Presented By:Rachel Grady
In the 1970s, network television dominated American culture in a way that is hard to imagine today, and will likely never be repeated. Hit television series could attract 20 to 30 million households weekly. Norman Lear had more hit series than anyone—All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, and The Jeffersons, to name a few—and he did something remarkable with this power: he got people to laugh at themselves and, lovingly, at people not at all like themselves.
This documentary, the opening night selection at this year's Sundance, chronicles Lear’s amazing ability to navigate the obstacles of corporate caution in our most highly regulated art form. He created shows that week after week, year after year, drew huge audiences and challenged conventional wisdom.
As he accumulated great wealth, Norman Lear used that power to honor and explore American history, buying a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence and touring it so every American had a chance to see it, and funding People for the American Way as an antidote to the newly politicized religious right. (Jed Dietz)
Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing are Oscar-nominated filmmakers who combine great artistic skill with an unerring instinct for fascinating material. Their films include The Boys of Baraka (MDFF 2005), Jesus Camp (2006), 12th & Delaware (MDFF 2010), Detropia (MDFF 2012), and last year's documentary about Baltimore’s Taharka Brothers Ice Cream, A Dream Preferred.