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The World Premiere screening of “the boys: the sherman brothers’ story” took place Saturday, April 25, at the Premier Theater in the Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio, San Francisco. The screening was part of the San Francisco International Film Festival, and co-sponsored by The Walt Disney Family Museum, opening in the Presidio this fall. A reception following the screening took place in the museum’s reception hall, the first event to be held in the newly renovated space.

Aside: I like how the all lowercase title is an homage to one of the Sherman Brothers’ most famous songs “it’s a small world (after all)” – properly titled in the lower case. -ed.

If you live in Southern California you can catch the film tonight at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Otherwise, I hear it’s only scheduled to play in New York City at the moment. Sounds like the rest of us will have to wait for the DVD. Good news. Turns out the doc will screen in four cities beginning May 22nd. New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palm Desert get the nod (addresses below the cut).

Born and raised at the epicenter of the entertainment business, Gregory V. Sherman and Jeffrey C. Sherman, the producers and directors of “the boys: the sherman brothers’ story” grew up within blocks of each other in Beverly Hills. Even though their fathers are brothers and partners in a legendary musical collaboration, they never knew each other.

(Editors note: I’m the process of writing the review for the recent re-release of “The Three Caballeros” and “Saludos Amigos” on DVD. That DVD has a wonderful extra that just skims the top of Walt’s famous 1941 trip to Latin America. It has always left me wanting to know more about that trip. Now “Walt & El Grupo” has answered that call. I hope they’re able to bring it out to Central Florida for a screening sometime soon.

I want to thank Leo Holzer for sending in this great article about what sounds like an exciting new documentary concerning a very critical moment in Walt’s career. “Walt & El Grupo” is premiering at the San Francisco International Film Festival on Saturday, April 26, 2008. – John)

“Walt & El Grupo”

By Leo N. Holzer
Special to The Disney Blog

The loss of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and the birth of Mickey Mouse in 1928. The creation and release of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937. The development of Disneyland and its opening in 1955.

All of these were important and challenging periods for Walt Disney and his company.

But there was another time when life as Walt Disney knew it would forever change, both personally and professionally. The year was 1941, months before Pearl Harbor, when Walt and his studio were embroiled in labor unrest with an animators’ strike and challenged by the shrinking international box office returns as the war in Europe expanded.

It’s this period of Walt Disney’s life — and the “godsend” he found with a U.S.-government-sponsored working trip to Central and South America — that documentary filmmaker Ted Thomas (“Frank and Ollie”) explores in his new film, “Walt & El Grupo.”