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Hearst Documentary Screens in San Francisco

Following a splashy private screening at Hearst headquarters in New York City and a public world premiere earlier this month at the Hamptons International Film Festival, feature documentary Citizen Hearst has come home to roost. Commissioned by Hearst and narrated by actor William H. Macy, the film will debut in San Francisco tonight at a Legion of Honor event sponsored by the Chronicle.

The movie was co-produced and directed by Leslie Iwerks, who previously took a look at another west coast media giant in The Pixar Story. The parade of on-screen interviews includes Oprah Winfrey, Dan Rather, Mark Burnett, Walt Disney Company chairman Bob Iger and a number of William Randolph Hearst descendants.

Reviewing the film for the Wall Street Journal, John Jannarone noted that the documentary provided a “reminder that the media industry has always been fragile – long before the Internet. In the 1930s, for instance, the company “scraped by” as newspaper sales declined and advertisers pulled back. Workers’ wages were slashed to keep the presses moving.”

Citizen Hearst has also been screened at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. John Legend was the special surprise guest at the reception there, while Jennifer Hudson livened up the proceedings in New York.

Update – 10/16/12: The surprise guest at Monday’s San Francisco event was singer Tony Bennett, fresh from singing “God Bless America” during Game 1 of the NLCS. Not bad for an 86-year-old.

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