An illustration in the Smithsonian. A cover for TIME. Thirty-seven celebrated TV Guide covers. Iconic album and concert illustrations. Portraits of such legendary personalities as Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, and Barbra Streisand. Posters for Hello Dolly!, The Sting, Chinatown, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Murder on the Orient Express, Flash Gordon, The Dark Crystal, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and, most famously, two posters for Raiders of the Lost Ark – named "The Greatest Hand-Drawn Movie Poster of all time" by Total Film in 2011.
RICHARD AMSEL accomplished these within just sixteen years. One of the most prolific and popular American illustrators of the 1970s and 1980s, he remains a titanic figure in the world of entertainment art – one whose work has inspired generations of illustrators, and continues to be enjoyed by millions of art and film lovers around the world.
Sadly, Amsel’s life and career were all too brief – cut short by AIDS in November, 1985, weeks before his thirty-eighth birthday. Yet while Amsel's death may have been tragic, his life assuredly was not.
AMSEL: ILLUSTRATOR OF THE LOST ART presents the first in-depth profile of this legendary illustrator, detailing the artist’s remarkable body of work, while chronicling an enigmatic life marked with heartbreak and hardships, celebrity friendships, and a creative genius that ended long before its time.
But this is not just a documentary about a movie poster artist. It is a human story of an artistic savant who achieved his first extraordinary success at the age of 21…while facing personal struggles because he was gay. It is a time capsule of New York’s gay culture in the seventies…and the onslaught of AIDS in the eighties. It is a reconstruction of a fractured life story, told through personal recollections of those who knew Amsel best…or thought they did.
Made through an exclusive agreement with the Richard Amsel estate, this project has fiscal sponsorship for 501(c)(3) non-profit status through Fractured Atlas, a New York based arts service organization legally registered as a charity to fundraise throughout the United States. Donations to the documentary are fully tax-deductible where applicable by law.
Following more than fifteen years of extensive research into Richard Amsel's life and creative oeuvre, the aim of the documentary is to celebrate Amsel’s work, preserve his creative legacy, and shed light on a life that was every bit as colorful and wondrous as the art he created. We want audiences to know about the great work that was, and the magnificent work that should have been.
Filmmaker Adam McDaniel has traveled extensively throughout the United States, conducting over 60 interviews with Amsel’s friends and family, colleagues, classmates, teachers, and art collectors, as well as new generations of artists who Amsel inspired.
McDaniel is also developing an extensive retrospective book on Richard Amsel’s work and career, featuring selections from the hundreds of images he has collected over the years, including many that have never before been published. Some of these images have been painstakingly digitally cleaned, color-corrected and restored, allowing the artist’s most iconic works to be seen in a new and improved light.
The Teaser Trailer
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AMSEL: ILLUSTRATOR OF THE LOST ART is a sponsored project of FRACTURED ATLAS, a non-profit 501(c)(3) arts service organization legally registered as a charity to fundraise throughout the United States. Donations to the documentary are fully tax-deductible where applicable by law.
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If you knew Richard Amsel, collect any of his original works, or were inspired by him, we’d like to invite you to be a part of our project. This documentary is ever-evolving, with interviews planned throughout the United States over the next year. If you wish to participate, please CONTACT US! We look forward to hearing from you!