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Retro Cinema – Onward & Upward

Retro Cinema – Onward & Upward

Michael Wiese was responsible for bringing me into the world of book publishing. My first two books, The Encyclopedia of Underground Movies (20040 and Independent Film Distribution (2006), were published by his company Michael Wiese Productions.

Strangely, I am nowhere to be found in Wiese’s new memoir, Onward & Upward. But considering the cast of larger than life characters that Wiese included in this work – including George Lucas, Shirley MacLaine, Buckminster Fuller, Don King, Joseph Campbell, Haskell Wexler, Michael Nesmith and Hiroshi Teshigahara – I can understand how I somehow got left off the guest list.

But even if I didn’t know Michael, I would still be enthralled by his fascinating journey through independent filmmaking, the dawn of the home video market and the creation of a publishing company focused exclusively on books related to the film business. If anything, Michael is the most eclectic individual imaginable, with talents ranging from the creation of the cult classic short film Hardware Wars to a long-running effort to make a film version of one of the greatest books in Japanese literature, Kobo Abe’s Inter Ice Age 4. He is also one of the bravest men in the entertainment world, taking on the deep-pocketed Cattlemen’s Association when it attempted to stop the PBS broadcast of his documentary Diet for a New America.

Onward & Upward also looks into Michael’s spiritual and emotional evolution over the years, as his travels took him to multiple continents and new cultural experiences. The book’s also deals with his ongoing fight against Parkinson’s Disease, which Michael is challenging with the same energy and imagination that he has brought to every difficult project that he’s faced.

If you love movies and you love life, this is the book for you!

Onward & Upward is now on Amazon and other online retail sites.


Phil Hall Phil Hall has enjoyed a three-decade career in the film industry as a journalist, critic, publicist, distributor, festival programmer and actor. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Wired, American Movie Classics Magazine and Film Threat. He is the author of seven books, including "The History of Independent Cinema," "The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time" and "In Search of Lost Films."


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