Santa Barbara residents are invited to hear Walt Disney documentarian and Fielding Graduate University faculty member Jean-Pierre Isbouts shed light on the storied and often surprising life of Disney’s founder, illustrated with excerpts from the acclaimed film Walt: The Man Behind the Myth at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Hotel, 633 E. Cabrillo Boulevard.
Fifty years after his death, Walt Disney remains one of the most celebrated — and misunderstood — figures in popular culture.
Narrated by Dick Van Dyke and featuring interviews with luminary Ray Bradbury; stars like Robert Stack, Buddy Ebsen and Fess Parker; and animators who worked on the classic films Snow White,Pinocchio and Fantasia, the film takes an unflinching look at the man behind the world’s greatest entertainment empire.
“He was an ordinary Midwestern guy doing extraordinary things with extraordinary talent,” says Isbouts.
Between clips, he’ll share insider stories gleaned while working on the film.
“Politically, Walt was a conservative who testified at the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings,” he says. “But from a social justice perspective, he was one of the first to hire African-American animators and to approach his workers on an equal level. These days, there are dozens of layers between the president of a studio and the worker bees — but Walt would sit with his animators and sketch.”
Isbouts teaches media and humanities at Fielding Graduate University and his public talk is part of Fielding’s winter session, when graduate students from across the country convene on the DoubleTree for seminars and workshops in media psychology, human and organizational development and more.
“Disney had a very novel way of creating an organization where people can not only produce and create but innovate,” Isbouts says. “If you don’t innovate in the 21st century, you’re going to die. You must constantly reinvent yourself, and Walt Disney is a magnificent case study of doing just that.”
Seating is limited, so all guests should arrive at the event by 6:45 p.m.