau clock is replaced with a sophisticated timepiece, and one evening the following spring, as Daisy cradles the baby Benjamin, he looks at her with seeming recognition, then dies. After Caroline sadly wishes she could have known Benjamin, a nurse calls her away to discuss the hurricane’s progress. Freed of her burden of passing on Benjamin’s legacy to his daughter, Daisy bids good-night to Benjamin and dies. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.