As a blue-collar kid in the New Jersey suburbs, Michael Uslan swore an oath: to restore his beloved superhero’s true identity as a darkly serious creature of the night, stalking criminals from the shadows.
As executive producer of five provocative Batman feature films – including the highly anticipated “The Dark Knight Rises,” being released this summer – Uslan has originated an action-filled psychological movie franchise unlike any other.
For that vision, today (May 9) he will receive CINE’s 2012 Trailblazer Award.
“Through his determination to bring his unique understanding of a comic book character to the big screen, he essentially created a new film genre,” says CINE Board President Rita Mullin.
“Michael Uslan has been a genuine trailblazer.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy – like Uslan, an avid comic book fan – will present the award during CINE’s Annual Awards Gala at La Maison Francaise in the French embassy in Washington, D.C.
Uslan says he’s proud to be recognized.
"In an industry that is often creatively divided between those who are forward looking, innovative and daring and those who spend their days looking over their shoulders and fearing to take an unproven course, I am so honored and thrilled by CINE's presenting me with its 2012 Trailblazer Award,” he says.
Since boyhood, he has been determined to make the world see his idol through his eyes. He recounts the journey in his memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman (www.theboywholovedbatman.com).
A passionate fan of comic books from a tender age, young Uslan consumed them all – from Archie to Superman.
“My mother may have given birth to me, but my comic books formed me and made me who I am,” he says.
By far, his favorite hero – the man who taught him powerful life lessons – was and still is Batman.
“Batman made himself the strongest, the smartest, the best detective. He was the only superhero who didn’t have superpowers, so I could aspire to be just like him,” Uslan says. “To be Superman, you had to come from Krypton, but Batman’s greatest superpower was his humanity.”
It was the premiere of the “POW!” “BAM!” 1966 “Batman” TV series that inspired Uslan’s youthful vow to rescue the Dark Knight from campy pop cultural mediocrity.
“I was horrified when I realized the world was laughing at Batman,” he says. “I swore an oath that I would make it my life’s mission to restore his true identity, the one his creators gave him back in 1939. With the help of many, many talented people, I believe I’ve done that.”
Other CINE 2012 award winners include Eileen O’Neill, group president for Discovery Channel and TLC, who will receive the Leadership Award, and composer Marvin Hamlisch, recipient of the first Legends Award.
Past Trailblazer Award winners include Ted Turner, founder of the first 24-hour cable news network, CNN; and comedians The Smothers Brothers, who challenged TV’s political boundaries.
CINE is a non-profit organization that serves emerging and established film, video and new media professionals.
About Michael Uslan
Michael Uslan, (www.theuslancompany.com), is the executive producer, along with his partner Benjamin Melniker, of the Batman franchise of motion pictures. In his 36 years in the film and television industry, he has been involved with such projects as “National Treasure,” “Constantine,” and countless animated projects. His projects have won Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmy Awards. He recently formed a motion picture development and production consulting company called The Uslan Company, LLC.