Animal House Reunion

Approx. Duration: 1 hour 33 minutes

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In honour of the 35th anniversary of the film that sparked the reinvention of American comedy, we bring the people that helped build the Animal House together again on stage to discuss the movie's creation and lasting influence.
We kick off our series TOGA! in style with this special 35th-anniversary tribute to the film that sparked the reinvention of American comedy. Join us as we bring the people that helped build the Animal House — including producer Ivan Reitman, director John Landis, producer and National Lampoon co-founder Matty Simmons and stars Peter Riegert, Stephen Furst and Martha Smith — together again on stage at TIFF Bell Lightbox to discuss the movie's creation and lasting influence.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Peter Riegert is unable to attend tonight's Animal House Reunion at 7pm and the screening of the film at 9:15pm. We appreciate your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience.

Guest Biographies

    • Ivan Reitman
    • Comedy titan Ivan Reitman has been associated with some of the biggest box office successes in Canadian cinema. He produced David Cronenberg's breakthrough features — Shivers (74) and Rabid (76) — and went on to produce and direct Meatballs (79), Bill Murray's star-making vehicle and one the highest grossing Canadian features ever made. Reitman's off-Broadway production of The National Lampoon Show evolved into the Universal feature National Lampoon's Animal House (78), a huge box office hit which changed the face of comedy and gave SNL actor John Belushi his breakout film role. Reitman soon built an impressive career as one of the most reliable director-producers in Hollywood, creating a string of hit-films including Stripes (81) and Ghostbusters (84). His son, Jason Reitman, has kept the love of comedy in the family. He is the director of Thank You For Smoking (05), and the Oscar-nominated features Juno (07) and Up in the Air (09).
    • John Landis
    • Director, screenwriter and producer John Landis is the man behind some of the most enduring comedy films of all time including National Lampoon's Animal House (78), The Blues Brothers (80), and Three Amigos! (87). At ease in every genre, he wrote and directed the 1981 horror classic, An American Werewolf in London, and the groundbreaking theatrical short for Michael Jackson's hit Thriller (83). He recently directed the Emmy Award–winning documentary, Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.
    • Matty Simmons
    • Matty Simmons is a producer, former newspaper reporter for the New York World-Telegram and Sun, best known for creating National Lampoon, which was to become the most popular humor magazine in publishing history. Over the next five years, Simmons produced a series of stage show spinoffs of the magazine and introduced a number of new faces, including John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Christopher Guest, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Meatloaf. Simmons' film and television discoveries include actors Michele Pfeiffer, Tom Hulce and Kevin Bacon, and writers John Hughes, PJ O'Rourke, Michael O'Donaghue and dozens of others. His numerous production credits include 12 comedy albums, the hit radio show National Lampoon Radio Hour, National Lampoon's Animal House, considered the most popular film comedy of all time, and the National Lampoon Vacation series. In 1979, he was named "Producer of the Year" and in 1980, "Publisher of the Year" by industry organizations. A successful author, over the years Simmons has written seven books including several bestsellers. His latest book, Fat, Drunk and Stupid was published by St. Martin's Press in mid-April of 2012. In the same month, it was announced that Mr. Simmons was one of the producers who are developing a musical comedy version of Animal House for Broadway.
    • Martha Smith
    • Martha Smith is a model, actress and author who first rose to fame with her unforgettable debut as Southern cheerleader Babs Jansen, rival to John Belushi's Bluto, in National Lampoon's Animal House. Raised in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, it was Smith's early modeling appearances for the auto industry that first landed her in Los Angeles' Universal Studios in the mid 1970s. She has since made hundreds of TV appearances, starred as a series regular in the CBS hit show Scarecrow & Mrs. King, Days of Our Lives, Ebony, Ivory & Jade, Happy Days, Taxi, and Dallas, and appeared as "Miss July" in Playboy magazine's legendary centrefold. More recently, 2010 found Smith performing alongside another Belushi, as she guest-starred on Jim Belushi's CBS series The Defenders. She also appeared in a recurring role on ABC Family's Greek, as President of Zeta Beta Zeta sorority, an homage to her Babs character. Exploring other business ventures, Smith became an award-winning Beverly Hills realtor, catering to a select group of high end entertainment and professional clientele, and was recently cast in the HGTV reality series Selling L.A.. Smith is a former senior editor of a national candidate's political website, an election protection activist, and author of the 2004 e-book Who's Counting?
    • Stephen Furst
    • Actor, director, and producer Stephen Furst began his film career playing the clumsy legacy pledge Flounder in Animal House. He went on to star in several other feature films, including The Dream Team with Michael Keaton and Peter Boyle, and The Day After with Jason Robards and John Lithgow, before landing leading roles in the multi-award winning television series St. Elsewhere and Babylon 5. Furst has since moved behind the camera, founding his production company Curmudgeon Films, and producing and directing both film and television series, including My Sister's Keeper (starring Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin), The Tenth Circle, Dragon Storm, Path of Destruction, Baby Huey, and Lake Placid 3. Currently, Curmudgeon Films is in pre-production on the action film Mobsters that will star John Cusack and Brendan Frasier, as well as the drama Chalmette. Furst is the author of the award-winning comedic memoir Confessions of a Couch Potato, published by McGraw-Hill.
    • Peter Riegert
    • Peter Riegert been acting, writing, directing and producing for the past 40 years. His movies include: Animal House, Local Hero, Crossing Delancey, Chilly Scenes Of Winter, Coldblooded, Utz, Oscar, Passed Away, The Mask, Traffic, White Irish Drinkers, Middleton, and the short films The Walk and The Response, which received the ABA Silver Gavel and was short listed for an Academy nomination for live-action short. Television credits include: The Sopranos, Damages, Gypsy, Barbarians At The Gate, Concealed Enemies, Law and Order SVU, The Good Wife , and One Tree Hill. On Broadway he was in The Old Neighborhood, An American Daughter, The Nerd and Dance With Me. His directorial film debut was the Academy Award-nominated short By Courier, followed by his first feature, King Of The Corner, with Isabella Rossellini, Eli Wallach, Rita Moreno, Beverly D'Angelo, Eric Bogosian and Dominic Chianese. He is currently preparing his next feature based on the novel, A Field Of Darkness, by Cornelia Read and is working on a documentary about the oldest cemetery in Queens, NY, Prospect Cemetery, est. 1668.