JOHN STEINBECK’S THE LOG FROM THE SEA OF CORTEZ TO GRACE THE BIG SCREEN
Producer Robert Kanter buys the rights to remake the non-fiction novel into a feature length film.
JUNE 21, 2011 -- New York, NY – Robert Kanter announced today that he has acquired the exclusive world-wide documentary film rights to Nobel Prize recipient and celebrated author John Steinbeck’s non-fiction work, The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Through his production shingle, Sardine Boat Pictures, Kanter will recreate and film the six-week voyage Steinbeck took around the Sea of Cortez in which he and his good friend marine biologist Ed Ricketts catalogued over 500 species of fauna and discovered about 50 new species.
“I am humbled by the rare opportunity to honor and interpret Steinbeck’s work for the screen,” Kanter said. “ It is one of the few Steinbeck books that has not been adapted as a motion picture and I hope to do it justice.”
On March 11, 1940 John Steinbeck and Ricketts set out on the 76-foot purse seiner, the Western Flyer, from Monterey, California bound for the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California.) The trip afforded the friends the opportunity to relax, to bond and for Steinbeck to escape from the controversy mounting around The Grapes of Wrath. It is of interest, that Ricketts was the inspiration for the boozy, good-hearted character “Doc,” who appears in Steinbeck’s novels set in and around Monterey. The Log from the Sea of Cortez is a breathtaking chronicle of the ideas behind the philosophy, science, literature and wanderlust explored aboard the Western Flyer over the course of a six-week journey.
In 2012, Kanter will lead a crew to retrace the journey taken by Steinbeck and Ricketts. They will revisit the land and the waters of the original trip and examine the changes that have been wrought to the environment over the past 70 years. The Sea of Cortez is a jewel of Mexico’s diverse biosphere, described by Jacques Cousteau as “the world’s aquarium.” Combining state of the art photography of the sites with conversations with the local people, Kanter will explore the natural wonder and all its bounty and beauty in a celebration of the historic voyage. He has begun reaching out to some actors who would give voice to Steinbeck’s stunning prose. “I have been privileged to work with the finest actors – Gregory Peck, Paul Newman – on past projects. I am trying to determine which great actor is right to narrate this film, and to attract him to this the project.”
Only ten American writers have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, John Steinbeck is one of them. His masterpieces include The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Of Mice and Men and his work has been adapted for the big screen by legendary filmmakers including John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, and Elia Kazan.
An Emmy-Award-winning television producer, his most recent feature length documentary, “Citizen Havel,” which he co-produced, had its North American premiere this past year at Lincoln Center. Kanter received the Best Historical Documentary award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the film “Voices of the Children.” He has produced a number of other films, among them: “Havel’s Audience with History,” with Våclav Havel and Paul Newman; “Where Dreams Debut,” with Gregory Peck, Jean Stapleton and Isaac Stern; “Missy Ruby’s Southern Holiday Dinner,” with Annie Potts, Pearl Bailey, Roy Blount, Jr. and Craig Claiborne; and “Making Dance American” with Tommy Tune and Agnes DeMille, and a special at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival with Aaron Copland. Kanter is also a partner in Socios del Cambio, a joint venture focused on production in Latin America, where he produced a number of projects, including a 6-part telenovela, and most recently ten documentaries shot in and around Mexico City.
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