Palisadian-Post Article: Being Terry Sanders

Director, producer, writer Terry Sanders is a two-time Oscar winner who has produced and/or directed more than 70 award-winning dramatic features, theatrical documentaries, television specials and a large body of portrait films of major American artists, writers and musicians. Sanders first professional job after producing and photographing the Oscar-winning dramatic short story film, “A Time Out of War,” was directing the second unit of “Night of the Hunter” for Charles Laughton. Later he adapted “The Day Lincoln Was Shot” for CBS-TV and co-wrote the screenplay of “The Naked and the Dead” for Warner Bros. He produced and co-directed with his brother Denis the independent features “Crime and Punishment, USA” and United Artists’ “War Hunt” with Robert Redford and John Saxon.

Selected Filmography

“The Eyes of Don Bachardy” captures the fierce and passionate eye and the prolific work of one of the great portrait artists of America. The documentary short explores into the complex and mysterious relationship between artist and subject in a richly detailed, intimate and exciting journey through the creative process. (Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, 2004).

“Return With Honor,” the highly acclaimed theatrical non-fiction feature that tells the riveting story of top-gun U.S. fighter pilots shot down over North Vietnam who became POWs for up to 81/2 years. Presented by Tom Hanks, it played in theaters across America for a year and was broadcast nationally on PBS in November of 2000 and May of 2001. (Winner, Doubletake Film Festival).

“Never Give Up: The 20th Century Odyssey of Herbert Zipper,” tells the extraordinary story of Vienna-born musician and conductor Herbert Zipper who survived Dachau, Buchenwald and a Japanese concentration camp to become one of the great music educators of the world, continuing at 92 to bring music to the inner city schools of America. (Oscar nominee, Best Documentary Short, 1996 and honored with a special screening at the U.S. Holocaust Museum).

“Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision,” a portrait of the artist/architect which tells the gripping story behind the design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and its impact on the American people and on the life and work of Maya Lin in the following decade. (Oscar winner, Best Feature Documentary, 1995)

“Into the Future: On the Preservation of Knowledge in the Electronic Age,” 1998 primetime national PBS special narrated by Robert MacNeil which warns of the coming worldwide crisis in the loss of digitally stored knowledge and information.

“Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember” honors Rose Kennedy’s 100 years and her life and work in the field of mental retardation. (Oscar nominee, Best Documentary Short, 1991).

“Lillian Gish: The Actor’s Life for Me,” looks at the history of cinema through the lens of the long life of the legendary actress. (Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Informational Special, 1989).

The Kennedy Center Honors” Biographies honors individuals for lifetime achievement in the performing arts -- Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Stewart, Katherine Dunham, Virgil Thomson, Elia Kazan, and others. (Primetime Emmy, Outstanding Variety Special).

“Screenwriters: Word Into Image,” is a six part film series on the art and craft of screen writing featuring Neil Simon, Robert Towne, William Goldman, Eleanor Perry, Paul Mazursky and Carl Foreman. (Primetime Emmy Nominee, Outstanding Informational Series).

“War Hunt,” theatrical feature film starring Robert Redford and John Saxon, released by United Artists. (National Board of Review “Ten Best” List).

Crime and Punishment USA” theatrical feature film starring George Hamilton, Frank Silvera and Mary Murphy, released by Allied Artists.

“A Time Out of War,” poignant American Civil War dramatic short film based on Robert W. Chambers short story. (Oscar Winner, Best Short Film).

Sanders directed “To Live or Let Die” which explores the moral and ethical issues involved in the care of very ill newborn babies (Oscar nominee, Best Documentary Short) and produced and directed “Four Stones for Kanemitsu,” (Oscar Nominee, Best Documentary Short). He also directed the NBC special, “The Kids from Fame,” and produced and directed the high rated ABC special “The Legend of Marilyn Monroe.”

Other films produced and directed by Sanders are:

“The New Indians,” National Geographic Special narrated by Robert Redford.

“Copland Portrait” portrait of famed American composer Aaron Copland. (London Film Festival, Outstanding Film of Year)

“Slow Fires: On the Preservation of the Human Record” 1987 primetime national PBS special narrated by Robert MacNeil about the crisis facing libraries of the world because of acid contained in paper.

“Portrait of Zubin Mehta,” portrait of the famed conductor filmed in Los Angeles and Bombay.

The Japan Project: “Made in Japan” and “Made in America,” two films, hosted By Dr. Fred Notehelfer, Director of UCLA Center for Japan Studies, on Japanese business success in America and Americans doing business in Japan.

Sanders was educated at Cal Tech and UCLA Film School. He was co-founder and Associate Dean of the Film School of Cal Arts and has been a visiting professor of the graduate film school at UCLA.

Sanders is currently developing the dramatic feature film, “Tokyo Rose/American Patriot” a World War Two story about the first woman in American history to be convicted of treason and a feature documentary tentatively titled, “Fighting for Life,” the story of military medicine and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Sanders is president of American Film Foundation and a partner in Sanders & Mock Productions.
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