Buddy: About The filmmakers

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CAROLINE THOMPSON (Director/Writer) has gained the attention of both the press and media as a vividly talented artist with a very particular vision that has resulted in a non-stop series of motion picture hits.

Born and raised outside Washington, D.C., Thompson is the daughter of a lawyer and a teacher. After attending Harvard University and graduating from Amherst College with a degree in English and Classics, she moved to Los Angeles, California.

She proceeded to script Edward Scissorhands, the gothic fairy tale which starred Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder, and was directed by Tim Burton. The film became one of the biggest critical and box-office successes of 1990. Thompson then co-wrote The Addams Family, another smash hit, which revived the television show for a new generation of filmgoers.

Subsequently, Thompson wrote Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Her screen adaptation of The Secret Garden, directed in England by Agnieszka Holland, became an instant family film classic.

Next, Thompson scripted the highly imaginative and acclaimed stop-motion animated film Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.

She made her directorial debut on the handsome feature film Black Beauty, which she also wrote.

FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA (Executive Producer) was born in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in Queens, New York. As a young boy he turned out 8mm features edited from home movies with such titles as The Rich Millionaire and The Lost Wallet. A bout with polio left him almost paralyzed for a year at age nine -- and bedridden, he developed an interest in comic books, puppetry, ventriloquism and television. The son of composer and musician Carmine Coppola, young Francis was trained for a career in music and became so proficient on the tuba that he won a musical scholarship to the New York Military Academy.

Coppola's early interest in the arts led to a major in theatre at New York's Hofstra University and an MFA in film from UCLA. Coppola entered Hoffstra University in 1955 where he tackled the arts vigorously both in and out of the classroom. He was elected president of The Green Wig, the university's drama group, and the Kaleidoscopians, its musical comedy club, and then merged the two into The Spectrum Players. Under his leadership, they staged a new production each week. Coppola also founded the cinema workshop at Hofstra, contributed to the campus literary magazine, won three D.H. Lawrence Awards for theatrical production and direction, and received the Beckerman Award for his outstanding contributions to the school's theatre arts division.

After earning his B.A. in theatre arts in 1959, Coppola enrolled at UCLA for graduate work in film. While there, he worked as an all purpose assistant to Roger Corman on a variety of modestly-budgeted but lucrative films. Coppola then wrote an English-language version of a Russian science-fiction movie, transforming it into a monster feature that American International released in 1963 as Battle Beyond the Sun. Impressed by the 24 year-old's adaptability and perseverance, Corman made Coppola the dialogue director on The Tower of London (1962), sound man for The Young Racers (1963) and associate producer of The Terror (1964).

While on location in Ireland for The Young Racers, Coppola proposed an idea that appealed to Corman's passion for thrift. On a budget of a fistful of dollars, Coppola directed in a period of just three days, Dementia 13, his first feature from his own original screenplay. Somewhat superior to the run-of-the-mill exploitation films being turned out at that time, the film recouped its shoestring expenses and went on to become a minor cult film among horror buffs. It was on the set of Dementia 13 that Coppola met Eleanor Neil, who would later become his wife, author of Notes, and director of Apocalypse Now documentary footage used in Hearts of Darkness, A FilmmakerÕs Apocalypse.

When he won the annual Samuel Goldwyn Award for the best screenplay, Pilma, Pilma, written by a UCLA student, Seven Arts hired Coppola to adapt the late Carson McCuller's novel Reflections in a Golden Eye as a vehicle for Marlon Brando. This led him to assignment on Patton (with Edmund H. North), the film for which he won an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. During the next four years, Coppola was involved with further production work and script collaborations, including writing an adaptation of This Property is Condemned by Tennessee Williams (with Fred Coe and Edith Sommer), and a screenplay for Is Paris Burning? (with Gore Vidal).

In 1966 Coppola directed his second film You're a Big Boy Now, which brought him critical acclaim and a Master of Fine Arts Degree. He then directed the motion picture adaptation of the Broadway musical Finian's Rainbow, followed by another original work, The Rain People, grand prize winner at the 1970 San Sebastian International Film Festival.

In 1969 Coppola and George Lucas established American Zoetrope, an independent film production company based in San Francisco. The establishment of American Zoetrope created opportunities for other filmmakers, including John Milius, Carroll Ballard and John Korty. At Zoetrope, Coppola produced THX-1138 and American Graffiti, directed by Lucas. American Graffiti received five Academy Award nominations including Best Picture.

In 1971 Coppola's film The Godfather became one of the highest-grossing movies in history, and brought him an Oscar for writing the screenplay with Mario Puzo. The film received an Academy Award for Best Picture, and a Best Director nomination. Coppola's next film, The Conversation (1974) was honored with the Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Also in 1974, Coppola wrote the screenplay for The Great Gatsby, and The Godfather Part II was released. This rivaled its predecessor as a high-grosser at the box office and won six Academy Awards. Coppola won Oscars as the Best Producer, Director and Writer. No sequel before or since has ever been so honored.

Coppola then began his most ambitious film, Apocalypse Now. This acclaimed movie won a Golden Palm Award from the Cannes Film Festival and two Academy Awards. He was nominated for producer, director and writing Oscars. In 1979, Coppola executive produced the hit The Black Stallion.

