Presented by the Academy's Science and Technology Council

Making the Holiday Classic "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946)

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Hosted by Craig Barron and Ben Burtt

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS FRANK CAPRA III AND OSCAR-WINNING SPECIAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR JOHN FRAZIER ("SPIDER-MAN 2")

Featured a newly struck print from the Academy Film Archive

An evening exploring the technology behind a beloved holiday classic.

A fresh new take on a familiar film! Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron and Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt revealed the unique photographic and sound effects used in creating Frank Capra’s quintessential holiday favorite "It’s a Wonderful Life." The program examined classic studio production methods, the use of matte paintings in key scenes, and the origins of the film’s sound effects, followed by a big-screen presentation of a newly struck print.

"It’s a Wonderful Life" was one of only two motion pictures produced by Liberty Films, the independent company Frank Capra and Samuel J. Briskin created in 1945. Although the film performed only modestly at the box office when it was first released, it went on to earn five Oscar nominations including Best Motion Picture. It also garnered nominations for Best Actor (James Stewart), Directing (Frank Capra), Film Editing (William Hornbeck) and Sound Recording (RKO Radio Studio Sound Department, John Aalberg, sound director).

The inventors of the snow machine that made its debut with this film won a Technical Achievement Award in 1948. The synthetic snow replaced bleached cornflakes, the previous method of simulating falling snow in movies.

Event Information

December 9, 2011
Linwood Dunn Theater
Don't Show Again