Welcome to the official “Herb & Dorothy” blog! We’ll be taking you behind the scenes of the inspiring follow-up film “Herb & Dorothy 50X50”, the story behind it, and how YOU, our readers can help us bring it to the big screen.
To kick off the blog, here is Megumi with “A Message from the Director”.
I never imagined my journey with HERB & DOROTHY would come this far. Seven years ago, I thought I was making a small film about two beautiful people, a postal clerk and librarian.
As it turned out, the ‘small film’ evolved into a feature length film HERB & DOROTHY (released in 2008) that won numerous festival awards, was broadcast nationally on PBS, and enjoyed a worldwide theatrical release. (The film is still being screened today.)
I am writing this from Tokyo, where the film ran for 24-weeks, screening at over 50 theaters around Japan. It’s quite an achievement in a country where movie tickets cost $20 each, and even Hollywood films struggle to bring in large audiences. I’ve been told the success of HERB & DOROTHY is rumored to be a ‘small miracle’ among the film industry here.
Tomorrow, I am heading to Taiwan to attend the film’s screening and panel discussion at Art Taipei, and am also in talks with representatives in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul. HERB & DOROTHY fever is spreading like wildfire in Asia.
With the initial success of the film following its release, I believed my role as narrator of this remarkable story had come to a close. But then, in 2008, a surprise announcement was made by the National Gallery of Art that changed everything: A gift project, Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: 50 Works For 50 States.
When I first heard about it, I didn’t believe it possible to make another film on Herb & Dorothy. To be honest, my energy and bank account had dried up. At the same time, I truly hoped someone would document this unprecedented, gigantic philanthropic project, one I felt should be engraved in the history of art in America.
So what changed my mind?
In December 2008, I visited the Indianapolis Museum of Art. They were recipients of the 50X50 gift, and the first to exhibit the Vogel Collection. Herb & Dorothy were invited to the exhibit, and I decided to film their visit (just in case). I had seen the Vogel Collection in pictures, archival footage, catalogues, but until then, had never seen a real exhibition. When I saw the show, I was moved. All the works were small in scale, and impeccably beautiful. Humble but powerful, at the same time. What a great eye Herb & Dorothy have for art, what a truly amazing collection they have built, I thought.
It was like following actors for 4 years backstage, and finally getting to see them onstage, under the bright spotlight. That was the moment when I decided to make a follow up film, now titled HERB & DOROTHY 50X50.
Besides seeing Herb & Dorothy up-close and personal over the past few years, the new film HERB & DOROTHY 50X50, will be a more in-depth look at the Vogels’ collection itself.
Again, the message is about “access to art”, and the democratic process allowing all to able to enjoy and support the arts. You’ll see how the collection built out of humble civil servants’ salaries has gone far beyond their one-bedroom apartment, and is now reaching preschoolers to seniors in art communities throughout America. Its impact is immeasurable.
I am truly honored to have the opportunity to document this historical project, traveling from museum to museum, meeting art lovers from Honolulu to Buffalo, and Fargo to Miami. I hope HERB & DOROTHY 50X50 will inspire active discussions about contemporary art, collecting, and philanthropy that will connect art communities across America and beyond. I believe the message of Herb & Dorothy is more relevant than ever, during these difficult times in which we live.
Please join us and help us spread the word, love & passion for art and the spirit of generosity!
With sincere thanks,
Megumi Sasaki (Director/Producer)