Leon Gast

Biography: Leon Gast is known for making such seminal documentaries as Hell’s Angels Forever and the Oscar-winning chronicle of the 1974 landmark fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, When We Were Kings. He is especially noted for presenting his subjects with rare compassion and insight. A native of Jersey City, NJ, Gast studied dramatic arts at Columbia University, but dropped out shortly before graduation to work on the television series High Adventure with Lowell Thomas. A documentary show centered on expeditions to seldom-seen places over the world, it provided Gast the opportunity to travel extensively. While attending these away shoots, he observed carefully and began learning how to make non-fiction films. During the 1960s and 1970s, Gast became famous for his still photography and his work appeared in such magazines as Vogue, Esquire, and Harper’s Bazaar. Gast won an Oscar in 1997 for his 1996 film When We Were Kings. He was also nominated for a Grand Jury Prize and won the Special Recognition Award and the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1996 and 2010 for Smash His Camera. He also won the Truer than Fiction, LAFCA for his work on When We Were Kings.

– AFF, Inc.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
When We Were Kings (1997).

Our Latin Thing (1972);
B.B. King: Live in Africa (1974);
Salsa (1976);
The Grateful Dead (1977);
Hells Angels Forever (1983);
Celia Cruz: Guantanamera (1989);
When We Were Kings (1996);
1 Love (2003);
Jumpshot (2004);
Smash His Camera (2010).