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Posted Aug 24, 2012

APT Premieres Film on Alabama's Eugene Walter

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EUGENE WALTER: LAST OF THE BOHEMIANS Premieres Sunday, Sept. 2 at 8:00pm Eugene Walter: Last of the Bohemians documents the life and career of an Alabama-born writer, poet, actor, artist and raconteur whose work celebrates the art of living and personifies the culture of the coastal South. Living in Paris and Rome, Walter (1921-1998) lent his unique personality and wide-ranging talent to a number of different endeavors, many of them at the heart of the postwar artistic renaissance in Europe winning numerous awards for his poetry and fiction, helping start the Paris Review, working with and acting in the films of Federico Fellini and other Italian directors, editing the polylingual literary magazine Botteghe Oscure and meeting and entertaining many of the most famous writers and cultural figures of his time. But Walter's return to his native Mobile in 1978 after almost three decades in New York and Europe was not the triumph he had hoped for. Many people disbelieved his stories of meeting and entertaining William Faulkner, Anais Nin, Judy Garland, Leontyne Price and Gore Vidal, among many, many others. Like Truman Capote who Eugene also claimed to know Walter was prone to embellish his stories, using his wit and charm to ingratiate himself with his audience. And Eugene needed his audience. He had come back from Europe dead broke. Once again he relied on the kindness of Mobilians. And in this city which was the birthplace of Mardi Gras, 'sweet lunacy's county seat', he called it, Eugene Walter once again found generosity and a cultural scene grateful for the infusion of energy he provided. Eugene Walter: Last of the Bohemians was produced by filmmaker Bob Clem. Clem, an Alabama native, is a graduate of Birmingham Southern College, Harvard Law School and NYU Film School and an award-winning independent filmmaker whose productions have been distributed around the world. Clem produced the IDA-award winning film Big Jim Folsom: The Two Faces of Populism, War Birds: Diary of an Unknown Aviator, William March/Company K and In the Wake of the Assassins, among others.

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Alabama's Eugene Walter in Paris in the 1950s.

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Eugene Walter as an Ogre in a film by Federico Fellini.

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