Photo courtesy of IMBD: Producer Peter Berger ’99 accepts a Golden Globe for his film “La La Land.”
When “La La Land” debuted this fall, moviegoers knew that they were seeing something special. The New York Times called it “a work of sublime artifice and touching authenticity,” the Guardian said “the film has timeless charm and a brave sense of adventure” in its five star review, and average viewers gave “La La Land” a rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Based on worldwide reactions, it seems that the production staff of “La La Land” had brought a bygone genre back from the dead.
What moviegoers likely did not know is that the producer of “La La Land,” Fred Berger ’99, is an alum of MHS. Enjoying recent success in the film industry with works such as “La La Land” and “The Autopsy of Jane Doe,” he joins a host of former students that have had success in the film industry. Actors Matt Dillon, Kevin Dillon, Dan Futterman and Michael O’Keefe all attended MHS, as did directors David O. Russell and Bennett Miller.
In addition to adding to the history books of MHS, Berger also made history at the Golden Globes when his film earned seven awards, the most wins of all time for a single film. “La La Land” won in every category it was nominated for, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Actor and Best Actress for a Musical or Comedy and Best Screenplay.
When accepting the award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Berger stated that “to be standing here tonight is more surreal than I could possibly describe, and it is such an honor.” Reflecting on the process of making a musical, he said that “six years ago when we started working on this movie, the idea of making an original, L.A. set musical was an utter fantasy.” Fortunately, that utter fantasy turned into the awardwinning film it is today.
With his newfound success, it will be exciting to see how Berger represents MHS in the future.
By Jack Mollin