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Citizen Hearst Sheds Light on an Enduring Media Empire

Courtesy of Citizen Hearst and Leslie Iwerks Productions

Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Esquire, O, Town & Country, Marie Claire, House Beautiful, Food Network Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Country Living. The San Francisco Chronicle. ESPN, A&E, The History Channel, King Features. Broadcast television.

Over the span of 125 years and across multiple platforms, the Hearst Corporation has made itself one of the largest media empires in the nation. And it all starts with the story of William Randolph Hearst who, as a young lad just out of college at Harvard, convinced his father to let him take over a flailing San Francisco Examiner.

In Citizen Hearst, Academy Award-nominated director Leslie Iwerks shares the mighty publisher's vision, from his start in the Bay Area (where he hired writers like Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, and Jack London) newspaper scene to his tendencies toward headline-grabbing sensationalism to an intense rivalry with Joseph Pulitzer in New York to the birth of the glossy women's fashion magazine that endures today in Elle and Harper's Bazaar. The insightful documentary is peppered with interviews and stories from Hearst CEO Frank Bennack Jr., Mark Burnett, Bob Iger, Oprah, Glenda Bailey, and Dan Rather, who sums up W.R. Hearst's drive rather nicely. "He wanted to make a difference. He felt that journalism was important. He played big. He tended to dominate the landscape he occupied."

The film paints a captivating picture of this legacy of creativity and innovation that was all the brainchild of one very forward-thinking man who laid the groundwork for a media company that is still thriving today. Check out the trailer below. The doc hits theaters in SF on Thurs. 3/14.



Citizen Hearst will screen at Embarcadero Theatre on Thurs. 3/14 and at 4 Star Theatre from Fri. 3/15–Thurs. 3/21.