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Special showing of Disney’s “The Island at the Top of the World” to honor Peter Ellenshaw

Here’s a perfect opportunity for all you readers in the Los Angeles area to get some quality film education and take in a rarely seen film from Disney’s vault at the same time. The Art Directors Guild (ADG) Film Society and American Cinematheque (AC) will honor Production Designer and Special Effects designer Peter Ellenshaw with a screening of Disney’s The Island at the Top of the World (1974).

This film will be shown on Sunday, June 28, at 5:30 pm at the Aero Theatre (1328 Montana Ave, Santa Monica), the fourth of this year’s screening series focusing on specific genres of narrative storytelling. Academy Award® nominated Visual Effects specialist Harrison Ellenshaw, son of Peter, who was an assistant Matte Artist on the film, will participate in a discussion to be moderated by John Muto.

The Island at the Top of the World, which was nominated for an Academy Award® for Art Direction, will be shown from a “Designing for Adventure” perspective. Starring David Hartman and Donald Sinden, the film tells the story of a father who puts together an expedition team to find his son, who vanished while searching for a long-lost Viking community somewhere in uncharted Arctic regions. Peter Ellenshaw served as both Production Designer and Visual Effects designer on the film, a rare occurrence.

Ellenshaw won an Academy Award® in 1964 for his Special Effects work on Mary Poppins (shared with Eustace Lycett and Hamilton Luske), and was nominated for his work on Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) and The Black Hole (1979). Like his son Harrison, Peter Ellenshaw followed his stepfather Percy Day, who is considered one of the greatest of all British matte artists, into the business. He was handpicked by Walt Disney to be a part of the studio’s creative team and painted the first map of Disneyland that was featured on all the early postcards and souvenir booklets. Ellenshaw started his career at Disney in 1947 where he worked on the studio’s first live-action film, Treasure Island, and continued there until his retirement in 1979.

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