Michael Eisner and Julie Taymor discuss the future of storytelling. Location: Greenwald Pavilion
Michael Eisner is founder of The Tornante Company, a privately held company that makes investments in and incubates companies and opportunities in the media and entertainment space. Through Tornante, Eisner founded Vuguru, an independent studio that develops and finances scripted, story-driven content for digital and international platforms and acquired The Topps Company, Inc., the preeminent creator and brand marketer of sports cards, entertainment products, and distinctive confectionery. Eisner has been a leader in the American entertainment industry for several decades. In 1984, Eisner assumed the position of chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, transforming it from a film and theme park company with $1.8 billion in enterprise value into a global media empire valued at $80 billion. He began his career at ABC, taking the network from No. 3 to No. 1. In 1976, he became president of Paramount Pictures, leading the studio to become No. 1 at the box office and in profitability. Eisner is a trustee of the Aspen Institute.
Julie Taymor is a theater, opera, and film director. For her latest Broadway production, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Taymor served as director and co-book writer. In 1998, Taymor became the first woman to win the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical; she also won a Tony for Best Costumes, for her landmark production of The Lion King. The musical has won several other awards for Taymor’s direction and for her original costume, mask, and puppet designs. In 2002, her biographical film Frida, starring Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina, earned six Academy Award nominations and won two. Beyond the theatre and screen, Taymor has directed five operas internationally, including Oedipus Rex with Jessye Norman, for which she earned the International Classical Music Award for Best Opera Production. A subsequent film version premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won her an Emmy Award. Taymor is a Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence at the Aspen Institute.