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The Buffalo International Film Festival : Mickey Mouse Movie Masterpieces, A Celebration of Walt Disney


The Buffalo International Film Festival and Shea’s Performing Arts Center are proud to present "Mickey Mouse Movie Masterpieces", three separate and unique screenings celebrating Walt Disney and The 80th Birthday of Mickey Mouse, the most timeless character of world cinema, on Saturday, April 4, 2009 at Shea’s Buffalo Theater. This is a benefit for many local children’s charities, Shea’s restoration efforts and BIFF.

On November 18, 1928, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon with sound, Steamboat Willie, premiered in New York City. The world was never the same again. A tiny, singing, dancing mouse went on to become the most enduring and beloved movie character of all time: a timeless, ageless being. As Walt Disney himself said, "It all started with a mouse."

This extraordinary event is unique in the whole world and will never be repeated. It is the only authorized Birthday Party for this wonderful occasion. Shea’s and BIFF are thrilled to bring it exclusively to the residents of Western New York. Anyone within walking, running, driving, or flying distance should get themselves there!


Together, the screenings will tell the story of how Walt Disney and his partner Ub Iwerks were facing bankruptcy when their successful character Oswald the Rabbit was taken away from them. In a moment of inspiration, followed by desperate labor, Mickey Mouse was born and serendipitously found his voice at the same time.

Mickey’s Birthday Party will also pay tribute to Ralph Kent (aka Kwiatkowski), a Buffalo, NY boy who became "The Keeper of the Mouse, " the studio’s official artist for likenesses of Mickey.

The event will also include the history of Pat Powers, a Buffalo native, who provided Powers Cinephone to the Disney Brothers and made Mickey’s "talking" debut possible.

The Program Book includes special messages to Buffalo, NY from Leonard Maltin (the host of all the Walt Disney Treasures DVD Sets and Entertainment Tonight’s film critic), Brad Bird (Pixar’s Director of Ratatouille and The Incredibles), Don Hahn (Producer of Fantasia 2000 and Beauty and The Beast), John Canemaker (Academy-Award Winning Author of many Disney books), and Maurice Sendak (author of Where the Wild Things Are, and the best-known living, children’s book author in the world).

Mr. Sendak, it is worth noting, was born the same year as Mickey, 1928, and considers him his hero. He has also visited Buffalo, NY in the past and thinks it is one of the most beautiful cities in the country.


Mike Iwerks of Disney Imagineering and great-grandson of Ub Iwerks, the man who drew the very first Mickey Mouse cartoons, will introduce The Hand Behind the Mouse, a documentary made by his cousin Leslie Iwerks as a tribute to Ub and Walt.

J.B. Kaufman, author of Walt in Wonderland, Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonys, Walt in South America and a forthcoming book on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is a film historian on the staff of the Walt Disney Family Foundation who is working on the new Disney Family Museum which will open in 2009. Mr. Kaufman is also an expert on early Mickey Mouse.

Edward Summer wrote screenplays for Mickey Mouse at The Walt Disney Company. He is also President of The Buffalo International Film Festival.

All three will introduce the screenings and, at the 2:30 show, explain the significance of each of the wonderful short films in the program. There will be "Talk-Back" sessions after each screening in The Smith Theater adjacent to the Shea’s.


The dozen films to be shown — which include Steamboat Willie (1928) and Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940) — are extremely rare 35mm prints directly from the Disney Archive. There will be three separate movie screenings of completely different film programs on the huge Shea’s screen using authentic carbon-arc projection just as the films would have been shown 80 years ago. Those who have seen some of these films on television will be astounded at how they look — huge — as they were meant to be seen. The two silent films, Alice’s Wild West Show (1924) and Oswald the Rabbit in "All Wet" (1927), will be accompanied live on the Shea’s Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. A complete list is below.

, Saturday, April 4, 2009

Introduced by Mike Iwerks of Disney Imagineering and also Ub Iwerk’s great-grandson,

this award-winning feature-length documentary tells the story of Ub Iwerks, who designed Mickey Mouse in collaboration with Walt Disney who was his hometown friend. The screening also includes: The Skeleton Dance (1929) (the first Silly Symphony cartoon) and Jack Frost (1934), (a rare, CineColor, Iwerks/Powers cartoon supplied by the Academy Archive). All are 35mm prints.

2:30 p.m. MICKEY MOUSE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY, Featuring 10 ORIGINAL Mickey Mouse cartoons in 35mm prints direct from the "Disney Vault."

Introduced by J.B. Kaufman, Historian, Walt Disney Family Museum and Edward Summer, Mickey Mouse Screenwriter.

ALICE’S WILD WEST SHOW (1924) with Live Wurlitzer Organ!

OSWALD THE RABBIT: ALL WET (1927) with Live Wurlitzer Organ!

PLANE CRAZY (1928) – The First Mickey Cartoon animated almost single-handed by Ub Iwerks, but not released until after Steamboat Willie.

GALLOPIN’ GAUCHO (1928), the 2nd Mickey cartoon (also released after Steamboat Willie).

STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928) The first Sound Cartoon featuring Mickey and his public debut.


THE BAND CONCERT (1935) – The First Technicolor Mickey


THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE (1940) from Fantasia



The original, uncut Roadshow Version unseen in any theater since 1990.

Introduced by J.B. Kaufman, Historian, Walt Disney Family Museum
and Edward Summer, Mickey Mouse Screenwriter.

Guests include J.B. Kaufman, Mike Iwerks and Edward Summer.

Sponsors include: Villa Maria College Animation Program, Drama Lighting, The Mansion on Delaware, Semanchin and Wetter, ScottAlexanderWood Design, Steven Kerr Design

Prices are: $20 adult; $15 student (with ID) $10 children 12 and under) for Fantasia and the Birthday Party. The Hand Behind the Mouse is $5.00 for all seats. Special combination tickets for admission to all afternoon events are $35 adult, $25 student, $15 children. VIP Tickets, which include special "Talk Back" sessions with the Disney guests, All-Day passes, and reserved seating, are $75.

Tickets are on sale now and are available by calling Ticketmaster at (716) 852-5000, online at and at Shea’s Ticket Office, 650 Main Street. For information, go to , or call 847-0850.

See also:
From Concept to Installation:The Wild Ride of Special Venue Media Production

Disney offers voluntary buyouts to 600 executives
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Teams Up with Verizon to Bring Mobile Magic to U.S. Parks
Toy Story Mania! Launches With Four Dimensions of Fun and a Big Boost from Buzz at Disneyland Resort

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