During the 1980s, Coppola directed and co-wrote One From the Heart, produced and directed The Outsiders, produced, directed and co-wrote Rumble Fish and The Cotton Club, directed Peggy Sue Got Married, executive produced and directed Gardens of Stone, and directed Tucker: The Man and his Dream. The Godfather Part III was released on Christmas Day 1990.

With George Lucas, Coppola executive produced Kagemusha, directed by Akira Kurosawa, and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, directed by Paul Schraeder and based on the life and writings of Yukio Mishima. Coppola also executive produced The Escape Artist, Hammett, The Black Stallion Returns, Barfly, Lionheart, Tough Guys Don't Dance and Wind.

Coppola recently directed Bram Stoker's Dracula and was the executive producer of The Secret Garden. He also produced Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and executive produced Don Juan De Marco and My Family/Mi Familia, directed by Gregory Nava. Most recently, Coppola directed Jack starring Robin Williams.

He will next direct The Rainmaker.

BRIAN HENSON (Executive Producer) is President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Jim Henson Productions. Based in Los Angeles, he was named to his current position in 1990 after the sudden death of his father, Jim Henson. In addition to his corporate position with the company, Mr. Henson continues to work as a top director, producer and puppeteer.

As a director, Mr. Henson's credits include the hit feature films Muppet Treasure Island (1996) and The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992). He also served as second unit director and puppeteer on the popular movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989). In the realm of television, he has directed episodes of Dinosaurs and The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, as well as the ACE Award-winning children's series, Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories, which earned him an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Directing in a Children's Program."

Mr. Henson most recently served as executive producer on two primetime television projects, Muppets Tonight for ABC Television and The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss for Nickelodeon. His other credits as an executive producer include Gulliver's Travels, the hit NBC mini-series which was produced in association with RHI Entertainment, Inc.; Jim Henson's Animal Show with Stinky and Jake, a pre-school series which aired on Fox Children's Network; Jim Henson's Secret Life of Toys, which aired on The Disney Channel; Dinosaurs, which ran for four seasons in primetime on ABC Television; and Jim Henson Video's direct-to-video production, Muppet Classic Theater, which was released in 1994.

Recognized as a top puppeteer, Mr. Henson most recently puppeteered a number of characters on the ABC Television series, Muppets Tonight. His other puppetry work in television includes performing in and coordinating the crew of puppeteers for the company's Emmy Award-winning series, The Storyteller and Greek Myths. In film, he has led puppeteer teams in such movies as the Jim Henson/Nicholas Roeg film, The Witches (1990); the fantasy film Labyrinth (1986); and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984). Outside of the company, he co-supervised the crew of 40 performers used to manipulate the giant man-eating plant, Audrey II, in the film Little Shop of Horrors (1986), and accepted puppetry and special effects assignments in Return to Oz and Santa Claus: The Movie.

STEPHANIE ALLAIN (Executive Producer) is President of Production for Jim Henson Pictures. In her post, she heads up the new film venture, created jointly with Jim Henson Productions and Sony Pictures Entertainment, and is responsible for realizing a slate of ten to fifteen films over the next five years.

Previously, Allain was Senior Vice President Production of Columbia Pictures. She joined Columbia as a story analyst in 1988 and was promoted to a newly created position of Creative Executive the following year. In 1990, Allain was moved up to the post of Vice President, where she supervised Boyz N the Hood, Mo Money, El Mariachi, I Like It Like That and Poetic Justice. In 1994 she was elevated to Senior Vice President. Films completed under her tenure include Higher Learning, Desperado and The Craft.

Prior to Columbia, Allain worked as a story analyst at Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox and Creative Artists Agency. She also worked as a book editor for L/A House Editorial, Inc., as Associate Editor of San Francisco Review of Books and as a staff writer of San Francisco Ballet Magazine.

Allain is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in literature from University of California, Santa Cruz, and completed the California Institute of the Arts' Dance Program.

Animatronics -- or the art of bringing inanimate objects to life through cable control, remote control and hand puppetry -- is the specialty of Jim Henson's Creature Shop, one of the foremost design, manufacturing and performance facilities in the entertainment industry. In addition to its extensive experience in animatronics and puppetry, the Shop is recognized for its quality work in the areas of art direction, model making, set design, costume design and prosthetic makeup, all in a wide variety of styles from caricature to complete realism. With locations in London and Los Angeles, the Creature Shop has produced complicated animatronics and prosthetics for a number of film and television productions, including such features as Labyrinth, The Witches, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Dreamchild, The Bear, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I & II, The Flintstones, The Indian in the Cupboard, Mary Reilly, Cutthroat Island, Babe (for which Jim Henson's Creature Shop received a 1996 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects), The Adventures of Pinocchio, 101 Dalmatians, The English Patient and the soon-to-be-released Buddy and George of the Jungle.

Since its inception in 1979, the Creature Shop has been at the forefront of technological achievement. In 1991, the Henson Performance Control System, a state-of-the-art computerized system combined with mechanical devices to create more realistic animatronic movements, was awarded a special Academy Award for Science and Engineering from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Creature Shop recently developed its own unique Computer Graphic Imaging System that marries computer-animated characters with animatronics. Jim Henson's Creature Shop is a division of Jim Henson Productions.

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