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The Men Behind the Magic

Arthur L. Bernstein and Armando Gutierrez are men of many talents in the film and television industry.  Combined, their credits include acting in film, theatre and television, cinematography, editing, casting, animation, production design, production management, crew, writing, directing and producing. But it’s behind the camera, writing, directing and producing where Bernstein and Gutierrez hit their stride.

They are passionate about film. Gutierrez received his Bachelor Degree in Business from the University of Miami.  After earning a Master’s Degree from Harvard University, he went on to study acting at the Guildhall School in London, which landed him an upcoming role in the Sam Heughen movie, When the Starlight Ends. Ever since Bernstein received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Motion Picture and Theatre Production at the University of Miami in Florida, he has enjoyed delving into a character’s psyche and the choices they make that change the course of their lives.  It’s no wonder then that his latest endeavor is an independent film about the early years of Walt Disney called Walt Before Mickey, based on a book of the same name by Timothy S. Susanin.

“No one had ever done a movie about Walt’s early years.  We wanted to show the man behind the magic.  We want people to see that he is more than movies and theme parks.  Walt was a man who came from meager beginnings and truly lived the American Dream, and built a kingdom from that dream,” Bernstein explains.  The film chronicles the life of Walter (Walt) Elias Disney from his childhood in Missouri to his start as an animator.  Bernstein and Gutierrez, the men behind the magic of this epic film, wrote and produced Walt Before Mickey.

Walt Before Mickey is directed by Khoa Le and has a stellar cast that includes Thomas Ian Nicolas (American Pie) as Walt, John Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) as Walt’s brother Roy, David Henrie (Wizards of Waverly Place) as Rudy Ising, Jodie Sweeting (Full House) as Charlotte Disney, Taylor Gray as Friz Freleng and Academy nominee Hunter Gomez (National Treasure) as Hugh Harmon. Bernstein also appears in the film, playing Frank L. Newman who was the first to give Disney  the opportunity to present his animation on the big screen through his theater and film studio Newman Laugh–O–Gram Films.  Gutierrez portrays the Disney legend, Ub Iwerks who helped co-create Mickey Mouse.

Walt Disney’s daughter, the late Diane Disney Miller, wrote the forward to Susanin’s book and was actively involved in the process of making the film until her death. Bernstein and Gutierrez dedicate the movie to her memory.

The world premier of Walt Before Mickey was the featured film on opening night at The Skyway Film Festival, which ran from June 12 – 14 in Brandenton, Florida.  “There isn’t a better film for Opening Night to kick off our inaugural film festival – a story that follows the origins of Walt Disney, one of the most impactful entertainment pioneers in the history of film, “ said Jose Restaino, Artistic Director of Skyway Film Festival.

arthurYou can look forward to more from this magical producing duo Bernstein & Gutierrez.  They are currently working on a new project titled Gehrig.  The company has retained the rights to the New York Times best selling book Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man by Jonathan Eig.  The film will be produced by Michael Uslan (Batman vs Superman, Lego Movie), David Uslan and Robert Molloy Steinbrenner. Attached to direct is Jay Russell (Ladder 49).  The book is the definitive account of the life and tragic death of baseball legend Lou Gehrig.  The film will delve into Gehrig’s life which was more complicated – and perhaps more heroic – than anyone really knew.

Visit the official site for Walt Before Mickey: http://waltbeforemickey.com/

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