Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will examine the technology behind "It's a Wonderful Life" at Los Angeles and New York City screenings on Friday, December 9, and Monday, December 12, respectively. Hosted by Oscar®-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron and Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt, the programs will explore studio production methods of the era, the use of matte paintings in key scenes, and the origins of the film's sound effects. Both programs will begin at 7 p.m.
"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) is 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, Best Actor (James Stewart), Directing (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 the film won an Academy Technical Achievement Award in 1948. Synthetic snow replaced bleached cornflakes, the previous method of simulating falling snow in movies.