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With Ricky Jay, Shane Mahan and Michael Weber

“I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians.” – Francis Ford Coppola

JFK“Like Magic” will explore cinema’s roots in stage magic and sleight of hand, examining how the basic principles of visual deception were critical to the development of special effects-driven “movie magic.” Not only are these principles just as important today, much of the early film technology that employed them remains just as effective as ever.

Using scenes from films including Georges Méliès’s “The Magician” (1898), Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast” (1946), Francis Ford Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992), Neil Burger’s “The Illusionist” (2006) and Rupert Sanders’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012), the program will show how some of the techniques used in the earliest “trick films,” such as trick perspective, cuts, dissolves and multiple exposures, are still used by filmmakers in the digital age. The night will include live demonstrations and conversations with some of the films' creative teams who will reveal how many of these scenes were created.

Considered one of the world's great sleight of hand artists, Ricky Jay's career levitates between the worlds of magic and the movies. As an actor, he has appeared in a score of films by directors such as David Mamet, Gus Van Sant, Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson. With his partner Michael Weber, he founded the consulting company Deceptive Practices which has lent its expertise to such films as “The Escape Artist” (1982), “The Natural” (1984), “House of Games” (1987), “The Prestige” (2006), and “Ocean’s Thirteen” (2007). He is the author of more than a half dozen books and the subject of a new documentary, “Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay.”

Shane Mahan has created, coordinated or supervised effects on such films as “Aliens” (1986), “Jurassic Park” (1993) and “Galaxy Quest” (1999). He earned an Oscar nomination for Visual Effects for his work on the physical suits for “Iron Man” (2008). Along with Lindsay MacGowan, John Rosengrant and Alan Scott, Mahan founded Legacy Effects, which has contributed effects to “Real Steel” (2011), “Life of Pi” (2012), “Pacific Rim” (2013) and many other feature films.

Sought equally for his specialized problem-solving skills and his story-telling abilities, Michael Weber has engineered illusions for both stage and screen. His work can be seen in “The Serpent and the Rainbow” (1988), “Forrest Gump” (1994), “Congo” (1995), “The Fountain” (2006), and “The Illusionist” (2006) among many others. Weber and his co-conspirator Ricky Jay founded the consulting company Deceptive Practices which provides "Arcane Knowledge on a Need-To-Know Basis” to film, theater and television. They are currently working with composer Stephen Schwartz on the upcoming Broadway musical HOUDINI, starring Hugh Jackman.

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Event Information

Wednesday, November 20, 7:30 p.m.
Samuel Goldwyn Theater
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
General admission seating is unreserved.
$5 general admission/$3 Academy members and students with a valid ID.
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