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Bay Bridge documentary wins 2 Emmy awards

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Monday, May 14th, 2007 at 9:51 am in Transportation.

The humorous documentary about the construction of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, “A Bridge So Far: A Suspense Story,” has won two Emmy awards. (See the film web site and order a DVD here.)

The film won for documentary and graphic arts and animation at the 36th Annual Northern California Area Emmy Awards at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

Filmmaker David Brown produced the documentary at the request of the Professional Engineers in California Government. Other key talent on the film included directors of photography, Vicente Franco and Dave Drum; humorous animated cartoons by Charlie Canfield; motion graphics designer, Rick Pepper of Aha!Visual; writer, Stephen Most; editors Tal Skloot, Steven Baigel and Shirley Gutierrez; music composer, Tom Disher; and associate producers Hadley Dynak and Heather Carawan.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m biased because I appear throughout the documentary.

But this is a great and funny film that offers a whole new perspective on the saga of the Bay Bridge project. Brown and his crew conducted several on-camera interviews with me when I was the Times’ transportation writer.

Other voices that help tell the story include former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Sen.Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, Caltrans Director Will Kempton, former Metropolitan Transportation Commission member and former Alameda County Supervisor Mary King and bridge builder C. C. Myers. The film also features hysterical commentary by Bay Area political satirists and comics Will Durst, Joe Klocek, and Michael Capozzola.

When the film debuted at the Mill Valley Film Festival, it was a shock, as a print reporter, to see myself on a giant movie screen. (I was regretting every dessert I ever ate, of course.)

My brief foray into the world of movie-making culminated in a glamorous evening in San Francisco on Saturday night complete with a glittery, full-length gown and a walk onto the Emmy stage. I had the honor to stand with others who worked on the documentary behind filmmaker David Brown as he accepted the golden statue.

The evening was as close as I’ll probably ever get to being a movie star but that may not be a bad thing.

Sitting for three hours in a formal dress in a scratchy theater seat listening to acceptance speech after acceptance speech in an industry I know almost nothing about was a major test of my well-known impatience with all things ceremonial.

But when emcee Will Durst announced “Bridge So Far” was the winner for best documentary, I forgot all about the sharp pain in my ribs generated by the underwire in that stupid strapless bra or how my feet were killing me in those high-heel sandals.

So, order the DVD (it’s $14.95, which includes tax and shipping) and watch the film. You’ll get a laugh and you’ll learn something.

And you can watch it in your pajamas. No underwire bra required or necessary.

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