Celebrities, historians, filmmakers, and activists came to The Paley Center for Media on Thursday to attend a private premiere screening of the upcoming PBS film “American Masters: The Boomer List.” The star-studded event was an intimate celebration of the baby boomer generation – those born between 1946 and 1964.
“The Boomer List” features interviews with 19 cultural influencers – one born each year of the baby boom – and vivifies their coming of age. Some of the film’s stars attended the premiere, including award-winning actress Kim Cattrall of “Sex in the City” fame, actor and producer John Leguizamo, historian and “TheHistoryMakers” founder Julieanna Richardson, and AIDS activist Peter Staley. Models Tyson Beckford and Alex Lundqvist, “American Masters” Executive Producer Michael Kantor, AARP Media Editorial Director Myrna Blyth, WNET President and CEO Neal Shapiro, and many other notables were also in attendance.
Filmmaker and photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (“The Black List,” “The Latino List,” “The Out List”) brought “The Boomer List” to life, and artfully depicted both his subjects’ struggles and achievements. Greenfield-Sanders revealed why the 2014 release of “The Boomer List” is perfect timing.
“I liked the idea that 2014 was the year that the last of the boomers would turned 50,” he told PBS last week. “It’s also the perfect time because everyone still looks good… [and are still] on top of it. They’re still part of the dialectic. They’re still contributing.”
In an exclusive interview, Kim Cattrall discussed what she hopes younger generations will glean from the film.
“I hope what they’ll get is very individual points of view about a time in our history that changed the world,” she told yeahstub.com. “But every generation does at some point… so this is a look back. A personal look back.”
John Leguizamo also described the significant impact of the post-World War II generation.
“The boomers contributed a lot to America and the success of the world,” he told yeahstub.com. “[They] made big differences in politics, medicine, literature… they were contributors to much of our culture.
“There was a big expectation on them; they were supposed to be better,” Leguizamo explained. “They had bigger opportunities, more money… they had a lot of resources that nobody else has ever had in the history of the country.”
American and international musical culture were also substantially impacted by the boomers.
“I went to Michael Jackson concerts when I was young,” Peter Staley shared. “Billy Joel was huge; Bruce Springsteen was just hitting the scene back then… Those are the icons of my period that I still listen to.”
Julieanna Richardson said that the boomers felt unstoppable.
“It was coming at the end of a very conservative period, and then they broke out like society hadn’t seen before in a long time,” she told yeahstub.com. “We felt that we could rule the world.”
“American Masters: The Boomer List” will air Sept. 23 from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET on PBS.
The 19 boomers appearing in the film are:
1946 Tim O’Brien, Vietnam vet / author
1947 Deepak Chopra, M.D., New Age guru
1948 Samuel L. Jackson, actor
1949 Billy Joel, singer-songwriter
1950 Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple Computer
1951 Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer
1952 Amy Tan, author
1953 Eve Ensler, playwright
1954 Julieanna Richardson, historian and founder, The HistoryMakers
1955 Maria Shriver, journalist
1956 Kim Cattrall, actor
1957 Virginia Rometty, CEO, IBM
1958 Ellen Ochoa, Director, Johnson Space Center
1959 Ronnie Lott, athlete
1960 Erin Brockovich, environmentalist
1961 Peter Staley, AIDS activist
1962 Rosie O’Donnell, entertainer
1963 David LaChapelle, artist
1964 John Leguizamo, actor