Private Project

Richard Wilbur and the Things of This World - 3 Episodes

A documentary about the second U.S. Poet Laureate featuring interviews with Donald Hall, Stephen Sondheim, Brian Bedford, Austin Pendleton, Rhina P. Espaillat, Dana Gioia and Wilbur in the last five years of his life. A meditation on mortality, love and loss. A masterclass in creativity, poetry, humanity and how to conduct one’s life with dignity and grace. The non-traditional running time has been extolled by former Emmy-winning ABC journalist, Bill Blakemore, as integral to the film’s power.

  • Ralph Hammann
  • Ralph Hammann
  • Ralph Hammann
  • Richard Wilbur
    Key Cast
    2nd Poet Laureate of the United States, winner of 2 Pulitzer Prizes, etc.
  • Stephen Sondheim
    Key Cast
    Sweeney Todd, Gypsy, A Little Night Music, West Side Story, The Last of Sheila, etc.
  • Dana Gioia
    Key Cast
    Former Chair of the NEA, award-winning poet
  • Rhina P. Espaillat
    Key Cast
    Award-winning Poet
  • Austin Pendleton
    Key Cast
    My Cousin Vinny, The Muppet Movie, Finding Nemo, Simon, Catch 22, What’s Up Doc?, The Front Page, Starting Over, Oz, etc.
  • Brian Bedford
    Key Cast
    Tony-winning actor, Grand Prix, Nixon, The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Donald Hall
    Key Cast
    14th U.S. Poet Laureateth U.S. Poet Laureate
  • William Blakemore
    Key Cast
    Emmy-winning journalist (ABC News)
  • A. E. (Alicia) Stallings
    Key Cast
    Award-winning poet
  • John Simon
    Key Cast
    Critic and author
  • Meghan Picerno
    Key Cast
    Candide (City Opera, directed by Harold Prince)
  • Patty Kimura
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Biography, Episodic Documentary
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 30 minutes 10 seconds
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Ralph Hammann

Ralph Hammann was a film and theater teacher and critic for over 35 years. He also had a part time career as an actor and theater director. As a curator of film festivals at the Berkshire Museum, he introduced audiences to such diverse directors as Kurosawa, Fellini, Lean, Kubrick and Chabrol. Following his departure from education, he has returned to his first and most abiding love, cinema

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Director Statement

As a 67-year-old embarking on his first feature film, I am something of an anomaly, but film has always been a mainstay of my life since my father, an award winning photographer, brought me to my first movie, The Animal World, at age 4. The special effects by Ray Harryhausen and Willis O’Brien introduced me to the endless opportunities of the medium to explore other worlds, cultures and ideas. After a near-lifetime of teaching and critiquing films, I hope to use my accumulated knowledge and experience in making a few films that have something to say that might make a difference in our present tumultuous times. I chose my first subject to be Richard Wilbur, one of the most important (if under-sung) poets and figures of our time. I hope in this film to give the viewer a chance to live in his presence for a an extended period that exceeds traditional formats. I firmly believe the result will be transformational.

I have been most influenced by the films of Kurosawa, Lean, Kubrick, Fellini, Truffaut, Chabrol, Welles, Reed, Lang and Hitchcock.