Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton brought their love of film to their documentary, THESE AMAZING SHADOWS, but they were interested in doing more than paying tribute to an art from that they loved, they wanted to put it into the context of the larger culture, hence using The National Film Registry as the framework. The interview, in which they are by turns playful (about themselves) and dead serious (about their subject), includes their delight in being able to talk with the likes of Christopher Nolan, Rob Reiner, and John Singleton, whose musings on the vital necessity not just of including THE BIRTH OF A NATION, the silent blockbuster by D. W. Griffith, in the registry, but also the equally vital necessity of its being viewed by modern audiences as an irreplaceable insight into the times that created it.
Their documentary is a celebration of cinema as the pre-eminent art form of the 20th century, and of the work of the National Film Registry in leading the push to preserve the film stock on which, until recently, all movies were recorded. With commentary from critics, actors, preservationists, and filmmakers, Mariano and Norton give us a guided tour of what the films we’ve made say about ourselves, as well as the impact that those films have had on individuals and on the culture at large, all the while showering us with an irresistible collection of clips from films that have been inducted into the film registry. More than a repository of the finest examples of the craft of filmmaking, the registry also includes films that are of historical and cultural value, making it an indispensable tool for understanding the history of the United States. Mariano was a public defender in Contra Costa, California for more than a quarter of a century before turning his hand to filmmaking full time, an endeavor that includes his directorial debut, ALSO RAN, about the California gubernatorial recall that eventually put Arnold Schwarzenegger into office. Norton, founded a sports magazine in Colorado before settling in Contra Costa Country as a licensed private investigator specializing in death penalty cases.